Tarifa, Spain is renowned for its world class kiteboarding. We caught up with pro kiter Mallory de la Villemarqué who gave us the lowdown on Tarifa and some local insight on what to do while visiting.
Contributing Author: Mallory de la Villemarqué https://www.facebook.com/mallorykite
Photos by: Svetlana Romantsova https://instagram.com/romantsovaphoto
1. RIDE THE HIGH WINDS
If you are fortunate enough to be in Tarifa during a strong Levante, cross-offshore winds from the east can reach up to 60 knots. If you have never kited in such strong winds, you have to give it a try! I’m not saying you’ll enjoy the session, but it’s definitely an experience to ride 5-7 meter kites in such strong, gusty winds. I bet you’ll remember it for a while and better appreciate your better sessions. Once you’ve done that, you can drive in either direction to lighter wind spots. If you drive towards Cadiz you will be able to ride Caños de Meca. In the other direction, toward Algeciras, you’ll be able to ride Getares or Palmones in the Bay of Gibraltar.
2. RIDE THE LAGOON
The Poniente wind comes from the west and is cross-onshore. Poniente wind, combined with a high tide, creates a super flat lagoon on Tarifa’s main beach. In the winter, this spot is even more fun because there are no tourists sunbathing and we get the whole beach for ourselves. This lagoon is the perfect playground to learn and practice your flat water skills. You’ll also get to see all the pro riders and local kids ripping it up and training their tricks.
3. GO SURFING
Tarifa has lots of surf spots. During the winter time, the swell can bring some great waves. In town, El Balneario is the main surf spot. Ten minutes away you have Arte Vida, El Bunker, and Punta Paloma. About an hour away, next to Caños de Meca, is El Palmar, which gets more swell and even bigger waves than Tarifa.
4. DINE ON SPANISH TAPAS
My three favorite restaurants are “La Vaca Loca”, “Los Mellis” and “Anca Curro”. At these local restaurants, you can order fresh and delicious meat, tuna, and plenty of great Andalusian tapas. After that, sip on a Mojito at Taco Way. This bar is owned by local kids who make some of the best mojitos you’ll ever try!
5. GO OUT AND PARTY
Tarifa is known for two things all around Spain, its consistent winds and its nightlife. In the summer time, Tarifa’s population triples with people who come for the party scene. Start your night out, around 12-1 a.m., bar hopping in the old town, then head to “La Ruina” or “Mombasa”, or “Café del Mar” for the real parties. If you’re a real party animal, you can stay out until the clubs close at 7am, then grab breakfast on your way home.
6. EXPLORE AND TAKE IN THE VIEWS
Go for a morning jog on the running path along the straight of Gibraltar and enjoy a stunning view of Morocco. There are also some nice climbing spots and mountain bike routes on the beautiful Dunes of Punta Paloma and Bolonia. WET Tarifa and Sailsboards Tarifa are local shops that can assist you with rentals and information.
7. GO SHOPPING FOR NEW GEAR
I don’t know the exact count of surf shops and kite schools in Tarifa but there is probably around 20-30. Nearly every other store is a kite, surf, or windsurf shop. Spend a no-wind day touring the shops and checking out the variety of gear. Some of the nicest shops are right at the entrance of town, you can’t miss them.
When Mallory isn’t traveling and competing, he runs and coaches a traveling kite camp. If you are thinking about a visit to Tarifa and want to improve your kiting skills, check out his camp in Tarifa at mallorykitecamps.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mallorykitecamps?ref=hl