Gran Canaria is Spain’s third most populated island after adventure loving Tenerife and the beach paradise of Majorca. In the summer months, the population grows significantly with holidaymakers from around Europe coming to lie on the beach and party in the well-known resort towns of the island.

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria, along with Andalusia’s Costa del Sol have long been favourites of British and Irish tourists on the typical two-week package holiday; partying by night and sunbathing by day. However, there is a lot more to do on the island than this and given it’s location off of northwest Africa, it should come as no surprise that it’s a watersport enthusiast’s dream. And with 350 days of sun, and water temperatures over 20 degrees C all year long, why wouldn’t it be? Whether you want to hit the waves in the north or the flat waters off the south, there’s something for every taste and a suitable environment for just about any water sport.

Here are 4 water sports you have to try on your next trip to Gran Canaria.

1. Stand Up Paddle Boarding

SUP in Gran Canaria. One of the fastest growing water sports out there.

SUP in Gran Canaria. One of the fastest growing water sports out there.

Stand up paddle boarding (SUP for short) has become the fastest growing water sport around the world in the last few years. It offers mass appeal due to the diversity within the sport. From rivers to oceans, from flat water to giant waves, SUP is a fantastic way to enjoy the water. And in Gran Canaria, there are a number of great locations for exploring the beautiful coastline in the south of the island where schools offer lessons and rentals.

2. Scuba Diving

Angel Shark in Gran Canaria

Angel Shark in Gran Canaria

One of the most popular water sports in Gran Canaria is scuba diving and why wouldn’t it be? Listed as one of the top 10 dive locations in Europe, it’s home to 15 species of sea life that can only be found in the Canaries such as the Canary Island lobserette and the Cernia Rossa.

If it’s the big fish that excite you then how about angel sharks or any of the five species of rays that call these waters home? Maybe you prefer exploring shipwrecks? Well, the Kalais and the Arona are nothing sort of spectacular and offer experienced divers some amazing diving. As Europe’s southernmost scuba destination, Gran Canaria has dive sites for every level and schools on the island offer guided dives as well as certification courses.

3. Surfing and Bodyboarding

Surfing at El Confital, Gran Canaria

Surfing at El Confital, Gran Canaria

Did you know Gran Canaria is home to one of the best right-hand reef breaks in all of the Canary Islands? In fact it’s often touted as one of the best in all of Europe! With this kind of reputation El Confital does, unfortunately, get quite crowded and locals are known to be quite protective of their break.

The fast, hollow waves here are no place for beginners but experienced surfers can get amazing rides in the right conditions, especially on the quieter weekdays, when the crowds thin out. Depending on the conditions waves can be anywhere from 5ft to 12ft so keep an eye on the forecast! If this sounds beyond your skill level, there are plenty of breaks all over the island. Enquire at one of the surf shops in Playa de Las Cantera and they’ll point you in the right direction.

4. Windsurfing and Kitesurfing

Windsurfer gets airborne at the windsurfing world championships in Pozo Izquierdo, Gran Canaria

Windsurfer gets airborne at the windsurfing world championships in Pozo Izquierdo, Gran Canaria

The breeze on the beach in Gran Canaria is good for more than just keeping cool, it’s the sole reason some water sports enthusiasts come to the island in the first place! Pozo Izquierdo in the south east of the island is the premier location for harnessing the wind’s power on the island. Both kitefsurfing and windsurfing are possible here with plenty of schools to choose from. If you already know what you’re doing there is plenty of rental gear available for you to hit the water. This is the home of the windsurfing world championships so even if you’re not keen on taking part yourself you can always sit back and watch the pros put on a show.

Lovers of water sports will fall in love with Gran Canaria. With so many options, so many water sports to choose from and something for every level, Gran Canaria is a must-visit destination for scuba divers, snorkelers, windsurfers, surfers, bodyboarders, stand up paddle boarders and anyone else who enjoys spending time in or under the water. The only problem might be choosing what to do first!

Have you been to Gran Canaria? Any water sports you would add to the list? Let us know in the comments below.

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Brian Barry
Brian is a travel writer, photographer, blogger, travel addict and adventure junkie. Being outdoors, getting off the beaten track and outside his comfort zone is what makes him tick. Brian's the dreamer in the relationship; when he's not travelling, he's dreaming about it! Keeping fit, cooking, music and red wine take up the rest of his time.

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