Introducing Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, surf city

What's up in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria? Well, the surf for a start. As I rediscovered, at the II Encuentro Los Muellitos celebrated on the weekend on the 5th and 6th of October. The venue? The Los Muellitos section of La Cicer, the most westerly part of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria's Las Canteras beach.

Surfing's a spectator sport

Four's a crowd

Back when I learned how to surf, my then pre-teen eldest son Dani would come to watch me. He did it because I was his dad. As there was nothing for him to get excited otherwise, seeing as I had much control of the board as an elephant on ice.

Dani himself, now 14, has developed into a fine surfer. Although his preference for football meant he wasn't one of the single-minded dudes and dudettes competing in the II Encuentro Los Muellitos. Watched by a crowd made up of more than family and friends of the competitors.

Surf Sunday


Nevertheless, people come and go at the II Encuentro Los Muellitos. That's the beauty of the Paseo Las Canteras, the promenade above the beach. There always seems to be something on at various points of this maritime promenade which accounts for the passing pedestrian traffic.

Sharing local top billing with this surfing competition on Sunday was Guanarteme's Fiestas del Pilar. This saw the giant papaguevo puppets delighting the crowds as the band played on and on. It was a question of turning one way to watch a traditional fiesta and the other to see the latest generation of champion surfers slaloming through the waves.

Surf groupies

Surf groupies

Go to any football game involving teenage boys on Gran Canaria and you can bet amongst the watching crowd there will be a number of teenage groupies. They'll cheer on the team with chants. Although each will have their favourite player who they'll later try and engage in flirty post-match conversation.

The II Encuentro Los Muellitos had a similar feel to it. Mainly because the competitors were mainly teenage in age. As, indeed, were most of the spectators. Although chanting was conspicuous by its absence, there were requests for signatures from young stars who aren't yet names in their own households let alone anybody else's.

Boarding a board

Board stupid

The II Encuentro Los Muellitos wasn't only about the competitors. The event was subtitled Por y Para Ellos, And For Them. A fundraiser, it boosted the coffers of local charity, Pequeño Valiente who had a stall close to the winners' podium; to the tune of €3,000.

Pequeño Valiente was set up by parents who met at the city's maternity hospital. They wanted to offer support to all the families in Gran Canaria province who have had one of their children diagnosed with cancer. Some of these children are pictured above, about to enjoy a free lesson with local surf school, Escuela de surf 3RJ.

Surf's up

Surf's Up

The local TV channel was there to film proceedings, and there were photographers and reporters from Canarias 7 and La Provincia newspapers too. Along with's man in Gran Canaria, of course. The president of Pequeño Valiente was interviewed, along with some of the children.

I learned to surf at Oceanside. There are numerous schools dotted along Las Canteras, with most close to the surf-friendly La Cicer. The other extreme's El Confital which is for more experienced surfers, given its more variable conditions.

Fight club

Fight Club

There was certainly plenty for the children from Pequeño Valiente to see and do at II Encuentro Los Muellitos. After lunching on roast chicken and potatoes, they were shown the basics of Capoeira. This is a celebrated Brazilian martial art. 

Capoeira might have been invented in South America, but it has its roots in Africa. Combining elements of acrobatics, dance, and music, the demonstration felt less like a lesson and more like a show. Later, there was a percussion class where the Pequeño Valiente kids were enthusiastically encouraged to improve their drumming skills.

Surf u like

Go girl

If you know how to learn to swim, you can learn to surf. The lessons focus on safety first. Then after you've learned to board your board, you're out in the big, wide ocean where you'll hone your technique, using the classic system of trial and error.

II Encuentro Los Muellitos featured both male and female competitors. There were separate competitions for disciplines such as bodyboarding, dropknee, and longboards. All of these you can learn at the Las Canteras surf schools, along with SUP (stand-up paddle).

Young talent

Surfing's bright future

The children from Pequeño Valiente, including my 11 year-old son Alex, gave out the awards to the various winners. The photograph above features the four U-16 surfing champions. In first place came Josemi Mentado, followed by Jose Carlos Ramos, Manu Cobos, and Moisés Domínguez, in second, third, and fourth places respectively.

And what the boys could do, the girls could too. Cynthia Quintana took first place in the feminine surfing event. Patricia Ramos came second, Siliva Hernández third, and, last but not least, Cristina Pérez recorded a fourth-place finish.

Taking a stand on the podium

Taking to the podium

Others to make their way to the podium included the Surf Open's Top 4. In particular order, they were Damian Moro, Víctor Sánchez, Jack Keenan, and Enrique Carmona. Carmona, pictured on the right of the above photograph, certainly did his bit to help Pequeño Valiente.

For Carmona bid 150€ for the board which 2014 Bodyboarding Tour champion Amaury Lavernhe used to seal his triumph in Portugal's Sintra. There were other winners at the II Encuentro Los Muellitos too numerous to mention in full. Although the event's biggest winners undoubtedly were Pequeño Valiente who rely on this sort of charity to continue their support for families in need.