Thursday, 30 July 2009

Sotogrande to Sagres

Within 24 hrs of booking the flights, hire car, Gatwick parking…it seemed UK summer was over and there was proper swell forecast…and wind! Of course I was hoping those down in Cornwall where I would have been otherwise were gonna score it –they could thank me!- but I was relieved to have not missed anything classic. So I put surf out of my mind and focussed on 38 deg C and wall to wall sunshine!
10 days based down in Sotogrande didn’t seem a bad way of doing probably my only warm trip for this year. Tarifa is only 45 ish mins west...
Taking just 5.7 4.7 3.7 and 85 One I was sure whatever I found I would be ready to ride!

This trip in Photo Gallery:

the trip vid below or:


Arrived late avo, getting -and then getting to!- the hire car in Malaga airport was a mission! All the hassle soon evaporated with the sea air once I got on the main road west to Sotogrande.
Tried to Sail at a nearby beach at the harbour and catch the gusts in the super-flat water, avoiding the occasional luxurious boat coming in!


Over to Tarifa
5.7 was just enough in the gusts, side-on from the right; Poniente

Scouring the forecasts every am and pm I decided now was the best time for the 3-day Portugal mission. The second part of the 500km journey was stunning, with such a marked change when you cross the border. I couldn’t help get a little excited that I may actually score some waves on what was really a freestyle trip/holiday! We got to Sagres late afternoon and checked a couple of the nearest main beaches. The wind was pumping out of Martinhal bay on S coast while barely a breath on the north coast!
Stacked 4.7.
Camped in Sagres, close to the Fortaleza, nice site, very chilled around the area in general.

Day 4
Checked most of the beaches north from Sagres about 100km up before settling on best place to surf, bearing in mind competing with many hungry and talented locals in a decent summer swell!

Got 30 mins sailing on north coast but the side-on wind soon died into the late morning. Another fun surf. As attractive as Lisbon and Guincho was, around 200km further north, it was time to head back to Spain and Sotogrande. I can’t wait to go back to Portugal to surf in autumn or spring…
Visited Vejer, a beautiful old town high on a hill overlooking the huge valley.
(No shots-camera battery ran out!)

Day 6
Tarifa in Levante
Powered-up 4.7. Quite gusty at the more side-off spots even a few hundred metres out to sea.

Days7 &8
Tarifa, windier!
Completely overpowered at times on 3.7
Hell-chop but fun! Chatting to a local who works at one of the centres and it seemed it wasn’t the nicest Levante they get, Good to hear I wasn’t the only one finding the conditions tricky! Especially after almost a year of no freestyle, having a few good crashes and mostly just pulling forwards!

Day 9&10
Trip clock since I picked the car up read 2200km. The call was a few drinks out in the evenings and chill by the pool by day! My shoulders were ruined and ankle just about hanging on (again). I didn’t even look at the forecast!
Checked out Gibraltar's rock for a great view and met some monkeys.
Flew home out of Gibraltar the next day in the evening tired and happy!
Gibraltar was great as it’s so small and some hire cars can be returned there even if rented out from a different location, and the car park is close.

Get a good hire car, mine loved the hill roads and there are lots of them! Watch out for crazy /bad drivers. You’ll notice most cars are dinged up.

If you’re keen to kite check out and get lessons with a legendary sailor Ben Harrison (of the clubvass oldschool!) who’s made Tarifa his home.
It was pretty much 30-37 degC each day, a couple of cloudy days. Depending where you are the water is still a bit cool to swim for long but nice!
A shorty wetsuit was perfect for the windy days, boardies otherwise. I could have done with my summer steamer for surfing in the Atlantic/Portugal.

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