Notwithstanding its size, Madeira is home to a wealth of sporting activities.
Football is, of course, the mecca of all sports on the island and is played at all levels ranging from amateur youth clubs to professional organisations such as C.D Nacional and C.S. Maritimo. Similarly, Futsal, five aside football played indoors on a hard surface has become increasingly popular. A size four ball is used to decrease bounce, and with team members having to play within a marked pitch Futsal is more controlled and accurate than its major league cousin.
With its rocky terrain and steep coastal shelf make it ideal for extreme sports enthusiasts. Madeira’s mountains and stunning scenery play host to a wide variety of running events including trail and sky running, Eco trails and urban running. Cycling has also become very popular through both road and cross-country events. While a shift in enthusiasm towards athletics has led to the formation and creation of associations and world-class training facilities on the island, creating fantastic sporting opportunities such as Baseball and Softball, while Madeirabol, a local game similar to volleyball but with only two players per side who use their feet to keep the ball in the air, is fast and enthusiastic. Basketball (CAB Madeira) is a crowd pleaser, especially with the women’s team providing such a strong competitive force. Similarly, the ladies Handball team (Madeira S.A.D) have won the National Championships 15 times since 1994. Racquet sports such as Table Tennis and Badminton have rocketed both on the national and international scene and are set to continue to do so.
Moving on, three challenging golf courses, two on Madeira and one on Porto Santo, together with their breath-taking scenery and individuality provide a stimulating challenge for both novice and experienced golfers alike. With a fantastic array of paths, punishing ascents and dramatic scenery Madeira is fast becoming the running, walking, enduro and mountain biking haven with competitions such as the Madeira Island Ultra-Trail, Ultra-Sky Marathon and Trans Madeira Enduro Mountain Bike race being held annually. Paragliding is a popular sport from pleasure gliders to serious competitors. Likewise, the islands twisting, demanding roads make it a rally drivers paradise with the island hosting several rallies each year including the prestigious Madeira Wine Rally.
As with all islanders, Madeirans are also keen to adopt new sporting activities and excel at them. Examples of this include Windsurfer, João Rodrigues having represented Madeira and Portugal in every summer Olympics from 1992 to 2016. Madeira's coastal waters have become becoming increasingly popular for nautical sports such as canoeing, surfing, windsurfing open sea swimming races, stand up paddle and bodyboarding. On the 4th of July, many of the world’s big game fishing sportsmen flock to the coast to take part in the Blue Marlin World Cup. The fourth largest Marlin in the world was caught in these waters in 2016.