TARIFA KITESURFING GUIDE

About Tarifa

 

Many people say that Tarifa is the wind capital of Europe and a complete Kitesurfing paradise for both beginners and advanced riders. A short flight from anywhere in Europe to Malaga, Sevilla, Jerez or Gibraltar’s Intl Airport will bring you to Tarifa and straight to the idyllic conditions that you can enjoy all year round. Not only limited to kitesurfing or windsurfing there is an impressive array of things to enjoy here: Amazing mediterranean food, stand up paddling, trekking, surfing, mountain biking, horse riding and a very lively nightlife are just a few things you can experience while staying in Tarifa!

 

Understanding Wind

There are 2 dominant wind directions in Tarifa

Levante


The infamous wind in Tarifa that comes from the East. Levante is warm and dry as it comes over the land rather than the sea. This wind is normally stronger than Poniente ranging between 20 – 40 knots or more. Another big difference is that it blows during the whole day and night. The quality is not as good as Poniente, as Levante can get a bit gustier, but that also depends on which spot you choose. The most important factor to keep in mind with Levante is that it’s off-shore, therefore you have to choose the right spot depending on the season as we will explain below. If you are taking kitesurfing lessons in Tarifa, your school will take care of explaining exactly how this works.

Poniente


This wind comes from the west over sea from the Atlantic. This means it´s a cooler and more humid wind, and even in summer it can lower the temperature in Tarifa instead of the intense heat usual in summer. Normally the wind strength will be around 10 – 25 knots, and it’s really steady. Another difference from Levante is that this wind picks up normally in the afternoon, leaving the mornings very calm. It can also be thermal wind in Summer, and it’s the main reason why we have almost 100% of wind in the summer days. Also poniente brings the swell in mid and low season, so it’s perfect for having a surf session in between kiting. As it comes in over the sea, Poniente is normally accompanied by clear skies, fresh air and great visibility. So the light, colours and views of Africa are even more spectacular than usual. Another beautiful aspect is that with Poniente you can hear the breaking of the waves several Kilometers in-land.

Reading Windguru Forecast Like a Local

With Levante it’s straight forward, you will get approximately what the modified wind says on the windguru forecast (3rd row), because of the venturi effect as the wind channels through the strait of Gibraltar.

For Poniente check the WRF 3km or 9km tables for a more accurate forecast, but of course the best thing would ask any people that are at the kite spot or simply check the conditions through the webcams. If it shows more than 10 knots, there’s high chances that the wind will be around 15-18 knots. In summer, if the forecast is less than 10 knots, there’s really high chance of thermal wind in Valdevaqueros.

Tarifa Kitesurf Seasons

Off Season


November-February


There is still wind in Tarifa, usually it’s around 4 windy days per week. The temperature is between 10-18C and there is more chance of rain. Sometimes there is good swell coming from the Atlantic, so you can surf around Tarifa. A lot of shops and bars are closed till March, there are less people than commonly and the prices are lower. So if you like a quiet and cheap place to spend your cold European winter, that’s the place to be.

Mid Season


March-May/September-October


In March all of the bars and kitesurf shops are opening and preparing for the season. Temperatures are better from 16-20C and there are on average 5 days of wind per week. The good thing about the mid season is that the spots are not that crowded, you can kite anywhere you want. The nightlife starts to be more vibrant and most of the people are kiters and young people, so it’s a really good atmosphere. It’s our favourite season.


High Season


June-August


You can kite in Los Lances Norte, Valdevaqueros and Punta Paloma. In Los Lances there are kite zones divided for schools and riders. In Valdevaqueros there are zones for kitesurfers and beach goers/sunbathers. From 1st of June till 30th of September there is a rescue boat service available for offshore conditions, you can buy rescue card/token that you can use in case of an emergency, we strongly suggest to buy it beforehand, otherwise the rescue will cost a lot more. If you want to get to the spots, you will need a car. It can get quite busy so it’s always good to get to the beach early to find a parking spot without any queues. The town is usually full of people, so we recommend to book accommodation in advance, but the prices are usually high. If you like to party, this is your time to shine. Whilst in Mid season there’s only nightlife a couple days per week, in Summer you can go out every single day and it’s always full of people, from midnight until 6-7am.

Tarifa Spot Guide

We made a detailed spot map, so you can easily get there with your navigation.


Los Lances (La Jaima)

WInd: Poniente
Parking and Accessibility: Big parking lot next to the football stadium and if you are living in the town you can easily reach the beach by foot.
Nivel: All levels
Dangers and Restrictions: It’s forbidden to kite during the summer season.
Perfect for: Freeride and wave
Other Notes: There are some nice waves during the winter season and it can have flat sections between waves. It's the main kite spot when it's allowed to kite in the off and mid season.

Los Lances Norte

Wind: Levante and Poniente
Parking and Accessibility: There is a big parking next to beach bar Agua and beach bar Wave
Level: All levels
Dangers and Restrictions: Respect the zones, especially the school zone
Perfect for: Freeride
Other notes: During the summer season there are two divided zones, one is for the schools and the other for all riders. During levante there are rescue boats operating in the area, we suggest to buy the rescue tokens otherwise it will cost you a lot more, if you need the rescue.

Valdevaqueros and Punta Paloma

Wind: Levante and Poniente
Parking and Accessibility: There are 4 main parking spots: Valdevaqueros, Chiringuito Tangana, Casa Porros and Punta Paloma. In the summertime there is a 5€ charge for the parking.
Level: All levels
During the summer season the kiting zone is small and very crowded. During the low tide there are rocks (On the left of the kite zone) Lots of sunbathers
Perfect for: Freeride, freestyle and wave
Other notes: This is the spot where you get thermal wind during the summer, so it works most of the days, even when the poniente is really light.

Rio Jara (Lagoon)

Wind: Poniente
Parking and Accessibility: Most of the people park at the football stadium and then kite or walk to Rio Jara
Level: All levels
Dangers and Restrictions: It’s extremely dangerous to kite in the mouth of the river, as it has a very strong current. It’s illegal to kite in the lagoon, sometimes police comes to get the kiters out, we warned you.
Perfect for: Freestyle and freeride
Other notes: When the tide is at its highest then the lagoon fills up, during the low tide the lagoon is very small and almost “unkiteable”. To check the tides click here

Rio Jara (Wave spot)

Wind: Levante
Parking and Accessibility: Parking next to football stadium and walk to the spot
Level: Expert
Dangers and Restrictions: Forbidden to kite during the summer season. Offshore wind and no rescue available.
Perfect for: Wave

Arte Vida

Wind: Poniente
Parking and Accessibility: Parking next to hotel Arte Vida
Level: Intermediate-Expert
Dangers and Restrictions: Forbidden to kite during the summer season.
Perfect for: Wave and freeride
Other notes: When there is a good swell it is a very good spot for waves during mid and low season.

Balneario

Wind: Levante and Poniente
Parking and Accessibility: There is a limited free parking just in front of the spot, also some paid parking spots nearby. If you live in the old town you can reach the spot by foot in 5-10mins.
Level: Expert
Dangers and Restrictions: During the summer season it’s forbidden to kite in Balneario. When levante is blowing it’s completely offshore wind and there is a small wind area. There are rocks in the spot. Strong current.
Perfect for: Freestyle during levante. Freeride and wave during poniente
Other notes: During Levante, there is an unwritten rule, between the locals, that if there are more than 6 kites in the spot you should not enter the water because there is not enough space and too dangerous to kitesurf.

Getares

Wind: Levante
Parking and Accessibility: Big parking lot next to the beach
Level: Intermediate-Expert
Dangers and Restrictions: Forbidden to kite in the summer season. Strong current. Big Shore break.
Perfect for: Freeride and wave
Things to note: Only works when there is a strong levante in Tarifa

Palmones

Wind: Levante
Parking and Accessibility: There is a limited parking next to the spot, but many places to park a little further down
Level: All levels
Dangers and Restrictions: Forbidden to kite in the summer season. It’s illegal to kite in the river and the marshes.
Perfect for: Freeride
Things to note: Only works when there is a strong levante in Tarifa

Bolonia

Wind: Levante and Poniente
Parking and Accessibility: Lot of parking space just in front of the spot.
Level: All levels
Dangers and Restrictions: Forbidden to kite in summer season
Perfect for: Freeride/ Wave in winter, and windsurfing.
Other notes: It's normally a windsurfing spot. In the winter time you can get nice waves.

Los Caños de Meca

Wind: Strong Levante, usually it’s lighter than Tarifa but not as light as Palmones and Getares.
Parking and Accessibility: There’s a parking next to the spot which costs 2€ and a free parking at the restaurant in front.
Level: Intermediate-Expert
Dangers and Restrictions: Forbidden to kite in summer season but there’s usually no problem. There are rocks on the right side of the spot.
Perfect for: Freeride and wave

Sotogrande

Wind: Levante
Parking and Accessibility: There is parking just in front of the spot, next to the entry of the harbour.
Level: Intermediate-Expert
Dangers and Restrictions: Forbidden to kite in summer. Waves can get quite big with stormy Levante
Perfect for: Freeride and wave
Things to note: Only works when there is a strong levante in Tarifa

Spot Webcams

You can register here for free: Spotfav Webcams and check the webcams of popular kitesurf spots around Tarifa. If there are people on the water you’re good to go.

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