sports home page | forum »

Surfing at Ponta Preta, Sal, Cape Verde

Breaks in Sal Cape Verdes Board and Kite surf

Ponta Preta on Sal site of the World Wavejump Championships

This has one of the world's greatest breaks, during the winter. It is on a point on the south west of Sal between Santa Maria and Murdeira and easily accessible over a rough track. The offshore winds against the Atlantic swell creates fine surfing waves. You can rent new boards in Santa Maria and hire a jeep to reach the best breaks. Boards can be rented for £15 per day.Or take your own but the airlines can charge up to £120 for excess freight.

Al from Teeside is ecstatic

"This is one of the best surfing spots I've ever visited. From October thru to March the swells are regular and the water is at a shorts and rash vest 25C. Breaks vary in size and there are left and right handers and Apex frames. You are definitely spoilt for choice. Waves on the beach of Santa Maria break at 3/4 ft on a sandy bottom and there are no rips. By the jetty it's a small left hand wave 3/4 ft and it gets bigger towards the wreck with left or rights depending on the wind and swell direction." Ponta Preta is one of the best right handers in the world and breaks for 400/500 yards and starts at 5/6 ft and holds up to over 30+ ft. This is a favourite for kite surfers on 5/10 ft days and you will have it to yourself. This wave is perfect for a challenge and breaks over rocky reef running into sandy bay.There are plenty of lefts and rights up the coast reached by jeep. Cape Verde is a surfing experience that you will never forget"
E from yorks is excited just by the video.

"We have bought a place in Vila Verde hence our trip this December to go out there and get a feel for the place but I`m sure we`ll be conquered. I looked at the videos of surfing that you recommended and my cheeks ached so much as I just couldn`t stop smiling! We are used to surf in the murky and freezing cold waters of the north sea near Scarborough (where we have snow on the beach in the winter, and the water goes down to about 4 degrees Celsius! Not for the faint hearted!) so the experience of surfing in warmer climates will be delightful, no doubt!

Thanks again so very much for all your precious help and your patience with my multiple requests and demands."
S from Truro has a surfshop and has surfed for years.
"The first thing that hits you whatever the time of day you arrive is the heat - lovely! Whether you arrive from a British winter or from a wintry British summer, the temperature will be between 23C and 30C just like a perfect summer day in the British Isles. The sea is usually only a couple of degrees cooler. Sal is an island for sea lovers. It is scrubland, mainly flat with a few volcanic hills. It is similar to Fuerteventura in the Canaries. But as you acclimatise to the brown landscape, its beauty emerges in the play of light over the landscape. It can rain briefly in August or September but is otherwise dry. . It gets Atlantic swells from the North and the South! The Cape Verdes are unique, Santa Maria main streets reminded me of a "one horse Mexican town" but a bit like Cornwall used to be years ago! Not much traffic and friendly people! So you either hate it or love it - I loved it and I am 64 but still bodyboard - after a sorts! There are the other Islands like Boa Vista which we did not have time to visit , where the beaches are absolutely empty. Prevailing NE Trade Winds make Sal perfect for Kite and Wind Surfing. There are thousands of Boards from Fanatics and Mistral to Hawaian race prototypes along the beach with numerous trainers and hire tents along the fabulous 5 miles long Santa Maria beach. There is only a metre of tide rise and fall, but the reefs are volcanic lava rock(very sharp) and carry sea urchins! The best surfing break is Ponta Preta which is west of Santa Maria and about a 40 minute walk, It works at certain times of the year and is a Reef break which on occasions has been said by some surfers to be nearly as good as the Hawaiian pipeline! Josh Anglulo the Hawaiain wave surf world champion of a few years back has moved to Sal and certainly thinks so. The winds and swells are strongest in Winter ( December-January) and an occasional storm will whip up really large breaks. Palmeria to the North can offer the best small swell depending on wind and current conditions. Santa Maria Beach near the hotels can on occasion be surfed with small beach breaks and is used by lesser or experienced Bodyboarders! But there are some reefs out there lurking close to the surface waiting for the inexperienced rider. There are other spots on the Island when the wind or tide have the right conditions! In Santa Maria there are new Surf Shops which have opened to meet the needs of increasing tourist arrivals.. There are plenty of good hotels and also some cheap ones on the beach which are ideal for surfers. You can get discounts for long-stays. Most surfers congregate at Tam Tams, run by an Irish couple. We used Cape Verde Jetaway in London to organise everything ,who were superb and also arranged our visas! Contact"
E from Grenoble saw the risks at Ponta Preta.
"We did get some surfing done and J even tried himself for a few hours at ponta preta on a rather big day. I chickened out and filmed the pros (mad) surfers instead! The local surfing kids were just amazing and know no fear at all!!! One of them, a young girl, no older than 14, was out there showing off to her German friends and she came out of the water 5 minutes later with her face totally trashed and covered in blood! She had got herself into a spot of bother and got smashed in the rocks. Ponta preta is not for the faint hearted and one needs to know what they are doing when surfing there (or be completely mad!). it is an amazing surfing spot though and absolutely beautiful. I love the big sand dune there."

Check the surf