This Volcano Is Destroying One Of The Canary Islands Premier Surf Spots - Stab Mag
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Cumbre Vieja on the night of the eruption. Photo by Eduardo Robaina

This Volcano Is Destroying One Of The Canary Islands Premier Surf Spots

RIP Playa Los Guirres.

Words by Ethan Davis

For more than eight weeks, the Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma has been erupting, oozing molten lava and scorching everything in its path. The volcano began erupting on September 19 and now, a month later, it’s still at it. 

La Palma is a small island situated in the Canary Island archipelago off the coast of northwest Africa. It is the fifth-largest island in the chain, and host to multiple lightly-trafficked reef breaks that boast warm water and fun waves that have lured European surfers for years. 

It’s best-known spot is Los Guirres. A quality right, rock-bottomed point that is the center of the La Palma local surf scene. 

It is now covered in molten lava, as well as its two neighboring surf spots.

The Los Guirres Open ran in 2016.

The eruption has caused the evacuation of around 7,000 people, and the lava flow has covered over 990 hectares. Displaced residents will not be returning for some time. Scientists are estimating it will be at least three more months till the area is safe again. 

According to Surfline’s interview with Manu Miguelez, a local Spanish photographer:

“At the moment, surfing is totally secondary to surviving amongst the local community. Luckily, the surf community is pretty small and there are not a lot of businesses compared to other islands. Regardless, the community exists, and the eruption has taken its best wave. The future is also uncertain as the lava keeps flowing”, says Manu. 

The island is entirely coated in ash. Photo by AP.

“On the bright side, the local community is helping them and camaraderie between islanders is well known. People are staying close to each other, taking it day by day and focusing on helping the most needed. Squads are cleaning tons of ash, evacuating houses and animals.”

To support the people and the cleanup efforts on La Palma, check out the official support landing page from Cabildo de Palma.

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