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Surfing Madeira

The water that surrounds Madeira has always been astoundingly beautiful. The waves come gracefully rolling and crashing by the shore. The gently blowing breeze contributes to the formation of impressive waves. The water may be lively at times, especially when the wind blows stronger, but the shore always provides a refuge for the visitors. The sparkling, soft sand is the perfect spot to bask under the warmth of the sun too.

Earlier Surfing Activities

Though this island has just recently made noise in the surfing word, the truth is that some people have been surfing since the 1970s. The Portuguese surfers were the first ones to enjoy the undisturbed beauty of the beach. They usually go to villages such as Jardim do Mar, Punta Pequena and Paul do Mar. From there, they ride the waves of the ocean with their surfboard.     

Locals who live in the villages that are close to the beach also learn to surf at an early age. Even before the rise of commercial establishments, they have been literally testing the waters.

Emerging as the Surfing Hotspot

A surfing paradise that is as captivating as Madeira would never be left undiscovered. Today, this is recognized as one of the best surfing destinations across the globe. The sea welcomes not just local surfers but also those who have come a long way just to experience the smashing, rolling and sweeping waves of Madeira.

It was in the 1990s when this place became popular as a surfing hotspot. It won the hearts of many people because of the friendly climate and astoundingly beautiful beach. In 1996, the prominence of Madeira in surfing escalated even more because of the Madeira Regional Edition of the Billabong Challenge. As 2001 came, the fame of Madeira is already unstoppable. It was in this year when Madeira was chosen as the venue for the World Big Wave Championships.


Picking the Surfing Spots

Deciding on which spot to take will depend on the activity that one wants to do. Some spots are more appropriate for windsurf while others make kitesurf even more enjoyable. The location and geographical characteristics of the different surfing spots affect the types of waves that are formed.

Sao Vicente is more ideal for those who are just starting out. This is actually the recommended location of surfing instructors for the first-timers. The waves do not go too high plus there are less rock formations which need to be avoided. There is also a surf school that is based in here.

For those who have medium skills and would like to take it to the next level, the ideal spots are Ponta Pequena and Lugar de Baixo. The waves here are faster but remains averagely high. This is a good training ground for those who are trying to work their way up to becoming professional surfers.

Those who no longer need surf lessons because they are already labeled as expert surfers can try out the waters in Paul do Mar, or Jardim do Mar. These are the places where barreling waves can be seen Aside from that, it is easier to perform stunts here too because the waves can start at about 2 meters and could go as high as 5 meters or more, depending on the wind activity. It should be noted though that these spots also have rocky areas so extra precaution is needed.


Windsurfing is good almost along the entire coast, but here it can be difficult to go in and out of the water as well. Good windsurfing locations in Madeira are in Funchal, Canical, Paul do Mar and Canico.

Windsurfing Lessons and equipment can be rent from:
H2O in Calheta Madeira
Clube Naval in Funchal
Clube Força 5 in Funchal Madeira


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