Storms. From destroying whole villages to producing funny Youtube videos of cars not being able to stop at red lights, they are surely a pain in the ass. Us, in Portugal, have it good: we have lots of sunshine and, usually, storms only make for annoying detours from the roads near the sea.
Still, there are exceptions – and this is one such story.
March 2018 was a very special month. Gisele, Felix, Hugo, Vitor, my dog’s surname and (insert your mama’s name) were all creative names for storms that made every single Portuguese person very eager to not go to work and stay at home watching “How I Met Your Mother”. A boat called “Betanzos” was pushed into a sandbank in the middle of the ocean, leading to generalized concern among the environmental community, a hashtag called #holdonbetanzos (because now people pray through social media) and the need for an international tugboat to come to the rescue. Yellow alert, red alert, blue alert, pink alert, snake-pattern alert and the newest polka-dot alert… Every color on the palette was used.
As surfers, storms usually represent the opportunity to surf in “not so usual” spots. In Lisbon, we have a bunch of those: Santo Amaro, Praia da Torre, Inatel, Caxias… all places that generate good waves and get filled up with middle-aged men (who should be working at 3 p.m but, somehow, are surfing).
But this was a special swell. The biggest we had gone through in four years.
Terreiro do Paço has seen it all: slave trade, the parting of Portuguese discovery ships, a huge earthquake, a rebranding into “Praça do Comércio” and tourists from every single country in the world (like, so freaking many tourists). But it had never seen surfing.
That is why, on the Sunday of the 11th of March, Tomás Valente and I, along with a couple of other friends, set out to explore a never before explored stretch of coastline that produced some out of the ordinary images – culminating in a shared wave at one of the most beautiful squares of Europe.
Enjoy the adventure captured by @WhiteFlagProductions!