The Wind and Wave Festival surfing competition takes place every July in Gran Canaria’s Pozo Izquierdo on the island’s east coast where the wind conditions are perfect for surfing almost all year round. Since the first competition in 1988, Pozo Izquierdo has become a place of reference for world class level windsurfing, offering surfers excellent conditions for practising windsurf that can not be found anywhere else on the planet.
The first competition of the year at world class level is in the wave discipline, this is where the competitors can really show off their manoeuvres and tricks that they have been preparing during the pre-season. The force of the wind and waves, reaching up to three metres high has made the Gran Canaria Wind and Wave Festival one of the most extreme and radical events within the international windsurfing calender. The island enjoys an excellent combination of wind and waves along with a good climate all year round making it a natural paradise for all kinds of water sports.
Gran Canaria’s Famous Surfers
Given the great island conditions it is no surprise that Gran Canaria has its fair share of world class stars in windsurfing. These include the twin sisters Daida and Iballa Ruano who are Pozo Izquierdo natives and also Dutch/Danish Bjorn Dunkerbeck and German Philip Koster, both raised on the island of Gran Canaria.
The Ruano twins have accumulated more than 23 world titles and have been leaders in the professional circuit for over a decade making history in the world of windsurfing. Bjorn Dunkerbeck has been world windsurf champion 41 times in the PWA international circuit making him one of the world’s elite surfers. Currently Bjorn runs his own surf school in the south of Gran Canaria called BD Surf and Bodyboard School. The German Philip Koster was placed first in the competition in last years 2015 festival. Philip was raised in Playa de Vargas where from a very young age he practiced windsurfing allowing him to gain the skills he needed to reach the top position in the competition.
The Wind and Wave Festival – Program
During the celebration of the Gran Canaria wind and wave festival different types of events are offered to the public, some based around the sport such as informative workshops about the sport and equipment and samples of clothing used for surfing. There are concerts and entertainment in the evening next to the beach for visitors to enjoy. A large number of volunteers take great care ensuring every detail of the festival goes to plan and most of all providing safety to the spectators as well as the competitors.
Following the continual success of this competition the town hall of Santa Lucía de Tirajana have since built the International Windsurf Centre on the beach at Pozo Izquierdo. This is a sports resort with swimming pool, restaurant and accommodation for those athletes who wish to stay next to the beach. The Ruano sisters say that in all their years as professional windsurfers they have travelled the world and windsurfed in some of the most radical places in the world, but have never found any place that feels as comfortable when they are surfing as Gran Canaria.
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