Ponta Preta

Sal, Cabo Verde


Almost all the tourism is concentrated in the boom-town of Santa Maria on the island’s southern tip. In the middle of the 3km wide bay, a wide pier where the village fishermen land their daily catch strikes into the crystal-clear turquoise water. Rows of hotels and apartments line the beach, with hire centres nestled beneath them. Text-book conditions for slalom, speed and freestyle – but it’s not great for absolute beginners as there’s shorebreak if a swell’s running outside, and all the buildings mean the wind’s pretty gusty close inshore. While it’s always freeride inside the bay, 2m high waves break at either end. Ponta do Leme Velho to the east is good for wave newcomers with its modest conditions, while Ponta do Sino to the west is more demanding. Sideshore winds and a steep section over shallow reef mean it’s one of the island’s best jump-spots. While Sino is largely protected from North Atlantic groundswell, the west coast is perfectly placed to catch it. In huge NW swell, one of the world’s fastest and most beautiful waves runs in Ponta Preta. It’s experts-only as the wave breaks so close to the rocky shore that almost every wipe-out results in lost gear – the leeward launch alone is demanding enough with its pounding shorebreak. The wind doesn’t want too much east in it: regular NE is already cross-off! Surfers, windsurfers and kiters all share the wave, but twin-tips aren’t appropriate. If you don’t own a directional or want more manageable conditions, you’re better off giving Fragata a go on the other side of the island. Also known as 'Kite Beach’, the broad sands and cross-onshore wind make it perfectly safe. First there’s 300m of lagoon, then very manageable waves break over the offshore reef – excellent ramps for loops and loaded jumps. Only around low tide does it get a bit shallow in places, especially on the northern end of the bay. Fragata can also be easily reached via a communal 'aluguer’ pick-up, hence most riders restrict themselves to the southern spots. Yet the wave-rich west coast has a few more aces up its sleeve for anyone seeking adventure and happy to pay for their own 4x4. Ponta do Rife offers a great opportunity for frontside riding in big waves without risking everything like in Ponta Preta. The cross-off wind’s also a bit gusty though, and the reef’s a real mast-breaker at low tide. It’s much safer at Canoa in Baia da Murdeira where the waves don’t get quite as big. It blows almost cross-shore, equally good for waveriding and jumping. A small beach for launching and the beautiful view of Monte Leão are an added bonus. Beyond 'Sleeping Lion Mountain’ is Secret Spot, which still gets a bit of swell even when everywhere else on the west coast is flat. The point-break’s a pretty easy ride, it’s just the rocky launch that hurts. Next door, there is at least a bit of a rocky beach in Alibaba but nothing around it but sharp volcanic stone. It’s worth the sacrifice on a big swell as clean faces run from the north of the bay, 500m offshore. Both spots only work in N-NE wind, E is too offshore. It’s at least 40 minutes to Curral Joul, either cross-country over the mountains or back up the road via Palmeira and past the oasis of Fontona. Curral Joul is a real kamikaze wave, ramping up super-quick and breaking fat-lipped right in front of sharp rocks without anywhere to launch or land. It’s best to sail in on a downwinder from Fontona to Alibaba, but only if you’re truly ready to meet your maker. It’s a bit easier to get into the water at Fontona, although this wave won’t forgive any mistakes either. In big N-NW swell you might make a fast turn or two on mast-and-a-half-high faces, but then you’re on the rocks. Rife Parda is a bit more relaxed as, in strong trades, wind-waves break on the reef 400m offshore and run slowly into a sandy bay. It’s a remote location in a rugged landscape without any infrastructure. This part of the coast is very sharky in summer too.
Kite and Windsurfing Guide
Bei fettem NW-Swell läuft in Ponta Preta eine der schnellsten und schönsten Wellen der Welt.
In huge NW swell, one of the world's fastest and most beautiful waves runs in Ponta Preta.