Canarian Carnage

I woke up, sunburnt as hell, in the centre of Puerto Rico, at midday, on a littered patch of grass where the dodgy Moroccans and even dodgier ‘women’ trade . Wearing nothing but a pair of over-worn Gap boxers. ­

Las Palmas

Via Flickr

Of course I wasn’t in the Carribean Island of enchantment, but the Canarian shithole, which had chewed me up and spat me out like a minging batch of patatas bravas.

After spanking most of our money in Hossegor, leaving a penniless Will in Northern Spain and sponging off a friendly surf camp in Portugal, a short 56 hour ferry later and we arrived into the arrid holy grail of Gran Canaria. Bright-eyed and bushy tailed, we were full of hope, intending to replenish our travel funds selling timeshares and surfing the uncrowded waves of the North shore.

I have to admit it was a bit of a nomadic punt, but Jimmy would not shut up about the place and it’s eternal sunshine. This shoot from the hip approach shot us in the foot pretty much straight away as we soon realized that where the waves are, Las Palmas, is also home to a pretty tough economy where the locals struggle to find jobs and with our Spanish tongue amounting to no less than “Hola Guapa”, decided to head to the South of the island to hopefully get jobs PR’ing. Or something.

This shoot from the hip approach shot us in the foot pretty much straight away…

After driving through the most barren constant construction site of an island for an hour we arrived into Maspalomas, a 45 degree concrete dump full of massive African woman who have an incredible trick of offering you their hand to shake, then locking some kind of pikey bracelet on, which they would then charge you an extorniate amount for.

Parking was free though and right by the beach, which had a wave, so I got my floatiest board out, hobbled across the boulders to surf some surprisingly fun but weak waves.

I stood on a massive urchin getting out, so went on a three day bender.

It's all fun and games until someone gets drugged and robbed.

It’s all fun and games until someone gets drugged and robbed.

It was impossible to make new friends as everyone was either 65 or 17 years old so I managed to get Will a flight from Santander to Las Palmas so the three musketeers could continue our Eurotrip.

The fluked waves of day one turned out to be all time Maspalomas and we saw nothing even close to waves for a while. We chased some swells up and down the coast and scored a really good right hand point a few miles from Las Palmas, but funds were now painfully low so we decided to dedicate our time to job hunting. We heard Puerto Rica had plenty of work so went in hunt for jobs. Turns out that Puerto Rico also has the World’s most loyal staff as most of the guys working there were 35y/o+ seasonaires, so we decided to find some weed to help sleep through Jimmy’s snorechestra and assess the situation the following day.

This weed hunt went all to well at first with the friendly Moroccan approaching us just as the idea came into our heads. Fate. So we took him up on his kind offer and he led us into a strangely quiet bar, where he also bought us a drink. Bit weird, we thought, but both being fond of a nightcap, didn’t say no.

Good times, heading towards bad times, for Max at least.

Good times, heading towards bad times, for Max at least.

Turns out the price I actually paid for this pint was all of my clothes, wallet, phone, camera and dignity as our Arabic Amigo had drugged us both and successfully robbed me. Will has the immune system of an Ox and somehow fought off and apparently enjoyed the effects of the drugs, as when I finally returned back to the van 12 hours later the boys were having a bit of a shindig, had found some new friends and were partying Puerto Rico style.

I stood on a massive urchin getting out, so went on a three day bender.

Needless to say I gathered my stuff, borrowed €100 off Jimmy, jumped on the next 56 hour ferry back to Portugal then borrowed some more money to fly home. Jimmy and Will got well paid jobs hiring out jet skis, tapped into a constant stream of Scando beauties celebrating their exam results, found the free outside showers and surfed the “seriously good” secret spots of Las Palmas thanks to their new found friend Alex; a local ripper who was more than happy to share his knowledge of the island’s waves in return for a lift. They even all spent Christmas together, then came back to UK for Summer and to this day insist that it was the best Surf Trip of their life.

The van, and Max being completely over being in the van.

The van, and Max being completely over being in the van.

I’ve actually forgetten what I’m writing about now, let alone the brief given to me so I’m going to wrap this travel guide/ fable/ pub story with a quote by American Motivational speaker Robert H. Schuller, which sums up the point I think I’m trying to make about the ‘Great Island of Dogs’:

“Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come.” – Robert H. Schuller

Our photgraphic memories were stolen us as mentioned before and the only pictures I can find of the trip is one of Jimmy and I gazing into ex WCT Competitor Marlon Lipke’s eyes, one from my Instagram of a really good wave in the North, one of me basking in the sun up in the mountains and one I found from when Jimmy tried to sell our van on a Canarian version of eBay.

Max uses his travel experiences to ensure Errant Surf Holidays provide hassle-free surf holidays around the globe.