Thursday, 11 April 2013

5th Place South Portugal Regional Surf Contest!

Wow-there is loads to write about! I guess I'll start with the beginning of our trip to Pig Dog Surf Camp (check out their website here, its pretty cool!) They are located just South of Sines in a non-touristy part of Portugal which has so many surf spots to offer which are generally pretty empty!

The day before we were due to fly with EasyJet we decided to put windsurf kit in-queue 4 hours of panic packing in minus degrees outside in the dark! We had to get 3 windsurf boards, rigs and 3 surf boards all in three 32kg bags. We gambled taking a 4.2 and 4.7 only. The surf looked pretty stormy and Westerly and when we arrived in Lisbon to get away from the wet UK, we had torrential rain. Our first surfs were big, stormy and onshore, but we surfed at the Harbour Wall which was not only a few degrees warmer water due to a power station cooling loop but also had an amazing rip out by the wall you could sit in and wait for the sets.

Unfortunately the wind did its thing for a few more days, enough to muck up the surf but not enough for an onshore windsurf. There was scattered rain and while Portugal was having landslides due to the unseasonal weather, England was covered in snow. We were told this was the worst two weeks weather Portugal had had in a long time! BUT, it brightened up eventually! A few more friends came for the long weekend and we had a sunny surf while the whole West coast was pumping! We did have to find a slightly smaller spot which would normally be the harbour wall in a usual NW swell, but this was still double overhead with the West swell!

We had more surfing at Apocalypse-a beach you do not want to see at low tide as all the spindly needle rocks stick up vertical and are hidden at high tide-I was completely oblivious the first time I went in!

After all the surfing, my shoulders burned! Then after a couple of false hopes taking the windsurf kit to the beach, we finally got an awesome down the line cross off starboard session. I haven't sailed cross off starboard tack for a few years now so I was a little rusty! We were all absolutely stoked :)

The last few days brought smaller cleaner surf conditions, with more sun and more glassy waves.

I was convinced by Jon and Andy at Pigdog to enter the South Portugal Regional Surf competition at the weekend with a couple of guys they trained there. It was my first surf competition so I didn't know what to expect! The first day had the classic wait for your heat all day as it got pushed back and then moved to the next day. I saw El Point through all tides, from pretty rubbish low tide to barrelly high tide and back. The funniest and worst thing was fighting about 40 groms in the warm up session before the contest-they were everywhere and got on every wave! I surfed against two other girls in the heat, having a great first wave but then stupidly thinking someone was waving me in on the beach during the heat, paddling in a bit, and wasting loads of time getting caught by a set. I got a few more little waves but nothing spectacular, and came in thinking I'd done rubbish. Jon said he was convinced I'd got through and I only lost out by 0.1 point! If only I'd done one more wiggle! I came 5th overall, not bad for my first comp and i certainly learnt a lot!

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