Surfing Algarve Reviews
Surf Breaks in Algarve Apr 14, 2008
To anyone looking to go for a little surf trip around Algarve in Portugal here are a couple of beaches and places you should definitely stop by and a couple more you should seek to avoid at all costs :
1) Arrifana : Is picturesque, very close to a town called Al-Jezur and offers some of the best surf in the region provided the conditions are right. It takes some serious swell to get going (6ft+ minimum) and works best when the wind is blowing northwesterly (as it is shielded by the bay) Offshores here are practically inexistent. Offers a brilliant beach break but experienced surfers come for the point break on the right hand side which throws off some of the best waves in portugal. Hard take-off at times, but definitely worth the effort. Will get pretty crowded any time good waves come in so come early! Will also draw world class surfers anytime the serious stuff comes in.
2) Amoreira : A bit of a Jekyll & Hyde kind of beach. Will change drastically over a couple of hours, because of the strong currents and shifting sandbanks. Again, the right hand point break can throw off perfect waves one after another but stops working once it gets too big (turns into massive closeout sets). Beware of the tricky rip, and beware of the crowds if you decide to come in high season. The beach is probably the best in the region, and waves can jack up really fast and give you a tremendous ride. Plenty of brilliant surfers hang out here, saw Beau Young there in 2007, amazing to watch.
3) Praia do Canal : A hidden jewel in the area.It´s quite difficult to find and you would have to probably ask locals in order to do so. Will be completely deserted even in high summer and offers every kind of break you can think of. Several beach breaks, and a good quality right/left reef break that works really well even in rather large swell. It typically works best on the push of the tide, with either offshore or north easterly winds. If conditions get extreme (15 ft plus), there can even be standing barrels breaking over 200m but this takes a serious paddle out (almost a km) to the point which looks a little bit like a rhino horn out in the water.(see pictures)Have not seen it work properly myself, but have seen pictures that looked mind blowing.
4) Carrapateira : Hit this beach at your own risk. Crowded by local surf schools who often do not wish to be disturbed and others who consider it their own. That being said, it can throw off some quality waves and plenty of fun little spots will appear left and right.Well worth the time if you catch it on a good day and you go without too many people. Best surfed alone and with patience.
Places to avoid : If you´re off to Algarve for a surfing holiday, I would strongly advise you to stay away from Faro & Lagos. Although they are by far the places where accomodation will be easiest to find, they will be crowded with just the kind of tourists you do not want to meet, unless youre in it just to drink yourself stupid on a daily basis. I worked at a camp near the beautiful town of Al-Jezur which I can only recommend to everyone, partly due to its proximity to all the breaks mentioned above. I´ve tried almost everything in the region and definitely would recommend these breaks.
Be aware that surf here can be perfect but tends to be rather inconsistent. A one week break is too short unless you time it perfectly, but at any rate check the swell charts before heading down. I´m sure i don´t need to mention where but i´ll do so anyway.
and finally the surf camp I worked at : loved it because the people were downright amazing, and the experience fully submerged you in nature (in the middle of a national park)
Also, food and drinks are extremely cheap in portugal, but equipment is about the same as anywhere else in Europe, although you´ll probably get a little less choice than elsewhere. "Lufi" makes some of the best boards in portugal, be sure to check out the shop if you get a chance!
Hope you find this review useful, if you decide to go down one day. I can only say it was the best job I´ve ever had, and can strongly recommend the region, especially to less experienced surfers.
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