After waiting almost a year the day for the Santa Tow-in Big Session on Tenerife, Canary Islands, finally came in the middle of December. Due to the little time left between confirmation of proper conditions (Saturday 13th) and the day of the event (Monday 15th), only two international invitees managed to get to the islands in time. Paul O´Kane from Ireland and Duncan Scott from the UK joined the Canarians Alex Zirque, Zeben, Fernando Peres and Vilayta.
On Monday the waves were massive and the city of Puerto de la Cruz offered various proper peaks to start the tow-in session, but due to a high wave alert all ports at the north coast were closed and therefor hindered the professional surfers to get out (which shows again how little is known about tow-in surfing….). Tuesday finally brought a nice session. And despite the waves having only half the size of the ones from Monday the tow-in surfers had some memorable rides. We thought it would be best to let the surfers describe the day. This is their stories:
Duncan Scott (UK):
Sometimes life can change things in the blink of a moment and we are allways open to last minute decisions. After the whole year of the waiting period the conditions finally were supposed to be good enough for the Santa Tow-in big Session. I had two reasons to join the La Santa Surf people for this event. First: surfing world class big waves in warmer waters. Second: meet Tow-in surfers from the Canaries and Europe and talk with them about now ideas.
The volcanic island of Tenerife grows out of the depths of the Atlantic Ocean in dramatic forms while the sea does its violent best to erode and swallow it again. We arrived at the south of the island and drove a day to the north coast. Its woods and palm trees pleased us a lot and reminded us of the north shore of Hawaii. The huge waves hammered the coast with a lot of power, again very similar to Hawaii. We felt humble the way these conditions allways make you feel like. It´s a bit like entering the arena as a matador, trying to forget about these pointing horns of volcanic reef just a few meters underneath the wave.
Monday El Bravo was massive and violent with waves breaking all along the north coast and moving a lot of water. This made surfing very dangerous this day during high tide. An important part of surfing big waves is knowing when to surf and when to watch. The ocean requires respect and as surfers we need to take the time to prepare all this security stuff that we need to tow surf in a safe way.
The news from TV and the forecast gave hope for Tuesday morning and Paul O´Kane and me met with Vilayta, Fernando, Alex and Zeben. We talked about the options and the equipment necessary for the big day. We were from different countries with differen languages and we had met for one common passion: big waves and the determination to surf the biggest waves possible. Ireland, UK and Canary Islands have similar histories concerning the way tow in surfers have learned their metier and explored their coasts on their own. No television show could distract us, we just talked and shared opinions about our passion for big waves. Communication happened through a mixture of english and spanish at the same time.