• Jo Denison's winter

Every winter you hear about the travels of the top British male surfers training for the next years competitions and trying to escape the ever colder winters. This year after finishing work with the Billabong International Surfing Centre, and the schools programs had wrapped up for the winter. I was lucky enough to plan a big trip in preparation for my determination to take some big names down in some World Qualifying events in 2010.  

The first place on my list was the south of France so I could visit one of Europe’s best shapers, Robert Vaughn, and pick up some new surf boards.  I ordered three new boards; a 5’11 small wave board, a 6’1 for the good days and a 6’3 for when it’s a little bigger. Once the hype of the ASP in France had died down, it was easy to find a quality sand bank to season. I spent most of my time in Les Estagnots and some of the busiest waters that I have ever experienced in Capbreton.

As the winter swells pick up and the golden sand banks starts to get washed away I cruised down to northern Spain. Here there are some reef breaks or bigger wave spots, which hold the swell better. One of which being Mundaka. Being a goofy footer, I was very excited about testing this spot out that is deemed to be ‘one of the heaviest waves in Europe’. I was not disappointed! Rumour was in France that it was going to be really good, so lots of surfers headed down.

Highly excited, I woke up really early to check it all out. I knew there where waves; I could hear them, but thick fog covered the whole sea. As I stared into the mist I could finally see what I thought was a five foot wave, as I looked closer I saw someone being towed into a very sizable wave.  That day turned out to be one of the best days they had seen all year. I saw some of the biggest barrels and the most broken boards that I have ever seen. The next day was far more fun and I meet up with Rebecca Woods for surf before she headed down to Peniche in Portugal for an ASP event.

Nearing the end of November, by which point I had lived in a van for too long, it was time to head somewhere warmer. The Canneries have been described as the ‘Hawaii of Europe’ and situated close to the continent of Africa, this seems like a good place to go and check out.  I spent 6 weeks on the island of Fuerteventura. It’s a volcanic island so there where reef breaks everywhere. I don’t think I have ever surfed so much in my life.

The waves where really consistent and we only had a couple of small and on sure days. I had some video coaching from Outerreef Surf School (www.youtube.com/watch?v=XijKsWBYLP8). I think that my surfing defiantly improved from this, it helps to fine tune your surfing. I not only worked on my improving surfing, but I also concentrated on my diet and fitness. This was my favourite spot a right hand point break, Los Lobos.

Sometimes I could spend six or seven hours in the water with no break, just because the waves where so much fun. The last few days I was physically exhausted, the forecast was looking a little dull so I could not have timed it any better. Time to go Home to chilly Wales for a well earned rest and a cooked dinner.

(All pictures copyright - Stefan Fischer)

mundaka