Portugal | Live like a local

SONY DSCThis must have been about my tenth trip to Portugal over the past few years.  However boring this might seem I have my reasons:

1. When compared to Morocco & France, its always worked out the cheapest. 

2. After testing out a few places within Portugal, Peniche has the bonus of always having a place to surf whatever the wind / swell direction. 

3. We stay on an Island which is super quiet and can walk to about five different waves in under five minutes. 

4. Even after all this time and after all the adverts in surf mags for the various surf schools out there, its still pretty quiet.  Just locals and fishermen.  The ‘tourists’ that are there, are surfers. 

5. Its warmer than England.  4.3mm weather October through to April. 

SONY DSC Where to stay – look up Baleal Rentals if you like the self catering situ.  Run by a lovely couple who will make you feel extremely welcome.  

Where to get sorted – head to 58 Surf for all your boards / wetsuit rentals / surf clothing / Nalu Beads / wax..  you name it, they have it!

Where to get a coffee – there are a few cafes around but I like the Praia do Baleal Cafe because you can get a good cup of coffee or a desperado, its cheap, it has free wifi and you can sit back and watch the surf and the sunset. 

photo 1-3 - Version 2Getting there – Fly Easy Jet, Luton to Lisbon, its about 2.5hrs.  Rent a car (Europcar are associated with Easy Jet).  Get a map and head North West on the A8 and then West on the IP6.  It takes about an hour (with a snack stop). 

Getting around – you have a car so its no problem.  You need a car ideally in case the breaks local to you are not working, Supertubos and Molhe Leste are a seven minute drive depending on who you’re stuck behind on the Baleal to Peniche single road.  You also need the car for the supermarket if you’re in self catered accommodation. 

What to take – Obvs your boards and wetsuits if you have them.  A key pod.  Its not a flashy place, leave anything valuable at home to prevent it vanishing.  Clothing wise, take a few warm layers for the colder days and evenings.  Take warm stuff to wear in your apartment after surfing.  Otherwise make sure you pack your bikini for those sun traps!



10155997_10153956938175344_1109528703_nThe past two weeks I’ve had the pleasure of riding these two lovely sticks.  Both 5’10’s but both very different.  I’ve ridden the Al Merrick ‘Pod’ for a while now and have become quite accustom to it.  The Billabong 5’10 is exactly the same as my other board at home which I couldn’t use to save my life when I last tried (the board was way too advanced for me).  However this trip I have spent most of my time on the latter and I actually prefer it?!  Its much quicker and easier to manoeuvre in the water. 

I’ve surprised myself this surf trip.  SONY DSCI’ve caught every wave I’ve paddled hard for (barring two yesterday due to noodle arms).  I usually paddle out, get nervous and stack on a few take offs.  The nerves are due to what people think, if you stack on your first wave, they write you off and you basically won’t get another wave very easily; especially being a girl, people just drop in on you.  I know its not fair but thats how it is, so your first wave really counts.  I’m not sure whats happened but I don’t feel the same after having Ethan.  I think its down to time, no time for all the bull.  With a limited amount of time to get waves I really have to focus and can’t get bogged down with nerves.  

SONY DSCI surprised myself again this trip (doing well aren’t I) when I could tell the difference between types of fins.  I’ve never been able to before (apart from on a wakeboard obvs). I’ve been using the standard fins that come with boards and also a set of FCS fins.  Well the standard fins make you feel like you’re riding along in slow motion, whereas the FCS fins are so much more responsive.  So I’m stoked to have reached a level in my surfing that I’d never thought I’d reach.  Yeah surfing! 🙂