Surfing with the land mines in the Falkland Islands

April 24, 2012 | Surfing
Falklands/Malvinas: one wave, thousands of land mines

One archipelago, two names. The Falklands Islands or Islas Malvinas have been in the hearts and minds of two distant nations: United Kingdom and Argentina.

Located in the South Atlantic Ocean, just 460 kilometers (290 miles) from the tip of the South American lands, the Falklands/Malvinas are one of the most controversial territories in the world.

Portuguese, Spanish and British explorers have been claiming the "discovery" of the islands, since the 16th century. In 1982, Argentina invaded Falklands/Malvinas, which were under the British flag and government.

The Argentine troops were defeated, but the Latin country never gave up of the territory with only 3100 citizens. Recently, Argentine President Cristina Kirchner threatened to reconquer Falklands/Malvinas, just 30 years after the first failed invasion.

Tourism, fishing and sheep farming guarantee relevant income and self sufficiency to the territory. In 2016, offshore oil drilling will raise funds to the islands and only a war could stop Falklands/Malvinas from a bright future.

And, what about surfing in Falklands/Malvinas? Is it possible? Are there favorable swells hitting the South Atlantic? Yes, surfing is a reality.

Bertha's Beach, located on the East side of the islands, and Surf Bay, near Stanley on the NE corner of the Falklands/Malvinas, will offer great waves in desert sandy strips. The downsides are the minefields that may force you to hit the peak by boat. Terrible, isn't it?

Air and water temperatures are usually very low in the Falklands/Malvinas, so you should be using a 5mm wetsuit, with a good rash guard, gloves and booties.

Surfing the Falklands/Malvinas is an adventure into the unknown, in a land where approximately 20,000 land mines were left in 120 mine fields, when the war between Argentina and UK broke in 1982.

Watch the trailer for the surf documentary "The Falkland Frontier".

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