Four European surf spots you need to know about (and three pre-surf workouts)
The sweeping coastline of southern and western Europe offers a warm, pleasant climate, sandy beaches and perfect conditions for surfers of all abilities.
We’ve chosen some of Europe’s best surf spots and suggested some exercises and activities you can use to prepare for your surfing holiday this year.
Greece: Keros Beach
Located on the eastern edge of Limnos Island, Keros Beach is an ideal spot for the beginner surfer. The beach is a watersports mecca, with Greece’s famous Meltemi wind attracting windsurfers and kitesurfers, as well as novice wave riders. Luxury accommodation, experienced surf instructors and safe, calm conditions make this a great destination for families. There’s even an accessible holiday resort to help people with physical disabilities enjoy their time on the water.
Capbreton is a renowned surf spot in southern France, not far from Bordeaux. The conditions here are suitable for surfers of all abilities, from complete novices to experts. The surf is consistent and the swell large enough to satisfy your taste for adventure. There are surf camps, schools and rental facilities in Capbreton, so you can simply turn up and make the most of the fantastic conditions.
Mundaka in northern Spain is known as the home of one of the best river mouth waves in the world. Mundaka’s long, pristine barrel looks more like the kind of wave you’d find in Hawaii or Tahiti than a European surf spot but the conditions are so excellent that experienced surfers come from all over the world to try it. Nearby surf camps with qualified instructors means even novice surfers can enjoy the incredible conditions of the Basque coast without jumping in at the deep end.
Nazaré is famous throughout the surfing world for having some of the world’s largest waves. Big wave surfers break world records here on an almost annual basis, thanks to a submerged canyon that builds wave heights up to 20m and higher. Conditions like these are only suitable for the most experienced, confident surfers but Nazaré’s monster waves aren’t a year-round phenomenon. Visit in the summer for more manageable 1m swells, and avoid the gnarly Praia do Norte beach if you’re comparatively new to surfing.
Three surf-ready workouts
Prepare for your European surfing holiday with these three surf-ready workouts.
Plank with arm and leg lifts
Planking is a great way to improve your core strength and this take on the traditional straight-arm plank will also improve your sense of balance before you hit the water. Assume a push-up position with your feet slightly apart and your arms straight beneath your shoulders. Raise your left arm and right leg simultaneously, pause, and slowly lower them again. Complete five reps before switching to the other arm and leg.
Balance board squats
Whether at home or in the gym, balance boards can help you to master your balance while trying out a range of effective workouts. To do a balance board squat, find your centre of balance and reach your arms out in front of you with your palms facing the floor. Keep your knees level above your toes and move your hips back as you squat, crouching over your haunches until you can feel the burn in your abs and thighs. Hold the pose for as long as you can or go for multiple reps instead.
Strong posture helps surfers improve their board control, and many yoga exercises have beneficial effects on your posture. Round your hips and place your left foot behind you, flat on the floor. Clasp your hands behind your back and, keeping your legs and back straight, lean forwards from your hips. Take three breaths and switch feet.