Surfing first started on the Portuguese island of Madeira in the 1970s in the ocean waters off the ocean towns and villages of Jardim do Mar, and Ponta Pequena. Almost every surf spot the amateur surfers found was rocky and rugged. No waves seemed to break under six feet in the winter months, making it only suitable for the intermediate to experienced surfer enjoy the Atlantic waves in relative solitude. Madeira did not come to foreign surfers’ attention until articles and pictures of the waves and beautiful beaches began to appear in surfing magazines in the mid-1990s. Since 1996 the top Portuguese surfers from mainland Portugal have come to the island to compete in Madeira’s most prominent surf competition, “The Billabong’ Challenge’. Madeira’s subtropical climate makes this a great place year-round to surf, from October to May being the best. If this is something you want to master, there are several surf schools and even a surf camp for 400 euros a week for room and board and 2 hours of surf lessons a day. This is one of the most beautiful islands globally, with so much to do and see that surfing is just one of the reasons why Madeira receives over 1 million visitors a year. Paul do Mar is an exposed reef break that has quite a solid surf. Autumn and winter are the best times of the year for waves. Offshore winds blow from the northeast. According to surf experts, this surf spot has the best barreling waves (also known as tubular or tunnel waves) on the island. Both stand-up surfing and bodyboarding are practiced at this spot. The ISA World Surf championships have been hosted on the island, which is better known to be held in Hawaii. The Paul do Mar region of the island is respected throughout the surf community as it offers eight-meter high waves with beautiful, clean beaches. The World Big Wave Championships 2001 was held at Paul do Mar and many other regional competitions. Ponta Pequena: another perfect right-hander. Punta Pequena is situated between Jardim do Mar and Paul do Mar and has many characteristics. The water temperature in the winter is around 24 degrees celsius. Watch out for submerged rocks, as they can be a hazard! Not very crowded here, a mellow beach.Lugar de Baixo: hollow and fast with the optimal months for the giant waves in the fall and winter. A great beach popular with locals. Some of the massive waves surfed on the island have been on this beach.São Vicente: on the north coast is a calmer spot suitable for beginners and intermediate surfers. Here, there is a surf school where you can enhance your skills or learn the basics to safely get into the water while enjoying the calm waves that break in this more peaceful bay on the island. Jardim do Mar: Surfing at Jardim is only for the experienced surfer and swimmer as the waves break large. They start at around two meters, and reeling right-handers can reach five meters sweeping along the rocky point. Jardim do Mar was documented in Jacob Holcomb’s film “Lost Jewel of the Atlantic.” Here you have phenomenal coastline views and a regular break of waves in one of the coolest spots to surf in the Atlantic.