Fuerteventura is one of the Canary Islands, in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa, politically part of Spain. At 1,660 square kilometres (641 sq mi), it is the second largest of the Canary Islands, after Tenerife. It was declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in May 2009.
The sea and climate conditions make the island the perfect place for a huge variety of watersports.
Surfing, Windsurfing and Kitesurfing:
Many types of surfing are popular on the island, including traditional surfing, windsurfing (where the board is propelled by a sail) and most recently kitesurfing. The island has many schools and courses dedicated to teaching these sports.
The sports where Fuerteventura has the most impact internationally are windsurfing and kitesurfing, mainly due to the International Windsurfing and Kiteboarding Championship. This has run since 1985 and is held at Playas de Sotavento in Pájara municipality. Many important wind and kitesurfing figures compete in this championship, such as the several-times World windsurfing champion Björn Dunkerbeck and Gisela Pulido, the very young kiteboarding champion from Tarifa.
Many Canarian windsurfers are on the Canarian Waveriders circuit, which has been based in Corralejo since 2005.
Diving schools are just as frequent as surfing ones, all around the coast of Fuerteventura. Unlike the other islands of the archipelago, Fuerteventura has a shelf which at some points goes up to 30 km (19 mi), making it an ideal place to practice this sport.
Two of the most useful points for diving are the coast off Playa del Matorral in the South, and the zone between Lobos Island and Corralejo in the north. It is here in Corralejo that the International Sea and Submarine Photography Festival takes places, known as Fimarsub Corralejo - Lobos. During the festival there are beginners' lessons, professional dives, lessons in underwater photography, screenings and other events related to the sport.
There are lots of swimming pools on the island but the most obvious place to swim is in the open sea. There is an annual swim from Lobos Island to Fuerteventura, held every year since 1999. The event attracts amateur swimmers from all over the Canaries and Spain, and also swimming professionals such as David Meca and Maarten Van der Weijden, the paralympist Jesús Collado Alarcón who won gold medals for 100m backstroke and butterfly in Athens 2004, and Xavi Torres Ramis, the paralympic champion in Barcelona '92, Sydney and Atlanta.
The island holds competitions involving different types of boat, such as the lateen and the Optimist. An interesting event is the Tour of Fuerteventura by Kayak, which is organised as a series of stages rather than a competition, and is an easy way to explore the island.
The most notable competition here is the Gran Tarajal Fishing Open.