About the notes & the locals
As travellers ourselves we love to know more about the places we visit. How the waves usually are, their consistence, the weather, but also about the people, culture and local habits.
This is the first of a regular real life articles about waves, surfing and daily life. We choose to start in April because that was when we re-open our doors after the low season and because the writing is still fresh.
It won’t be a surf guide, but some kind of surfing notes based on a true story. Just like in the movies…
There’s an old traditional Portuguese saying that goes like “Abril águas mil” and it refers to the fact that April is known for being a rainy month, with average temperatures, typical from Spring time. Not sure if it’s because of the climate changes, El Niño or whatsoever, but the fact is that April was very friendly in terms of weather conditions: nice warm temperatures that, at least for 2 weeks, made us believe that Summer was here – 24-30º C sunny beach days.
The water starting to get warmer on early April allowing the 4/3 mm wetsuits to get out from the closet.
Early April days had some light breeze, average waves and surfing were pretty much everywhere. Some nice sessions happened in Maceda beach (Esmoriz area)- small lefthanders with some nice power. Some surfing lessons happened here, but also in Esmoriz and Espinho main spots.
Bigger conditions came and Espinho present at its best: pumping right-handers with a hollow first section followed by other fun sections that made surfers happy. Wave’s size went from 1 to 2 meters plus, and conditions were that good for a total of 1 1/2 week in April, with some smaller days in between.
On Easter week some really warm days came up and the beach was the best place to be in between surf sessions like it usually is. These days surfing was happening everywhere- Espinho and Esmoriz area and there were more people in the water than usual. Not like it was packed, but we just wasn’t surfing by ourselves. At least not every day… Summer shorts and bikinis were in the sun and people started to work on their tan lines.
We know that every year we get 3 or 4 days without waves, especially in Summer. But not usually in Spring. So it was really weird when the ocean became flat for about a week, and small and windy on the days after.
And this is the proof that mother nature in general, and season’s surfing forecast are not, and never will be, an exact science! But it’s also a reminder that in real life Surfing does not happen every day, at least in top quality waves, and when the good waves come you just have to take the most out of it and don’t save it for the following days, as that might not happen at all…
In those days, working out is always an alternative that pays of. We went for our functional training for surfers and our friends discovered, some days later, that it actually works!
There were some really nice after-surfing sessions in Esmoriz, Espinho, but also in Porto. From the relaxing seafood snacks through the late afternoon, to the fresh fish in Espinho and the pernil sandwich at the Casa Guedes in Porto, we had some really nice moments with our friends/guests. Porto nightlife was tested and the result was pure fun and laughing in some of the coolest bars in the city. Especially when we knew that in the next day surfing would happen in the afternoon only!
May began with some a couple of epic surf sessions is Espinho and a bunch of surf spots around. Clean conditions and waves from 1 to 2 meters high were there and the crowd… well, there wasn’t! These and the following days our surfers had surfing till the bones. It was pretty much surf, eat, fun, relax… and back to the water again. And the warm and sunny weather were here for everyone. Could it be nicer?!
In terms of surfing, May was better than April but, the truth is that it was not perfect, not even possible, every day. But then how many places there are where you can have decent waves, or even just surfable, every single day? Well, here it’s basically the same. Fortunately, it’s also true that April and May had amazing surfing days, from 0,5 meter to 2,5 meters sizes, offshore wind or no wind at all. No, it did not happen every day, but it sure wasn’t for one or two days… That we can assure you!
We like to think that, besides surfing, of course, people are what define a place and the memory that each one of us keeps from those moments. Some after surfing plans went through and Porto by the river (Ribeira) at the sunset, some live music and some really nice street theatre event – Imaginarius at Santa Maria da Feira, a city nearby, made us and our guests happy.
Today at the beach we were kind of double thinking about to surf or not. Conditions were not perfect but ok, and the forecast looked better for the upcoming days. June is almost here with the promise of good waves, weather and fun. But, on the other hand, maybe the best is to surf today no matter what. And we did! After all, life is better when you surf, right?!