Somo, the cradle of surfing in Spain

It is famous for having one of the best sunsets in Cantabria. Surfers from all over Spain and even from other parts of the world come here to look for waves to ride. It is located just 25 kilometers from Santander and Cabárceno Park and has privileged views of the bay of the Cantabrian capital. These are just some of the attractions that make Somo the most visited village in the town of Ribamontán al Mar and one of the most touristic in Cantabria.

Beaches, a popular promenade and a skatepark

With an area of just over 5,300 square kilometers, Somo keeps its greatest treasure in the sand of its beaches. The one located to the west and closest to Santander is the Puntal beach. Next to it stand the Puntal dunes and the Miera estuary, a protected area where the sandy formations merge with the mouth of the Miera River. This large sandy tongue that penetrates the bay is perhaps the most suitable for both family and walking.

somo puntal beach

Sunset on the Puntal beach. | Shutterstock

On the other hand, the beaches of Somo and Loredo, the latter located further east, are preferred by surfers. In both beaches the bottom is sandy and the sea is open, which facilitates sports maneuvers. Also, surfers are those who, in recent decades, have taken control of the lifestyle of the people. In Somo stores, bars and surf schools are everywhere, as if they were shells in the sand.

In this sense, two curious elements of the town are also noteworthy. One is the skatepark located on the promenade, a few meters from the sea and decorated with a multitude of graffiti. When dusk falls on summer days and darkness keeps the surfers away from the water or when winter arrives, athletes come to the park to continue surfing, in this case, the asphalt. In this skatepark, inaugurated in 2011, several championships have also been held that have made it a place of reference of the skateboarding scene in Spain.

Another characteristic element of Somo, also located on the promenade, is the Paseo de las Estrellas del Surf. There, as in the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a series of black tiles with red stars that are intended to serve as recognition for surfing figures both nationally and internationally.

Skatepark of Somo

Skatepark of Somo. | EG

Somo beyond surfing

Leaving aside beaches and surfing enclaves, Somo also has other elements to visit. First of all, its church stands out, built in the 80’s and with works of great interest in its interior. The famous Somo bridge, which connects this town with Pedreña, should not be overlooked either. The construction saves the 320 kilometers that for centuries separated both localities across the Cubas estuary. The bridge was inaugurated in 1978 and undoubtedly contributed significantly to the tourist development of the area.

People think that tourism arrived with surfing, but when I was a child this beach [Somo] was already mythical,’ said Sergio Maza, one of the town’s longtime residents, in an article in El Diario Montañés. Maza’s aunt, Almudena Esteban pointed out in the same article that ‘the area below that is now full of apartments was all beach and fields, there were only a couple of businesses, a beach bar and two houses of very wealthy families’.

The cradle of surfing since the 70s


Surfers on Somo beach with the bay of Santander in the background. | Shutterstock

However, when surfing arrived, it was here to stay. It all started in the 60’s with the then swimmer Jesús Fiochi, the first to bring a surfboard and catch a wave in Spain. He did it on the Santander beach of El Sardinero. The methods at the time were rudimentary: wooden boards, coffin makers who devised some ruse for their crazy friends, underwater fishing suits that became wetsuits with which to swim against the current… The fact is that more and more people wanted to join this new sport in which humans rode waves.

Shortly after Fiochi caught his first wave in 1963, three young men set up what would become the first Spanish surfboard manufacturing workshop: Casa Lola. They did it in Loredo. From that moment on, the workshop became the epicenter of the surfing community of the time. Thus, more and more people visited Somo with a board under their arms until 1970, when the first surfing championship in Spain took place on the beach of Somo. Since then, this town has remained one of the key places for this sport both in the Cantabrian Sea and in the rest of the country.

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