With extreme elements comes extreme passion and Tarifa has both in bucket loads. Ranked third globally after Hawaii and Gran Canaria, Tarifa is a world-renowned hot spot for windsurf and kitesurf enthusiasts.
Nearly two decades ago windsurfers discovered this windswept fishing village and descended upon its ravished shores with a bang, harnessing its natural energy and transforming it into a Mecca for the sport.
Not content to keep their passion a secret and eager to establish a trade in the town they loved, a steady stream of surf shops began opening to cater for a select tourist market.
Twenty years on and Tarifa’s fate as a prime site for extreme water sports has been sealed. Its reputation owes much to the dedication, ingenuity and grit of the surfers who set up shop here all those years ago.
It is this ethos that shapes the backbone of the many surf shops that line Tarifa’s main street, Batalla del Salado. No other small coastal town boasts this concentration of international and home-grown surf brands. With names like Quicksilver, Animal, Billabong and O’Neill sitting next door to Tarifa Pirates, Hot Stick, Cat Fun and Funworks, the choice of shops is literally overwhelming.
Entering the town from the west side, Tarifa’s unique appeal is proudly announced by a road sign reading, ‘Tarifa, Costa de la Luz, Costa del Windsurf’, the only town in mainland Spain to bear this moniker.
Pass the sign and the copious surf shop options become immediately apparent. First up on the trail are Funworks, Tarifa Pirates and Hot Stick. The story of Funworks, owned by Tarifa veteran Michel Figuera, is a typical one. Michel’s passion for the sport inspired him to open his shop more than ten years ago. Specialising in custom-made windsurf and kitesurf boards and bespoke accessories, today the shop is thriving while Michel is busy passing his passion on to his young son.
Another old Pro is Eduardo Bellini, former windsurf champion who opened the first Kite surf shop – KitePro - in Tarifa in 2001 and where the budding young kitesurf pros of today like Christian Holley, Joe ….and Angela Perales tend to hang out after a day on the water.
The reasons for the success of Tarifa’s many surf shops is not just the passion of the owners but also their in-depth knowledge and willingness to pass that knowledge on to pros and novices alike. Both are welcomed and feel equally at home here. While the pros talk shop, the novices learn.
Nearly all the shops have schools affiliated to them, so after the correct gear (such as wet suits, helmets, gloves) has been purchased, shop assistants can point eager novices in the direction of a professional school to learn the basics or sort out more experienced surfers with equipment for hire.
Tarifa’s surf shop owners are masters of their craft, so for those in the market for a top quality board, this is the place. Most shops also have their own workshops such as the famous Bull. Tucked away in the centre of Tarifa, Bull is open plan allowing shoppers and surfers to venture in, ask questions and watch the masters at work putting the finishing touches to some world class kit.
And as Tarifa is an internationally recognised surf zone, expect to find nationalities from all over the worldat work and play here, eliminating all possible language and cultural barriers.
Tarifa’s surf shops do much more that just sell suits and kit. They are centres of learning, manufacture, skill and expertise. They are world class and world-renowned. For a truly complete surf experience, Tarifa is a one-stop surf shop second to none.
Coming into town from the west:
Centro Comercial La Vega (on the left) opens in September with :
Animal Academy, KitePro, Hot Stick, El Niño
Carrying on into town and still on the left:
- Clothes - Hippie Tarifa, Mala Mujer, Boa Bunda, Indian, Wax, Piel de Toro, No Work Team, Tarifa Sea Slaves, Mala Mujer, Nueve x Nueve, Bazaar
- Clothes + Surf and Windsurf equipment - Tarifa Pirates
- Clothes + Hand Made Custom Kite Surf Boards - Rick Shapes
- Windsurf Equipment - Tarifa Lifestyle
- Clothes + Kite Surf Boards and Kites - Xtrem
- Clothes + Kitesurf and Windsurf Equipment - Ocean Impact
- Clothes + Kitesurf equipment - Sharkite/Sons of the Desert, Natural Planet
From west on right:
- Clothes + Hand Made Custom Kite Surf Boards -Tarifa Kiteboarding Company
- Clothes + Kitesurf Equipment - Kitetec, Naish, Skywalker, Kite Obsession, Kite Pro, Dock It, Cat Fun
- Hand made Custom Kitesurf Boards - Nomad
- Clothes and Windsurf and Kitesurf Equipment - Funworks, Hot Stick
- Kitesurf Equipment - Kite Local School Tarifa
- Clothes - Quicksilver, Whitesurf, El Niño, Red Cocci, Toro Loco, Indico, Inestable, Aldea Global
- Clothes and Skating Equipment - Standar
- Clothes and Windsurf Equipment - Surfboards Tarifa