Lanzarote, on the crest of world surfing: Franito Sáenz and Manu Lezcano talk about their work to bring the sport to locals and to visitors to the island
Although no one knows for sure when and where surfing began, it is recorded that when James Cook landed in the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) in 1778, he observed that the natives were obsessed with the practice of the sport, this being one of the first written references to surfing. Since that time, the sport has spread around the world and has thousands of practitioners of all levels and ages.
The Canary Islands are considered to be Europe’s Hawaii due to the quality, constancy and regularity of the waves, and Lanzarote in particular has become a real paradise for lovers of waves.
Riders from all over the world come to the island to enjoy the sport in the island’s clean and crystalline waters. We talked to Franito Sáenz and Manu Lezcano, both surfers from Lanzarote, who are currently dedicated to teaching the discipline to locals and non-islanders who want to learn or improve their technique. The great variety of waves that Lanzarote offers means they can work with both amateur and professional surfers.
The name Franito Sáenz has become a benchmark in Lanzarote surfing. In his early years as a professional he attended various international competitions, achieving good results and for 20 years he has been running a surf school with the aim of helping young surfers to achieve their dreams.
The island meets all the requirements for the youngest surfers to learn, with great spots all over the island”.
But he isn‘t only talking about the local youth: “there are many young people who come from different parts of Europe with their parents to surf on the island for long periods of time”.
Saenz also highlights the presence of professional surfers who in recent years have come to the island to enjoy the discipline – athletes with a huge influence on social networks that help promote Lanzarote as an ideal destination for surfing.
Manu Lezcano, is recognized in international surfing for his great performances on waves all around the world. His love of free surfing and giant waves has written his name in the history of surfing on the island.
Together with José María Cabrera, Manu manages JMC Surftraining, dedicated to the teaching and improvement of surfing. Manu highlights the trust placed in his work by the locals after the lockdown caused by the pandemic.
We really wanted to teach surfing to people from the island and to give them the same feeling we have on the waves”.
Lezcano emphasizes that Famara is the ideal place to learn how to surf and that’s where he chooses to teach his courses for beginners. But he clarifies that JMC is also dedicated to planning the seasons for professional surfers, helping them to achieve their sporting goals.
Events like the Quemao Class have also helped to make the island internationally known in the world of surfing and every year the event is followed by thousands of surfing fans, who want to watch the great surfing spectacle that takes place in the village of La Santa, during the days of the event.