I am not very sporty, I admit. I hate the gym, I don’t play well with others, and I only run if something is chasing me. But I do like to try new things like scuba diving. So, when Planet Surf Camps invited me to try out surfing lessons for a week at their surf camp in Fuerteventura, I couldn’t refuse, despite my lack of fitness! Joining a surf school in Spain hadn’t been at the top of my travel list, but once I started doing some research I was surprised to learn that surfing in Fuerteventura was more popular than I expected, and hoped this would be the kick-start I needed to help me with a healthier lifestyle! Read on for my full review of learning to surf in Fuerteventura with Planet Surf Camps!
Where is Fuerteventura?
Fuerteventura is part of the Canary Islands, which are part of Spain. The Canaries are much further south than Spain, though, off the south-west coast of Morocco. Weather in Fuerteventura is usually good throughout the year, warm and dry, and often windy. I went in January, and it got quite cold in the evenings, and we had unusually poor weather the week I was there, so I was glad I took my winter coat!
Why Fuerteventura is Great for Surfing
One of the best places for surfing in Europe, surfing in the Canary Islands is very popular, as the small islands have great waves thanks to the Atlantic Ocean. Fuerteventura has surf spots all around its coastline, with varying swell and wind conditions so you can almost always find a great spot to suit your level, from beginners through to advanced surfers. Corralejo is a popular base for surfers, as the town has plenty of amenities, bars, restaurants and shops. Within 5 – 20 minutes of Corralejo are plenty of beaches perfect for beginners, with soft sand and whitewash waves. Aside from surfing, there are plenty of other things to do in Fuerteventura too, from hiking the volcanos to kayaking and snorkelling.
Planet Surf Camp Fuerteventura
Planet Surf Camp in Corralejo is in a great location, close to the bus station and Campanario shopping centre (which has a huge HiperDino supermarket), and several other shops and restaurants. It is around 15-minutes’ walk to the closest beach, and about 30 minutes to the port area and the ferry to Lanzarote.
Essentially the surf camp is made up of three connecting apartments in the same complex. Two are joined together to make one large house, and the apartment next door is also part of the camp. There was a large social or dining area, and two kitchens to use, as well as several fridges for food and drink. We were also allocated or own shelf for non-refrigerated food, so there was plenty of space for storage. There was also an upstairs terrace, great for a morning workout, sunbathing or chilling in the evening with a glass of wine (guess which option I went for!!). Downstairs there is a TV area, and out the back is a large space for hanging out, including a barbecue area, ping pong table, pool table and a slack line to practise balancing!
There are several options for accommodation at Planet Surf Camp, from private rooms to 8-bed dorms. I was in a 4-bed dorm, which had its own bathroom. The bed was comfortable and sturdy, and there was a large wardrobe for storing our stuff. There weren’t any lockers though, so we kept our room locked all the time just in case. After having all my stuff stolen from a hostel I am very careful about security and don’t like to leave anything unlocked.
Surf Classes at Planet Surf Camp Fuerteventura
Usually, guests come to the surf school to spend a week here, with five days’ classes during the week, and the weekend off. There are no classes on the weekends, so that is a good chance to explore the island and discover other things to do in Fuerteventura.
The times of the surf classes vary every day, as the surf instructors check the forecast the previous evening and decide the time and location for the next day’s classes. The weather, wind direction and strength, and the tide all impact the conditions, so it is hard to predict where and when is best to surf. The classes were split into beginners, advanced, and intermediate, which was often a mix of people who had done a few days’ classes. The beginners’ classes often were at the same times, so we had a larger group but two instructors helping us out and giving us pointers. The first few days we had morning classes which were great as we had the afternoon to do whatever we wanted, but the other days were later in the day – you have to be flexible and don’t plan anything in advance the days you have classes.
Our teacher for the week was Nando, originally from Tenerife, who had been surfing for over 15 years. A few minutes before the class began, we assembled outside to collect our gear – wetsuit & surfboards – and loaded them into and onto the van. There are several nearby beaches which are suitable for surfing, so the instructors chose the best option for the day’s conditions. This flexibility meant that almost every day you could get into the water and have a good chance to surf. However, while we were in Fuerteventura there was a storm which meant it was very difficult on one of the days to even get into the water – this is pretty unusual apparently – just my bad luck I suppose! More advanced surfers probably would have managed better or gone to an alternative site, but for beginners, it was a little scary I admit! If we didn’t feel comfortable doing anything, we could take a rest, or our teacher would take us through how to manage better.
How I got on learning to Surf in Fuerteventura
Surfing was one of the most physical activities I’ve ever attempted. Even just entering the water we fought against the waves and the current to reach a point where we could even get on the boards. While standing to wait for a wave to catch, the sea was relentless. Once I’d managed to catch a wave, I was trying to push up with my arms to stand up, which was a workout in itself. At the end of the first day in the water, my whole body ached. I am woefully unfit but had no idea just how bad it would be. Then to get in the water the next day and do it all again? Ouch.
I had always admired surfers, they made it look so easy like they mastered the ocean itself. It hadn’t really dawned on me why surfers were so damn buff, but now I know. After a few weeks of surfing maybe I would be buff too! Honestly, there is nothing like seeing yourself in a wetsuit to make you realise you need to get in shape!
After four classes of trying (and failing) to stand up, I was determined to do it on my last day. Conditions were perfect, the waves were more evenly spaced, the beach was sandy and the sun was shining. Again, and again I caught a wave, speeding towards the shore like I was flying on water. Again, and again I pushed myself up to get into position. But could I manage to stand up?? No!! Not once. I managed a half crouch a couple of times, and I really tried my best, but it turns out I can’t surf. Yet! My surf instructor Nando reassured me, he said it takes years to learn how to surf properly. I didn’t feel too bad, knowing I had tried my best, but I was still disappointed. The mind was willing, but the flesh was weak. I realised I need to do something about my over fitness, my strength and my balance, all of which were letting me down. I vowed to try yoga and to do some exercise before I try surfing again.
What I Loved about Planet Surf Camp Fuerteventura
Overall, the hostel had a great vibe, with various activities and shared meals arranged throughout the week. There was a mix of people there, some solos, and others with friends, and it was easy to get to know people there.
The surf teachers were excellent, all experienced and friendly. The equipment was in good condition, and there were plenty of sizes of wetsuits to choose from, and we always had enough.
Close to Corralejo, there are several beaches where you can surf, so no matter what the conditions the teachers will find a place to surf.
Anything I didn’t like?
We had to provide our own toilet roll in the rooms. On the one hand, it isn’t a big deal, just a couple of euros for a few rolls, but to me, it doesn’t make sense in a shared dorm to expect everyone to buy their own toilet roll, and it really doesn’t cost much for the surf camp to provide it.
No filtered water was provided, again, not a deal-breaker, but as everyone bought their own water we got through a lot of plastic which didn’t feel very eco-friendly. However, Planet Surf does recycle all plastic, paper and glass.
My Overall Experience with Planet Surf Camps
Overall, I enjoyed my stay at Planet Surf Camps. The dorm beds were comfy, and aside from one girl apparently having a bad day when she checked me in, all of the staff were friendly and helpful. After staying at another hostel close-by for comparison, I realised that the accommodation and social side of the Surf Camp were excellent, and there was a real buzz here compared to the other place. The surf teachers were brilliant, and all the equipment was in good condition, so I would definitely recommend Planet Surf Camps if you want to learn to surf in Fuerteventura!
Can you surf? Would you like to learn to surf in Fuerteventura? I’d love to hear your comments!
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Thank you to Planet Surf Camps for inviting me to stay for a week. Although my stay was complimentary, all opinions are my own.
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