‘Lanzarote is one of my favourite places in the world’
French-Brazilian professional surfer, Éric Rebière, won his first European title in Famara and is now concentrating solely on the giant waves in Nazaré
Éric Rebière is still in love with Lanzarote, ‘I lived in Muñique before, and now I’m looking to buy something else. I have three children and would like them to experience and enjoy the island like I have… calm, relaxed, and in touch with nature. It’s one of my favourite places in the world.
‘In fact.’ he continues, ‘I won my first European title in Famara’s Playa San Juan when they used to hold international championships there, and I also spent many years surfing in El Quemao. It holds a special place in my heart. Now that I tend to spend more time out of the water, I visit Lanzarote from time to time so I can enjoy the outdoors, the barbecues… hang out with other veteran surfer friends who also have children (laughs).’
Rebière knows Lanzarote’s waves well. ‘There are two places on the island with significant waves. At Famara, opposite Las Bajas, you can get big waves up to ten metres high. They’re potentially dangerous but noble – a perfect, international quality wave. Also, near the village of San Juan, you can catch smaller stone waves just two or two and a half metres high but stable and allow for elite surfing manoeuvres.
‘I trained for many years at El Quemao and it holds a special place in my heart’
‘Then there’s El Quemao in La Santa, where the waves are much more demanding, dangerous even and not so good when more than three metres. They’re the type of wave that sucks you in and is only suitable for advanced surfers. There’s the added danger of a lava breakwater nearby, so definitely not for beginners; waves can kill you here.
Rebière says, ‘With the difficulty of juggling elite surfing and kids, now I only compete in big waves in Nazaré (Portugal). Just training takes up too much time. The waves at Nazaré are next level, requiring a surfer’s doctorate! Quite an adrenaline rush. You need to approach them with a lot of respect and a healthy dose of fear because it’s fear that helps keep you tense and alert so you avoid fatal mistakes. The giant waves are more like snowboarding on a mountain of water than surfing.’
Reflecting on the future of surfers from Lanzarote, Rebière points out, ‘A lot of Canarian surfers will end up in Nazaré. Also, there is some very young talent with the potential to be world-class surfers in a couple of years. They have great futures ahead of them. It’s a pity the World Championships aren’t held in Lanzarote anymore.