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João Veiga has to be one of the most passionate bodyboarders on this planet. He literally eats, sleeps and breaths the boog’. When he’s not catching waves for his own pure joy, you’ll catch him training the local groms of Porto at Linha de Onda. He is also one of the coaches here at Bodyboard Holidays and we thought we would catch up with him to see what keeps that fire burning inside.
BBH: João, or as everyone knows you Jimmy, hope all is well with you and your family in Portugal. It has been a crazy couple of years with the pandemic. How are things in Portugal now things seem to be settling down?
JV: Things are going great here. Most people are going back to their daily routines, and enjoy it day by day. Portugal is a wonderful country to explore, and eventually with the pandemic, some people (locals and foreigners) have realized that.
BBH: That’s good to hear. It really was a strange time. Did you have plenty of opportunity to surf during the lockdowns?
JV: I can say I over surfed during the lockdowns, except for when it was totally forbidden and we were kind of chased by the authorities. Fortunately, the conditions were really good during those periods.
BBH: Let’s take it back to the beginning. What got you into bodyboarding, what was your first board and what keeps the stoke levels so high after so many years?
JV: I just know that since I was about 10years old, I was absolutely fascinated by the waves. I could see them live at the beach or even in videos and magazines. After that, watching guys like Mike Stewart ripping on a boogie just made me want to do it. After a long struggle with my parents who were very afraid of my sea passion, I started at 12, in 1995 and from then, I have never stopped. My first board was a Morey Boogie Mach 7-42 black and white. Unfortunately, one day it was stolen from my garden. By the way, if anyone reading this has any kind of valuable information regarding the whereabouts I’m all ears, hahah! For me the stoke levels are easy to maintain when you catch good waves and keep in shape to ride them. Also, there’s never an equal wave, and even the best rider in the world, has always something to improve and learn with other riders. At this age I still feel that I can evolve in the sport.
BBH: It’s not always easy turning your passion in to your job. At what point did you realise you wanted to coach bodyboarding and how did you get there? You trained as lawyer originally right?
JV: It’s a funny story. I actually coached surfing for 5-6years while I was studying law. Surfing business in Portugal wasn’t that strong at that time, so I didn’t even consider that as a way of living. After some years I felt I needed to change my life because I simply wasn’t happy with my job, and decided to study Naturopathy, leaving a place with very good waves. One month later Matt Davies asked me if I wanted to work with Bodyboard Holidays, and I didn’t hesitate. I accepted his invitation and took it as a gift from the universe. Then the pandemic came and I lost a local accomodation job I had, so I was free and searching for another option, and one day chatting with Tiago Fazendeiro in the lineup. He just asked if I wanted to work with him at Linha de Onda surf school… YES again ahah!
BBH: As we said, you must be one of the biggest frothers on the planet! You do a lot of work training the future generations. What kind of level are you teaching these kids at and what made you want to coach them?
JV: I’m teaching all kinds of levels, from absolute beginners, up to competition. I love coaching all ages, but the groms have a special feeling. This is because through them I simply can live again those wonderful teen moments I had with my friends. Also it’s really important that you can transmit good values to them.
BBH: You’re not only popular with the groms. Everybody on our Bodyboard Holidays trips love you too. Where does your passion for coaching come from?
JV: I’m sharing my love for the sport to wonderful people, in amazing places. Being able to share this kind of happiness is really something unique.
BBH: You are very passionate about Portugal and you have plenty of reasons to be. How would you describe it as a destination for those who are yet to travel there? What would you say is essential for them to see and to do?
JV: Portugal is a great destination for bodyboarding and other things too. It’s very consistent and has surf all year round, for all kinds of levels. It has waves of all kinds, wedges, slabs, barrels, small or big. Also, it’s a very small but diverse country, we have 940kms of coast, accessible with highways, and easy to know. Food is very good and people are welcoming. The offering is so big I think you have to set a list of priorities, because eventually you won’t have time for everything. For me it would be renting a car, and visit Viana do Castelo, Porto, Nazare, Peniche, Lisbon area and finish with Sagres. Portugal is an old country full of history, so try to mix with the locals and get to know the depths of each region. Last but not the least, don’t forget to taste the local foods. There’s no denying it’s up there with one of our favourite places, and if you are reading this and never been we recommend you do!
BBH: Where are your favourite waves, both in Portugal and around the world?
JV: Portugal has a large variety of waves for all tastes and levels. My favourite ones are Beliche, Zavial, Cova do Vapor, Supertubos and Nazaré. Around the world…I haven’t travelled that much, but from what I know, Honey Smacks in Southern Sumatra is a must do. There are so many waves I’d love to go to, like Watukarung, Skeleton Bay, Desert Point, North Point or Mandurah. Lately I’ve been wondering a lot about Nicaragua for example. I believe there are a lot of world class, secret or less known spots around this globe that are yet to be found.
BBH: Other than bodyboarding, what are your other interests and what do you do to unwind?
JV: I love to be surrounded by nature and its elements, you know like the beach, mountains, rivers, forest, etc. I like to spend quality time with family and friends and listening to music and working out.
BBH: Yeh we’re told you’re the man to go and see should you have any ailments. You know a lot about healthy living and natural therapies. Rob tells us of the time you helped him and his bad back out in Indo. What is it you do exactly to heal people?
JV: I practise Naturopathy. This means I (we) believe that most cases, under the right circumstances the body can heal itself. This is a holistic approach to health, so the therapies can go from nutrition, to homeopathy, aromatherapy, chinese medicine and so on. The general idea is to fight inflammation and give this amazing machine that is our body the opportunity to work efficiently.
BBH: What do you do out of the water to help with your bodyboarding? Do you have a fitness routine or is the amount of time you spend surfing enough?
JV: Depending on the amount of hours I spend in the water, I try to workout at least 3-5 days a week. A lot of strength training and cardio is involved, but also I try to stretch 20-30mins daily. I also like to vary my workouts, so my body gets more capable widely. Nowadays I’m into calisthenics mainly. I think that if you spend a lot of time doing one sport, you should try to compensate the imbalances created by it.
BBH: Well, it’s been great to catch up Jimmy. We look forward to doing so in person soon. Is there anything you would like to add? Any shoutouts or last words you’d like to say?
JV: Cheers, it’s always a pleasure catching up with you. I just want to thank everyone who’s crossed paths with me in bodyboarding, and I hope we can all enjoy as much beautiful moments in the water as possible. Also I’d like to thank my sponsors Severn Brand and Suntribe Sunscreen. Also thank you to Bodyboard Holidays. The trips are a unique experience, so make sure you book yours, before the world ends up in lockdown again ahaha!
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