Surfing in La Pared - at El Viejo Rey beach
El Viejo Rey beach is located in the small town of La Pared on the narrowest part of the island in the south of Fuerteventura. Although there is a second small surf spot in La Pared, the large main beach is usually called La Pared. Very few surfers use the actual, Spanish name.
La Pared is one of the most famous beaches for surfing in the south of Fuerteventura. This is because it is one of the most wave-safe places in Fuerteventura. I have lived in Fuerteventura for well over 10 years and have never seen this beach without waves.
Many surfers in the south of Fuerteventura surfed their first waves in white water at La Pared beach, and even as advanced surfers they like to return to the long sandbanks of La Pared.
Directions to the surf spot La Pared
The drive to La Pared is very easy. You can find the place easily and need neither maps nor a navigation system. On the motorway in the southern part of the island, the exit to La Pared is marked together with the town of Pajara. From here, follow the country road towards the west coast. The road leads fairly straight through the barren landscape of the Istmo de La Pared to a sharp right-hand bend and then climbs briefly. Once you reach the top, you already have a wonderful view of the west coast and the village. From here, you can usually already see the first waves breaking in the Atlantic.
The entrance to La Pared is a gravel road for about 30 metres, then the normal road begins again. Follow it straight on to the end and you will see the large car park in front of the cliffs.
From here there are two paths to the beach. One starts at the top of the car park, not far from the end of the paved road, and is marked with small stones at the edge. If you follow this path, you will reach the main bay of the large beach of La Pared.
At the other car park further ahead on the cliffs, a natural staircase leads down to the smaller bay of the beach. When the swell is big, there are often fountains of spray from the breaking waves in front of the stairs.
At high tide, you may have to walk a short distance up the beach at the foot of the stairs to avoid being caught by the incoming waves. It is also sometimes the case that you cannot walk across to the large main bay due to the high water level.
The waves in La Pared
With the seasons and the associated strong storms and waves, the sandbanks in La Pared often shift. Therefore, you can never say exactly where the best wave will be in the bay. Nevertheless, our experience of the last few years shows that good sandbanks for surfing in La Pared often form in similar places.
There is usually a well-situated sandbank in the large main bay, which you can reach via the small stone-lined path.
The waves in the middle of the bay are ideal for all levels. Beginners practice at standing depth in the wide white-water waves, while advanced surfers take off on the green waves further out.
At the southern end of the bay there are often very good waves as well, especially for advanced surfers. However, you should watch out for the current here, which can pull strongly towards the cliff on days with high waves.
Other good waves often break at the beginning of the bay between the big rocks. Here the wave breaks not only on sand, but also over stones. If you are new to La Pared, you might want to observe the waves here for a while before your surf session. This way you can see where the stones are in the water and how other surfers paddle around them.
It is not uncommon for good waves to break directly in front of the large natural steps. These are especially suitable for advanced surfers. Here, too, the waves break over stones and sand.
In which conditions can you surf in La Pared?
With changing tides, the characteristics of the waves in La Pared can also change significantly.
At low tide, beginners in particular go surfing in La Pared. Then the water is shallow for many metres on the sandbanks, so that the wide foam waves can run over a large area. These offer ideal conditions to practise standing up on the board, trimming and first turns while surfing.
Advanced surfers wait in La Pared at least until half tide, also called midtide. From mid-tide to high tide, the best unbroken (green) waves often run in the bay. If the swell is very small, there can be clean small waves in La Pared even at low tide.
If the waves are big, experienced surfers in La Pared tend to surf at high tide. If the waves get too big, they often break as a whole (close out) so that you can no longer ride them sideways. If this is the case, there are often small clean waves on the beach of Jandia at the surf spot "Cruz Roja".
Fuerteventura is known for its strong winds. Usually the wind is a bit weaker in the early morning hours, which is why many advanced surfers tend to surf in the morning. However, there are also several afternoons and evenings with light winds where you can watch the sunset in the sea while surfing.
Very strong onshore winds in La Pared often form small wind waves on the east coast of Fuerteventura. These run cleanly on the other side and break there with offshore winds. The two beaches "El Pozo" in Jandia and Esquinzo below the town of the same name are ideal for surfing such wind waves.
What do you have to look out for when surfing in La Pared?
La Pared is a very pleasant surf spot and the beach has almost no unexpected surprises in store.
Nevertheless, it is important to know that the waves in La Pared are often stronger than they appear at first glance. When looking at the bay from the cliffs above, the long, steady waves seem small and gentle. But this view is often an optical illusion. Because of the elevated viewpoint, it is difficult for inexperienced surfers to estimate the height of the waves. Most of the time, when surfing in the water, the waves are much bigger and more powerful than they looked like from the cliff of the bay.
At the southern end of the bay, there is often a current that pulls further out to sea. Experienced surfers use it to get behind the breaking waves more easily. On days with very strong waves, however, this current can become dangerous and pull surfers away from the beach towards the cliffs.