Gran Canaria SUP Challenge, Interview with Bjorn Dunkerbeck

Bjorn Dunkerbeck Gran Canaria Red Bull
Global Partner

The 4th and Final Stop on the 2019 APP World Tour opens 11th December in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to complete a year-long run for a new SUP Surfing World Championship. 

In this interview, Bjorn Dunkerbeck give insight into the APP World Tour’s Gran Canaria ProAm SUP Challenge.

Gran canaria event poster
The APP World Tour Gran Canaria ProAm runs from 10 – 18th December to culminate the 2019 World Title Championship


Bjorn Dunkerbeck on APP World Tour’s Gran Canaria ProAM

Bjorn, tell us how this competition arrived here in Gran Canaria?

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is the capital of the Canary Islands. The whole world of windsurf comes every year to the spot of Pozo Izquierdo on the East coast. One day, I found myself asking how can we  could organize something new with watersports in the main hub of Las Palmas? As a stand up paddler since the sport arrived in the Canaries over 10 years ago, I thought it was the perfect solution to bring people to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to enjoy the local waves and run an amazing contest.

This city has so much to offer. We have an incredible diversity of good waves, great climate with 20-25°C every day, a 7km beach front avenue and over 400 000 people who live here. It’s been really great to connect with APP World Tour and have the best SUP surfers in the world come to Gran Canaria to battle for the World Title. I really hope these top level SUP athletes will enjoy the waves and the hospitality of the people in Las Palmas. The island is very close to Europe with only 3 to 5 hour flights.

Bjorn Dunkerbeck SUP Surf
Bjorn Dunkerbeck is a professional windsurfer who has won the Windsurfers Association Overall World Championships 41 times. He now is a passionate paddle surfer as well.


The City of Las Palmas to hold a World Title Competition?

This is the second year of the Gran Canaria ProAm in Las Palmas. Last year, the event was blessed with powerful wave conditions at El Loret for the final day. It has been said it was probably one the best days of competition in the APP World Tour’s history. How will you deal this year with such large expectations?

We get swells from the same kind of low pressure systems in the Atlantic as Spain or Portugal. So in the winter. there is a good chance to get premiere winter swells often here in Gran Canaria. The forecast looks promising for Friday, Saturday & Sunday during the competition with a long period swell of 18-19 seconds and light East to Southeast offshore winds. It looks good to get conditions as pristine as we did last year! Maybe better with bigger waves… who knows?

las palmas de gran canaria
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands captures the winter swells along the coast of this capital city. Photo: Laurent Nevarez

Will you work within the same logistics as last year holding two different surf breaks within the APP’s competition’s offering?

Yes, we have our main site in front of Playa Cicer. If the conditions are good, we can go to El Lloret, the right hand break like we did last year.  El Loret is 300m further south on the other side of the big jetty. This year, the APP and I also designed a new mobile judging tower and live stream broadcast system which are locatedoin a double-decker bus in order to move between locations more easily.

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
The APP World Tour returns for its second season finale to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to crown a world champion. Photo: Laurent Nevarez

Gran Canaria SUP Challenge to include SUP Racing, December 14th

Besides a SUP surfing event, the Gran Canaria ProAm has also a Race competition. Could you tell us more about this other event which is very important for you ?

The vision of our Gran Canaria SUP Challenge is always the same: motivate a lot of people to get involved and come racing in the water to have fun. It’s the 5th edition of this racing event in Gran Canaria, but after several years in the south of the island, the competition this year will be organized in Las Palmas, at Playa Las Canteras. The SUP race will be held in the same bay as the SUP surfing world title competition, but few kilometers further east. This area is sheltered from the waves by the outside reefs. There will be the short races on Saturday and a long distance course on Sunday including kids divisions, amateur racing and an open category.

A new aspect to the event this year is the inclusion of the Inflatable SUP World Games. We really want to promote the accessibility of inflatable stand up paddleboards as easy to travel with and brands that have a great commitment to improvement in quality every year.  For the racing divisions, there will be ranking for composite boards of course and new divisions for inflatable SUPs. We want this category to grow in the next few years because other races this year in Paris, New York and London consisted of 60- 80 % of participants registered raced on inflatable boards. I really want to promote Gran Canaria to be an Inflatable SUP destination as well. If you like to paddle, you can come here with your inflatable stand up paddle board to visit, tour around the island and also race against some pro riders in a ProAm event like this. It’s not a bad week !

Photo Credits: Laurent Nevarez

Thank you, Bjorn!  We look forward to hearing more from you and seeing this week unfold from the APP World Tour in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria!


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Evelyn O'Doherty, editor & publisher of the new Standup Journal 2.0 is a former school teacher gone rogue. She left her career as a teacher in order to spend more time near or on the water after learning to surf turned her life around (upsidedown?). She is a year-round surfer and paddler living on the eastern tip of Long Island in NY who is a certified SUP instructor, seasoned SUP racer and avid longboard surfer. Evelyn was hired as Online Editor to Standup Journal in 2016. Her passion for the project quickly led to her success and eventually taking over the mag herself in Oct. 2018. Today, as editor, publisher and chief bottle washer at Standup Journal, Evelyn keeps her toes wet writing, traveling, paddling, surfing, and learning to foil. You can find her most days paddling out on Gardiner's Bay or surfing Ditch Plains in Montauk, NY.