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The minimum recommended age is 14 years

Mundaka

Mundaka

Northern Spain - Basque Country , Spain

Surf, Bodyboard

The famous Mundaka left, known as one of the ten best lefts in the world, is in Bizkaia in the Basque Country, northern Spain. This small old fishing village has evolved on the west side of the river mouth since the year 900, around what was a natural harbour protected from the ferocity of the Cantabrian Sea. Surfers go in the water in front of the harbour and the main pier searching for the sandbar from where Mundaka originates. Mundaka can reach 400 metres and at low tide it sometimes converts into a deep barrel that can reach 100 metres. Big Basque surfers like Eneko Acero or Aritz Aramburu are regulars at the sandbar and can vouch that Mundaka has nothing to envy about any other barrel in the world and despite the fact that you can get hurt by it, the sandy bottom allows you to take your surfing to unthinkable limits over a coral reef.

To get to Mundaka, you can take the BI-635 from Gernika in the direction of Bermeo, or the BI-631 from Bilbao which takes 45 minutes. Be warned that if you go in the summer it’ll be very busy. Next to the harbour you’ll find Atalaya Park, the nucleus of the town, and from there you can see the whole of the Mundaka line up and Ízaro island, where there is quiet right-hander which you can only get to by boat, in the background.

Since the seventies Mundaka, along with Hossegor in France, has been a benchmark for European surfing and for this reason it has a long history with an endless list of surfers; Garaizabal, Susaeta, Morenés, Escauriaza, the Gandarias, the Lekumberris, the Natxo brothers, Jaime, Txema Fernandez, Jupa Soler, Jorge Imbert, Gorka Yarritu, Asis Fernandez, Josu Bearan, David Bustamante, all legendary like Bruce Smith who discovered Mundaka at the beginning of the eighties and got so trapped by the place and its culture that he opened his workshop Odyssey Surfboards there. It was a similar situation for the Australians Craig Sage and Nick Lavery, or more recently, Mike Dobos.

Mundaka Surfing

It's of high importance worldwide and was in fact with the Billabong Pro Mundaka, one of the most compelling tests of the WCT, for a long time. However, a slump in the conditions in recent years led to the parties involved suspending this stop of the tour as it’s difficult to get the correct tide and swell factors coinciding. This was a very sad decision but nothing compared to the sadness caused by a catastrophe in 2003 when sand dredging at the river mouth wiped out the wave. This news spread globally and caused an empty feeling for three long years until the first autumn swells of 2005 when it seemed like something was changing and on the 18th February 2006, some, such as Txema Fernandez, Iker Acero, Josu Bearan and Mike Dobos entered the water with a big swell that brought sets of three, hollow four metre waves which they couldn’t cope with. It was a session that they hadn’t seen for years and it confirmed that Mundaka had returned as quickly as it had left, hence the slogan that symbolised the Billabong Pro Mundaka in October 2006, ‘She’s back and she’s angry’.
 

Conditions

For Mundaka to be its classic self it needs strong NW swells of 6 to 8 feet, low tide and S - SW wind. If that happens the best surfers go, including some from Las Landas in France where the wave is very similar. This left starts working from 4 feet and sometimes a short and intensive right which is popular with bodyboarders also leaves the peak. It’s worth considering that the choppy conditions that are so common with the autumn and winter storms can be good due to the quality of the seabed and the protection of the inlet.

The best time is from the end of September until December when the calmness, the quality of the bottom, and the first autumn swells are often the best. From then on you can surf frequently thanks to the continuous input of one swell after another. Sometimes the core winter months lead to spectacular swells exclusively for experienced surfers. Keep in mind that the conditions aren’t long lasting and so you need to be very aware of the state of the tide and also the currents that are close to the harbour and the take off zone in mid to low tide. It’s normally very busy at this spot but it’s worth a shot if you stay aware of your own limits and leave the locals to set the pace. Although the last sections aren’t always good, they’re a good option and there are usually less people there.
 
Optimal Conditions
  • Wave
    Long left hand witth Barrel sections
  • Wind
    S - SW - W - NW Light
  • Tide
    Low Tide
  • Swell
    NW
  • Bottom
    Sand
  • Size
    From 3 to 10 ft
  • Time of year
    Autum - Winter
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