The Basque Country has always been the surfer paradise of the Cantabrian Sea and of all of Spain. Already in the 1960s, the beaches of the Basque coast were pioneers in receiving the first surfers who traveled there in search of good waves to ride on. Wild beaches, long and intense waves, tubes to the left and right... But of the many sandy beaches that the Basque Country offers for surf lovers, if there is one that stands out above the rest, it is undoubtedly Mundaka, the sanctuary of surfing in Europe. Today we want to tell you 10 things you need to know about the Mundaka wave:
- IT IS ON THE LAIDAITXU BEACH
Although this wave is known as Mundaka, the reality is that the beach is called Laidaitxu. It is located in the municipality of Mundaka, a few minutes from the historic center. It is a small beach of fine golden sand, nestled in the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve and declared a World Heritage Site IN 1984 by UNESCO.
- IN THE TOP 10 BEST WAVES IN THE WORLD
The Mundaka wave is considered the best left-hand wave in Europe and one of the 10 best waves in the world. It is a truly magical left, tremendously long and perfect. It can reach 5 meters in height and up to 400 meters in length. When you surf it and slide down the tube it seems to have no end, but in the end you will see how it opens again and you will be able to see the sky.
- NOT A WAVE FOR EVERYONE
We cannot say that the Mundaka wave is exactly easy to surf. In fact, it is a wave suitable only for specialists. Riding Mundaka has something of a trick, and it is a wave that impresses everyone who dares to surf it. The key is to drop down, lift your ass in free fall, and seeing that you have a wall of waves closing in on you, you just have to know how to stay calm and trust that you will come out safe and sound.
- THE STORY OF MUNDAKA
There are many legends about the origin of Mundaka, although the true story is not really known. The most heard legend tells that a princess was traveling in exile on a ship from Scotland. Suddenly a strong storm formed and the ship entered the mouth of the Urdaibai estuary, so they took shelter in a port. Unlike the rest of the waters in the area, the waters of the port were crystal clear and clean, and they called it “Munda Aqua” (clean water). After a while, the princess was the mother of a boy whom she called Jaun Zuria (white man, due to his blond hair), the famous First Lord of Bizkaia.
- BILLABONG PRO MUNDAKA STAGE
The people in charge of the WSL organization chose Laidatxu beach as the setting for the Billabong Pro Mundaka, the ninth round of the WSL Tour circuit, which lasted from the beginning to the middle of October. However, in 2011 it was decided to change this temple to another place due to the coastal changes that a sand extraction had caused in the wave.
Currently, although this great test is no longer held, the Local Mundaka Surf Taldea Championship continues to be enjoyed, which was inaugurated in 1987. It is a championship with a lot of history that each year welcomes the best surfers in the Basque Country.
- HAS BEEN INVOLVED IN MORE THAN ONE ACCIDENT
The bar is not an easy wave to ride, and even the most pro surfers can be scared when faced with it. On January 2, 2017 surfer Kepa Acero suffered a brutal fall while surfing Mundaka. This accident ended with two broken vertebrae, one dorsal and one displaced cervical. Thanks to the help of two surfers, he managed to surface and was pulled out of the sea, since he had even lost his sight. To this day he gives thanks because he feels that he has been born again and has had tremendous luck.
- A BOOK DEDICATED TO “LA BARRA”
Not all beaches can boast of having a book dedicated to their waves. Craig Sage, an Australian surfer based in Mundaka declared himself completely in love with this bar and confessed: “All of us who surfed there knew that it was an unusual wave and that's why there was a kind of pact of silence between locals and foreigners so as not to discover to the rest of the world that there was a magical wave in Mundaka”.
In 2017 he published Surf to Live, Live to Surf, a book that reviews the history of surfing in Mundaka, its seafaring tradition, the influence of foreigners and everything that wraps this wave inside the Urdaibai reserve.
- HE HAS MET THE BEST FACES IN SURFING
Imagine the number of surfers that after so many years will have set foot on this beach looking to surf the queen wave, they will not be few. Many of the legends of surfing have passed through Mundaka, such as Tom Curren, Kelly Slater, Andy Irons, Mark Occhilupo…
However, if there is a person who surfs this wave like no one else, that is Txaber Trojaola. This surfer was born in Bilbao in 1986 and is a local from Mundaka. He knows better than anyone all the characteristics of the bar and all its tricks, so he knows how to surf it and it's a pleasure to see him.
- TEMPERATURE OF ITS WATERS
The water temperature varies a lot from the winter to summer months. Between January and February it is around 12 degrees, so the ideal is to wear a 5 mm neoprene, that is, a 5/4. Important! Do not forget the hat, the booties and some gloves.
If you go surfing in May or June, the water is about 15 degrees. You can try a 3/2, and in case you are very cold, opt for a 4/3. Finally, if you have decided to come in July or August, the time of most pleasant temperatures (20 degrees), with a 2/2 it will be enough for you.
- THE PERFECT SURFBOARD FOR SURFING MUNDAKA
Surfing Mundaka is not an easy matter, and therefore we must take into account which board we are going to use. Did you know that there is a surfboard created exclusively for this wave? This is the Clayton Mundaka, designed by the Clayton firm taking into account the speed, strength and size of this bar. But if you don't plan to buy another board, we recommend that you use a all-terrain board , which is good for all types of conditions.
This is all you need to know about Mundaka, the mecca of surfing in Spain and Europe. I hope one day you try it yourself and know how to tell us what it feels like to surf a wave like this. Before you go! Don't forget to pack Mundaka's caps Born to Surf, it will be your ideal travel companion.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
- WHERE IS MUNDAKA?
The wave of Mundaka is on the beach of Laidaitxu. It is located in the municipality of Mundaka, a few minutes from the historic center. It is a small beach of fine golden sand, nestled in the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve and declared a World Heritage Site IN 19844 by UNESCO.
- HOW BIG IS THE WAVE OF MUNDAKA?
The left of Mundaka is a magical wave, it can reach 5 meters in height and up to 400 meters in length.
- WHAT IS THE BEST WAVE IN SPAIN?
The wave of Mundaka is the best left in all of Europe and is considered one of the 10 best waves in the world.
- WHAT SURFING CHAMPIONSHIPS ARE HELD IN MUNDAKA?
Mundaka, due to its spectacular conditions for surfing, has always been the scene of important tests. Until 2011 the Billabong Pro Mundaka was hosted, the ninth round of the WSL tour, but unfortunately this came to an end due to coastal changes that, due to sand extraction, ended up affecting the waves. However, since 1987 the Local Mundaka Surf Taldea Championship has been held, which welcomes the best of Basque surfers.
- WHAT HAPPENED TO KEPA ACERO IN MUNDAKA?
On January 2, 2017, surfer Kepa Acero suffered a brutal fall while surfing Mundaka, an accident that ended with two broken vertebrae, one dorsal and one displaced cervical.
- WHAT WETSUIT TO BRING TO MUNDAKA?
This will depend on when you travel to Mundaka. Between January and February the water temperature is around 12 degrees, so a 5 mm neoprene is ideal, that is, a 5/4. Important! Do not forget the hat, the booties and some gloves. In July and August a 2/2 will suffice.
- WHICH SURFBOARD TO USE IN MUNDAKA?
There is a surfboard designed exclusively for Mundaka surfing: the Clayton Mundaka, produced with the speed, strength and size of this bar in mind. But if you don't plan to buy another board, we recommend that you use a all-terrain board , which is good for all types of conditions.
- WHO IS THE BEST LOCAL SURFER IN MUNDAKA?
Many surfing legends have passed through Mundaka, such as Tom Curren, Kelly Slater, Andy Irons, Mark Occhilupo... However, if there is one person who surfs this wave like no one else, it is Txaber Trojaola. This surfer was born in Bilbao in 1986 and is a local from Mundaka. He knows better than anyone all the characteristics of the bar and all its tricks, so he knows how to surf it and it's a pleasure to see him.