In 2001, the World Big Wave Championships were held in Madeira.
Surfing first started in the Portuguese island of Madeira in the 1970s off the villages of Paul do Mar, Jardim do Mar and Punta Pequena. Almost every surfspot is rocky and powerful. No waves seem to break under six feet in the winter months. Madeira did not really come to the attention of foreign surfers until articles in surfing magazines in the mid-1990s. Since 1996, top Portuguese surfers from the mainland compete in the Madeira regional edition of the ‘Billabong’ Challenge.