YESTERDAY I stood on a cliff looking out at the turbulent sea and said to my girlfriend something along the lines of, “fuck, it’s fucking windy”. 600 years ago old-timey medieval dudes in fruity hats used to stand on the same stretch of cliff and say to their girlfriends (probably), “good heavens Beatrice, I proclaim this to be the end of the world!” I’m currently in Sagres in the bottom left corner of Portugal and back in the day (i.e. when crew thought the world was flat) people considered the town – the furthest south-west you can go in Europe – to be the end of the earth. A guy called Henry the Navigator, the third kid of King John I of Portugal, became the driving force behind an age of exploration in Europe before he died in 1460, and obviously eventually everyone was like, “boy do I have egg on my face, there are heaps of other countries and places and Sagres definitely isn’t the end of the world”. But it really does have that ‘end-of-the-world’ vibe, as does the whole Algarve coast down here. 10-15ft swells regularly smack into the side of monstrous cliffs sending plumes of spray skyward, leaving you mesmerised, unable to look away.
We’ve been staying in a small town called Carrapateira the past few days driving from quaint village to sleepy hamlet, but I’ve only surfed once. It hasn’t been due to a lack of swell, but rather quite the opposite. The west coast has had good winds but has been super gnarly, while the south coast has been small-ish and blown out. Today the swell jumped considerably and we found a sheltered beach offering dreamy 3ft barrels and ramps. Tomorrow we’re heading north to Nazaré, a town with a wave that looks so scary I might just be struck down by a 24-hour bug and bed-ridden the one day we’re there. Anyway below are some more photos for ya. And if you’re the reading type check out a piece I wrote a while back for theinertia.com – “the planet’s largest network of thinking surfers”. Plus there’s this from throwtail.com – a dedicated Oz-based dropknee website – which threw some love FearInEnglish’s way a few months ago. Bye for now.