To get more of an insight into Tarifa during and beyond Covid-19 lockdowns, I asked one of my favourite local legends, Jaime Herraiz, owner of Wet Watersports and organiser of many of the international kiting events that take place in Tarifa, a few key questions

INTERVIEW: Sara Jolly

To get more of an insight into Tarifa during and beyond Covid-19 lockdowns, I asked one of my favourite local legends, Jaime Herraiz, owner of Wet Watersports and organiser of many of the international kiting events that take place in Tarifa, a few key questions

INTERVIEW: Sara Jolly

WHAT WAS LOCKDOWN LIKE FOR YOU FROM A PERSONAL AND BUSINESS PERSPECTIVE? The lockdown and the aftermath shock was a really hard situation for our business. Lockdown happening just weeks before the Easter holidays with all the shops geared up and then all the uncertainty was a perfect storm to play havoc with the industry. Personally, it was very challenging. It’s a strange feeling when you see things crumbling around you and there’s not much you can do to stop it. When I usually have a problem I’ll go to the water and beat the shit out of my body until the right answer comes out. This time I could only deal with my frustration through some hardcore gardening and house maintenance, which didn’t quite do the trick.

On the other hand I was able to spend more time with my family and I think, like many of us, that made up for the pain.

Our girls were stoked to have their parents around full time and I was able to dedicate my full energy to them. I’m pretty sure they will remember this stage of their lives with joy.

WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST SURPRISE FOR YOU WHEN COMING OUT OF LOCKDOWN? The biggest surprise was really finding enjoyment in what I had previously thought was normal. For the first weeks we could only kite certain spots between 7am and 10am. The Levante wind was terribly gusty for the first session back in the area we were allowed to ride, but nevertheless the happiness on everyone’s face was amazing and from then on it has been a trip of enjoying what we have always taken for granted.

HOW DO YOU THINK TARIFA HAS CHANGED SINCE COMING OUT OF LOCKDOWN? I think we’re still coming to terms with this new normality. We’re still living out the early times, but the stoke of being able to go back to a resemblance of our old lives keeps everyone’s spirits relatively high. Luckily the summer season is being good for Tarifa, especially for leisure and sports. WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL BE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FOR TARIFA GOING FORWARD? Coping with the restrictions of social distancing without melting the spirit of the Andalusians. We are always eager to hug, touch and be very social. Now it’s just very awkward to meet and greet people.

I do, however, also see huge potential to refocus and reshape tourism here. Tarifa has a limited amount of resources and getting maxed out makes sustainability impossible. The opportunities are there and I trust our local politicians are capable of seeing them.

Tarifa has a huge amount of spirit, whether that is for a long session on the water or eating tapas and drinking cervezas in the old town. I’m sure the shops, kite schools, restaurants and many hotels will adapt and change to suit the new normal; to ensure they can continue to share what makes Tarifa special with the new friends that visit.

Find our full rundown on Tarifa, taken from our annual Travel Guide:

USEFUL CONTACTS:

Kite holidays:

Email: info@kiteworldwide.com

Lessons, rentals, trips etc:

Email: sara@explorawatersports.com

Kite gear, testing, cafe etc:

Email: info@wet-watersports.com

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