Next up from our ‘Top 10 Cruisey Skate Holidays’ piece in the latest issue, the spotlight is on Fuerteventura. With it’s Brits Abroad reputation, much like Magaluf, you may easily be put off. But go at the right time of year and you might find some fun behind the neon lights...
words and photos by Hannah Bailey
We recruited google’s help the other month and went on a search for a last-minute ‘cheap pre-summer holiday’. Egypt, Tunisia, Dubai? No thanks. Morocco? You’re getting closer. The Canaries? Hmm..cheap, cheerful and the furthest place closest to home for guaranteed sun. ‘Year round paradise’ you say? Sold! Our mind reminding us of Brits Abroad; neon lights and fry-ups on the beach, maybe it’s a risky booking for an itchy adventurer but we appreciate the tacky side of life too. So a few days in Corralejo, Fuerteventura it is and little did we know of the ‘fun-adventure-a’ it was to provide.
The Canaries rings a bell, with Lucy Adams heading to Gran Canaria for the Pixels tour last year, so the potential for a sunny skate was there (not of the Lucy level, unless we learn quickly, but a cruise nonetheless). As soon as we arrive in Corralejo and our eyes have adjusted to the newly re-discovered bright light, a.k.a. the sun, we look around at our habitat for the weekend and it’s obviously there for the skating. Newly paved streets, palm tree lined pavements taking you to the beach, to the bars, to the… skatepark, score! The first thing we do is roll upon a park (to which a pre-holiday google had brought up no word on such an existence). A skate lesson is in full swing, with heaps of kids on boards, like a really cool after-school club with 8 year olds learning to acid drop. Inspiring us to, try the same! The perfect beginner park with friendly little features and helpful smooth ground, plus playpark, picnic area and outdoor gym. It’s a derelict piece of land turned into a creative playful space, a perfect PLAYSCAPE!
So the palm tree lined streets are paved for cruising like you’re in a Will Smith music video, except for the frequent skate stoppers that take a bit of charging at. It’s all part of the fun. Two days in we are informed of the penalty fine the police snag you with if you roll past them on the pavement but we risk it for an ice cream biscuit. There are boards everywhere, long and short, old and new, people here skate and apart from the street cruising and the park playing, you can find little spots hidden behind tourist eyes. Abandoned play-spaces, that sit derelict and litter laden, we came across a crazy golf course lost to the back paths of the new town. It reminds us of the Man Wolf base in Machotaildrop, let’s hope there’s not a crazy crew of skaters waiting to attack us. Despite not having putters or golf balls (which would have been RAD) we still make use of the course, cruising over the bumpy mounds, through the rubble avoiding the holes. Our camera loving every angle.
So skate aside, what else does this little island, 4 hours away from our normal world offer? Well, the Canaries are known for their surf and that you can do, just outside of Corralejo by the dunes. This 11km of protected sand is an official national park, it’s packed full of things of botanical interest. But you don’t have to be a botanist to appreciate its vast beauty. It’s a mini desert trek to the water, non skate-able, get some walking on the agenda. If you put some prior planning in, you can have the perfect adventure day here! Cruise to the dunes, swap your skateboard for a surfboard, stop for an(other) ice cream and then make your way to Flag Beach to get in the line-up for the nice little beach break that waits there. The waters going to cool you down, so wetsuit on and lungs embraced you can enjoy the scorching sun as you catch a few cool waves. Careful now, you will be getting burnt…
The water offers more than just a wave as the wind picks up and the kite surfers get in on it. Alternatively you can go down the retro route and windsurf, “surfing’s ginger haired cousin” as Robby Naish puts it. Face the other way and the wind is not going to waste, extreme kite flyers take to the sky. There’s a retro revival going down. Wind in hair, we opted to go crab hunting down by the old town pier as our après surf/skate activity. Scanning the rocks as paddle boarders push on by, a skate deck makes a handy poking device (of course no crabs were harmed).
What an adventurous backpacking trip or a snowboard holiday lacks is that much needed element of doing absolutely nothing and this is what the Canaries can deliver. It’s all about appreciating your time here as a holiday, this is your much deserved chance to sit by the pool and soak up some sun with a pina colada in hand and a Calypo in the other. Boards aside, after cruising/skating/surfing the day away there is still time to commit to a sun lounger. Lapping up the sunshine till the early evening before you hit the neon lights and cocktail menu. It’s the perfect balance board of a holiday; a little skate, a little surf, a little sand and a lot of sun. Moving through the day at mega slow pace, designed to shut off your brain, the way island living treats you best. Wow, we’d forgotten what the sun felt like and man it feels good…. Till the next adventure our bright friend.