During five days Espinho delivered top surfing and surfers like Frederico Morais, Tiago Pires, Vasco Ribeiro, Francisco Alves, together with the best local surfers, posted amazing performances and showed what Espinho is really about.
Since Christmas time, weather and surfing conditions were poor, meaning that south winds, rain and messy conditions were around. Occasional surfing happened, but mainly to keep the salt level on our bodies. Like many of the surfers around this coast, for days we kept our eyes on the forecast, hoping to see wind and swell icons become green and change direction. Those couple of weeks felt like years and the only thing to do was to stay fit ( an article about surfing fitness is currently being cooked) and make sure that when the right conditions appear, we are ready. Then, this just happened:
Saturday, January the 20th
After a promising Friday, Saturday’s early light brought finally some sun, offshore freezing wind and 1.5 meters waves. Espinho’s main spots were offering 2018’s first gifts. The sandbars were properly settled and long right-handers made surfers go nuts. Depending on the spot chosen, there were fast close-outs, impossible rides and crazy crashes, but also some nice and deep tubes, big turns and water being released. Locals took the lead of the scene and not even the cold water and cold air scared anyone- the line up was busy as it was predicted, especially being a weekend and after a long period without surfing. By the end of the day, it was all about painful arms, rusty legs and huge smiles.
Sunday, 21st January
Sure that the crowd showed up, but conditions were there. The swell dropped a bit but perfection was basically the same and some head-height waves provided fun rides to everybody, or at least to a few of the most active surfers on the crowded lineup. Not even Sunday’s family plans changed that! Patience was definitely the best game to make the day worth it. And it did!
Monday, 22nd January
The forecast still looked amazing and a building swell was on the way. Surfing was nice during the morning and crowd was back to normal standards. Wave after wave, the Casino’s right-handers offered several opportunities to surfers boost their skills, now that their bodies were more adapted to the effort. Fun rides and, later on, occasional barrels made the day! Surfing level was getting higher and made us think that some elite surfers were present.
Tuesday, 23rd January ( photos by Miguel Melo)
First look from the room felt like a Peniche, Kirra or Biarritz postcard. But it was happening here, in Espinho. Opened the window and the sound of the waves felt like a plane passing our front door. From the balcony, we saw perfect 2-2,5 meters waves breaking. Movie kind of scene.
Portuguese surfing heroes, former WCT athlete Tiago “Saca” Pires and WQS athlete Vasco Ribeiro, escorted by local surfers aAntónio Rodrigues, Salvador Couto and Elohe Alvarez, were in the lineup and surfing like gods. Huge drops, hollow sections, deep barrels and huge carves. The full package! Saca took some bombs and showed all his experience when riding Casino’s long barrels, finishing with his signature hacks. Vasco Ribeiro put down all his rail game and confirmed that he’s decided to qualify for the WCT next season. He came out the barrels clean and ready to apply his powerful hacks. Local crew didn’t blink when it was time to pull in the barrel and divided the show with the big boys.
When the sunset hits Espinho’s bay the lineup starts to empty. Time to walk home and get warm. Just a quick look back to capture the scene. A mental reminder of what this day was. For sure it will last.
Dinner was the time to share the daily stories, photos, and a bunch of more wow’s! Tasty food on a typical local restaurant was an excellent way to finish the day.
The morning arrived with the swell dropping, but still with clean and good-looking conditions. Unfortunately, the south wind was expected to blow from lunchtime and conditions were expected to decline during the day.
From our house, we realized this unique carving style that could only belong to Portugal’s favourite son- WCT surfer Frederico Morais. He was throwing buckets everywhere, sneaking through some barrels and launching crazy airs! Last year’s WCT 14th ranked surfer performance was simply sick to watch! Local surfers, Salvador Couto included, also caught some nice rides and together they offered an amazing morning show.
Around lunch, the predictions came true and the south breeze slowly started to make conditions worst. The journey was over.
Some rain came later and the next day. No surfing. It’s time to digest this five-day journey of great surfing and excellent conditions that gathered some of Portugal’s best surfers. But there’s no need to be nostalgic about it. The forecast it’s showing some nice colours for the upcoming days, maybe not the same type of swell, but surfing will be on.
Watermark Surf House