Our first Portugal coaching holiday has just drawn to a close and the trip was an absolute blinder. Perfect weather and waves certainly helped! But the fact that everybody got on so well, had a great laugh and almost had as much fun out of the water as they did in the water certainly added to the overall enjoyment of the trip
Hans Nielson from Las Vegas summed it up well with this comment that he posted on our Trip Advisor page :
“If you are looking for World Class; beaches, waves, bodyboarding coaching with a group of like minded people searching for fun and surf adventure, then this is for you! Rob Barber and Sam Bishop take a personal interest in not only ensuring you go to the next level in bodyboarding but pushed me beyond what I thought I could achieve in a short space of time. The video analysis was invaluable as was the extra time they took every day to make you better”.
Beach Break Perfection
The beauty of the trip and something that surprised everybody was the amount of breaks that there are in the area. Also the relatively low crowds. Finally the number of bodyboarders was staggering. Easily 50/50 with the surfers in the water. Great to see. The swell was abundant and it was really surprising how low the winds were. A local friend and keen bodyboarder explained to us that the stretch from Ericeira to the south of Praia Grande tends to get low winds all year round. Bonus!
Each day during the trip we’d assess the conditions at first light and using our excellent local contacts and guide we’d make a judgment of whether to stay local or to hit the road and sample the coast to the north or south of our accommodation in Praia Das Macas. I won’t bore you with another Storm Rider Guide style description of the waves that blew our minds. These are just our thoughts…
Praia Grande #1
Praia Grande beach is home to the longest running bodyboarding competition (worldwide) and consistently serves up an awesome selection of bowly peaks. We found that at low tide the waves were sucky and hollow and on the day that we scored it in the 5 foot region it had the power to blow your fins off on any mistimed duck dives. In contrast, on the last morning of the trip we scored the beach at a playful 1 – 2 foot and enjoyed some super fun bowling peaks. With a series of café’s on the beachfront to sit and people watch between sessions this spot had it all.
Bodyboarders of all ages come and go through out the day and it has a real bodyboard-centric feel to the beach. Sam Bishop and I had lunch at the hotel that overlooks the beach and enjoyed the best lunch of the trip while watching the waves wash over the swimming pool wall to the screams of the euro holiday makers. On busy days it is super hard to get parked down there so get in early or walk to the beach. We surfed the peak in front of the main steps that run down to the beach and enjoyed left hand wedges at low tide and then moved to the north end of the beach and enjoyed right hand wedges at high tide.
I have visited this beach many years prior and coached Claire McGowan to within a whisker of winning the World Surfing Games here so had a good idea of what to expect. We headed to Guincho when the swell was a little too big at the beaches near to our ‘Boogie House’ in Praia Das Macas. The beach has a left wedge at the south end of the beach and bowly lefts and rights along the stretch of beach for about a mile. We walked almost to the far end and picked a running walled up right-hander to practice spins and rolls on. As the tide moved a left hand bank started working and Chris Clayton Moss from Bournemouth caught the wave of the trip, fanged a nice bottom turn and launched a mahoosive air roll! The beach has a really chilled scene and is a great place to hang out for the day.
I have stayed at Carcavelos before and coached Danny Wall and Joe Franklin during the World Surfing Games here. I have free surfed here for a video section for the film Keg Farmers so I was glad to be back on the fast running barreling peaks. It’s not often that you are surfing under the shadow of a castle but at this spot this is the case. The waves refract off the foot of the cliff where the castle overlooks the beach, these refractions create fun wedge peaks. We headed to Carcavelos when a new swell hit and although the waves were only small they were super fun. We ate lunch at the Windsurfer café on the beach, which I can highly recommend. Carcavelos is only a stones throw from Lisbon’s schools so we tried to surf during school time as the crowds get thicker when school kicks out. The drive down the coast to Carcavelos gives you an idea of how blessed the coastline is. Every few minutes somebody would point out another set up, point break or beachie that was pumping with hardly anyone out.
Praia Das Macas #4
You can actually see the waves at this spot from the window and roof terrace of our ‘Boogie House’ and it really looked after us through out our trip. Everyday had really good quality, ride able waves. The fact that there is a channel to the right hand side of the beach meant that most paddle outs were duck dive free. During mid to high tide we enjoyed the peak in the middle of the beach and the one in the southern corner of the bay. At low tide the waves get really hollow and sucky and there were some really sick barrels to be had. The bay seemed to be really un affected by the light winds that we had all week and it was clean during everyone of the 7 days. The water was crystal clear all week and we had everything from rampy waves for busting rolls to mellow walls for working on cutbacks and spins.
Portugal remains cheap in comparison to the rest of Europe, there are great flight links to Lisbon and it is one of the few strong holds of world bodyboarding, there are boogers everywhere. Our Boogie house went down a storm with the crew, it’s literally a stones throw from the beach. In a week we just scratched the surface of the places potential and have returned surf weary after so many hours in the water. I give this place full marks, you need to check these 4 breaks out, get them on your Bucket List!
Duration: May 8th – May 15th 2015
Duration: September 2nd – September 16th 2015 (One or two weeks)
Cost From: £579
Duration: October 24th – October 31st 2015
Cost From: £579