Madeira has world class waves and relatively warm waters, even in winter, making it an ideal surfers paradise. Its still undiscovered potential has surfers and windsurfers from all over the world testing their skills in these demanding waters and as such Madeira has its windsurfing champion, João Rodrigues. João is not only one of the best RS: X windsurfers in the world but has competed in a total of 121 International events winning 51 medals (22 gold, 16 silver and 13 bronze). On the 14th of June 2011, his name was entered into the Guinness Book of Records for his nonstop, 10-hour, 160-mile Atlantic crossing from Madeira to the Selvagem Islands to celebrate his 40th birthday and to raise awareness of Madeira's Natural Park.
There are several surf schools located throughout the island including Clube Naval who have branches based in several locations around Madeira, and Clube Força 5 Madeira who are also based in Funchal and offer surf courses for all ages and abilities.
Windsurf: With Madeira’s excellent coastline Madeira is a haven for windsurfing, bodyboard and kitesurfing enthusiasts from beginners to the more advanced. With the islands most notable windsurfer being João Rodrigues. Not only has he represented Portugal in several summer Olympics he is a Gunniess Book of Records title holder and is an ambassador for the sport.
Surf: Although surfing gained popularity in the 1970’s, it wasn’t until the mid-1990’s that Madeira became regarded as a potential surfing destination. As such, the Big Wave Championships were held in Madeira in 2001. Although the gradient of the seabed creates some spectacular conditions for advanced and intermediate surfers, there are plenty of opportunities for those new to the sport to hone their skills. Notable locations are Paul do Mar with its barrelling waves that can reach 8 metres, Ponta Pequena which is a perfect right-hander, while Lugar do Baixo is regarded as hollow and fast and the waves of Jardim do Mar are considered perfect for advanced surfers only. There are several surf schools located on the island including the Surf Club of Madeira (SCM), Calhau Surf School in Porto da Cruz and the Madeira Surf Camp in Machico.
Stand Up Paddle: (SUP): The sport originated in Hawaii and consisted of standing up on a board with boarders using a paddle to propel them through the water. As with most water sports it has caught on in Madeira, with the island being dubbed the ‘Hawaii of Europe’ due to its coastal temperatures and ideal sea conditions. SUP not only provides a great way to stay in shape it allows both amateurs and professionals a glimpse of a barely discovered coastal Madeira, providing enthusiasts with a different perspective of the island. Competitions are held throughout the year, with many being organised by Clube Naval do Funchal. There are several schools located around the island and Funchal, including the Madeira Sup School.