Greetings Sea Lovers!!! Happy New Year!!! We greet you in 2019 with a recap of what was one our most favorite CSC trips to date: Portugal. We had been wanting to do a European safari for a minute, and when we noticed that Surfline had a 94% chance of good conditions for Portugal in December, that seemed like a logical choice. We messaged a few connections about good places to base ourselves out of. CSC members needed flexibility coming and going at different stages of our stay there, so we choose a little town just across the river from Lisbon — a 20 minute drive to the airport — called Caparica.
Portugal is such an amazing destination for the New York surfer. The flight is only 5-6 hours, and the time difference isn’t too hard to adjust to. Lisbon is a gorgeous city, and there is literally more surf than you can imagine. Local surfers tend to, well, stay in their local spots, so if you’re willing to drive a little you will be able to get tons of fun waves all over the coast. Etiquette is highly observed in the lineups of Portugal. There are a ton of surf schools and huge emphasis placed on education by the entire surf community. Most hot grommets are coached — we saw lots of clipboards and videos. This was good for us because people understood what we were doing and respected us for obeying their lineup rules, which were immediately evident each spot we went to — pecking orders were for the most part based upon priority and ability level — people of similar ability levels took turns catching waves. The actual swell was quite large the entire 10 days of our stay but there were so many nooks and crannies that it was relatively easy to find something protected enough for the beginning surfer. You’ll notice that the last day of the video features 10 foot storm surf out the back, while CSC members and instructors were surfing the inside with the rest of the beginning and grommet population!
The whole crew gelled really well together and everyone was hyped. There were a variety of ability levels from complete beginner to advanced. Everyone managed to progress in some way or another. For example, Christina did her first cutback, Bridget caught her longest wave, and Stephen was starting to look down the line more than ever. We also had our first student-student high five by Zac and Stephen on a fine evening session in Caparica. To give you an idea from a student’s perspective, here are some great words from Anya, Bridget, and Christina:
Anya: “For me, one of the most informative parts of the Portugal trip was really considering the hunt. Especially to be with you guys in a new land that wasn’t NY or Costa Rica or some place you’ve been before. Experiencing the forecasting and the deliberation and the behind the scenes research. And then going out there and seeing it all come to fruition, including all the stops and starts in between. The subtle lesson I learned is that with knowledge and determination we don’t have to worry about not finding waves--we all carry a wave pool that’s at the ready inside of us, all we have to do is look!”
Bridget: “So many laughs, such a beautiful place. It seems like all of Lisbon surfs; young, old, women, men, skinny, fat, and yet it never felt crowded or unfriendly. We had wonderful inexpensive meals, and my surfing definitely progressed! It was one of those trips where everyday we asked ourselves, how can I live here?”
Christina: “I’m so happy that I was able to make it on the trip. It was nice to do my thing and then regroup, learn, and hangout with the group. As you know, it’s a treat for me to be able to get surf coaching and it was such precious experience for me. So thanks so much — it made my trip and experience there more special.”
We have posted the super cut of our trip above. It’s a long one at 30 minutes, so definitely make sure that you have time to settle down and relax. The video is done chronologically from Day 1 to Day 10 and gives you a real sense of what we get up to on a CSC pop up retreat. There are beach breaks, points, and a super fun day watching gigantic Nazaré. The largest waves ridden there are by a young man of 16 years old — Tony Laureano — he was the only one to paddle in — and a woman, Maya Gabiera — she is on the pink board with the red rash vest. The most fun surf we had was at the local beach breaks of Caparica — the sand bars were tremendously good. We always eat well on these things. We mixed dinner of charcuterie, cheese, salad, and wine at home with a few nights sampling local fare nearby. The bakery near our Air BnB was insanely good. In general the coffee all around Portugal was brilliant and cheap.
You can bet we’ll be back to Portugal in 2019. In the mean time start training with us in NY, or book a private retreat to Costa Rica with Andrew, or hit us up about ordering a CSC surfboard. As ever, sign up for our newsletter to hear about more pop up retreats in the future. I can tell you right now we have something up our sleeve for Peru in July.