Our new up and coming Slingshot team rider, Jeremy Burlando, grew up on the Canarian island of Tenerife and he was heading to Gran Canaria for a national Spanish competition. Jeremy was very confident about getting strong wind in Gran Canaria and there are direct flights from the UK. I booked our eight day strike mission and assembled a riding team with Carlos Mario, Jeremy Burlando and Pablo Amores as well as a media unit that included drone pilot extraordinaire Dave Av, myself and local photographer Rafa Soulert on the stills. Dave and I arrived a day before everyone else and we spent the morning scouting out shooting spots. I often feel like I’m on the moon when touring the Canary Islands as so many locations have very few trees and greenery, especially near the beach. Rocky landscapes spread as far as the eye can see up to the mountains where you’ll eventually find some trees, thanks to the localised rainfall. Many people have grown fond of the desolate looking environment but one very encouraging sign that I was drawn to was the amount of wind turbines! A northeast trade wind prevails here, so we explored the east coast where all the water sports are. There’s a ten mile stretch of super windy coastline that appears to have a local effect from the volcano, because outside of the beaches in this region there wasn’t much wind at all.
I’d booked a nice apartment right on the beach in ‘Pozo’, a famous windsurfing town. I decided to go for a warm up session out front. There were at least 50 windsurfers on the water but no kiters, so I did a quick Google to find out whether I was allowed to kite there. I didn’t see anything official but as soon as I hit the water the windsurfers were telling me to leave and pointing downwind to another spot called Salinas. I ignored them for a while, but soon succumbed to their incessant nagging. I do love winding up windsurfers, but I understand the launch is super sketchy and that’s why they try to keep kitesurfers away. The island generally does not cater for beginners and there have actually been a few fatal kitesurf accidents on Gran Canaria over the years, and even very experienced kitesurfers need to take extra care. There are no sandy beaches where the wind blows; just volcanic rock everywhere, which makes it challenging and dangerous to set up and launch your kite most sessions. Powerful waves seem to wash into the rocks at every spot. It’s a harsh environment that has been created by strong wind and big waves battering the volcanic rocks. The strong wind and ramps were, however, just what we needed. When the rest of the crew showed up the next day I was fired up about my first session on the Machine and stoked to get the team on the water to put it through its paces. Jeremy gave me a run down on the three best spots to kite on Gran Canaria: