Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Portugal, place of the everlasting fog!

I have just returned home after a 10 day trip with Jalou Langeree to Portugal. We were in search of wind, waves and flat water spots. 1 week before heading out and before we had booked our tickets the forecast was looking insane. In fact it was looking insane all the way up to and after the day we were leaving. It had all the the pre-requisites for an epic. 18 knots plus forecasted on windguru, middle of summer for some sweltering sunshine, waves (not huge, not small) and any number of lagoons dotted close to Lisbon, what more could you ask for?

Over in Holland Jalou packed up her kit ready to meet me in Lisbon and I packed mine in the UK. With such an epic forecast there was no toy we planned to leave behind, so in went my naish momentum with bindings, my Naish Thorn with straps, Custom Global Surfboard, Naish Torches from 5m up to 10m plus a 9m Naish Bolt. Ive never taken so much kit and my two board bags each weighed 30 kg's.

The icing on the cake was that we had Craig Sawyer from Blue Juice MultiMedia. He was on the South coast of the UK packing an additional 30kg's of video and photographic equipment ready to catch our action!

What a winner!!! Except, like in many things it doesn't always go quite according to plan...

Waking up on day 1 it was clear that the sun had no intention of shining. The flags on the beach lay still and although a few ripples of waves broke on the shores of Peniche there was a sinister undertone of no kitesurfing today, tomorrow, next week and perhaps ever. There was even a strong element that despite being truely British and destined to wear a shorts at any sure sign of summer I might have to succumb and put my jeans and hoody back on from the flight.

This is where our intrepid wind and sun hunt begun.

With all the kit loaded up Criag, Jalou and I were ready. Craig having filmed the Cannonball Ralley the previous month in a £400,000 Lamborghini was now wedged into his very own cheeky chenco which we had hired him. With knees around his ears he tried hard to stick close to Jalou and I in our Mitsubishi mean machine and at times we had to stick our heads out the window to check that it was him tucked in just behind our bumper out of sight, but not out of mind. On the steeper uphills we considered parking him in our boot and driving him and car to destination. If it wasn't for all the kit piled in the back it would have been worth a try and probably faster!

Anyhow, I digress! We started on the miles and miles of coast hunting for wind. We headed first for Obidos, a lagoon where they had guaranteed us that it would be windy, but as we arrived at the shoreline, ordered our coffees which seemed to be rapidly becoming a theme for the trip it was evident that as the headland dipped in and out of view as the low flying cloud lazily drifted by that we had niether sun, nor wind to look forward to here.

Waiting a couple of hours for the chance that the cloud might miraculously disappear and the forecasted 18 knots pile through we finally decided to try another spot. 2 hours away was Guincho. Guincho was a spot we were hoping to avoid. We had heard plenty about it, not much of it good and as such were looking forward to exploring the rest of the coastline, but for all the bad things heard about Guincho there was one appealing item - 'its always windy there.' Maiking a speedy exit, then slowing down again to let Craig catch up we already ditched his car on the side of the road to wedge him in amongst an anxious Jalou and I plus a ton of kit! He looked far more at home then in his chenco!

2 hours later, a few additional toll roads, a few additional turnings and an improved ability to ask directions in Portugese we were at Guincho struggling to open the doors for the wind! Sure enough the wind was on and ready for the fallout of a couple of couped up kitesurfers. Within 20 mins we had rigged up our 6m's thrown on our wetsuits, attached some cameras and launched ourselves down the dunes to a wind-blasted cove just off Lisbon. result - Day 1, kitesurfing, some sunshine (although debatable) photos. camera action, smiles! A mission indeed, but a successful one, so lie is good!

Day 2 Craig, Jalou and I awoke to further darkness. The cloud was set in! A quick coffee stop at Peniche Kite and Surf Centre we settled that if we wanted to find wind and sun for a second time we were goin to have to make the 300km journey up north to Murtosa on a river at Aveiro. Fortunately are portugese direction practise the day before proved highly handy for the second day on the trot as we scaled the unwindy shoreline looking for a place to launch should the wind pick up. Just as I was ready to kill and the beads of sweat were pouring off my head, Jalou hanging out the window for freedom and Craigs cramps were setting in with full effect we saw the glorious sight of 2 kites! Handbrake turn, step out the way, we're coming home we finally rocked up to 12-15knots of wind and this time untainted sunshine! I was out the car on the water in an instant with Jalou not far behind! On form she was banging out the slim chances, Kgb's, blind judges and railey to wrapped! The girl has skills! I sure enough knocked out some moves in return, but have mentally noted that the entire journey back to Peniche will be Jalou talking me through how to clinch those puppies!!

Right, 2 days, 2 sessions, over 1000km's racked up on the milometer plus a pb speed of 106mph! Things despite desperate were looking good! Please let the cloud be gone tomorrow, but clearly as we pulled into Peniche and the windscreen wipers hit the next speed on from intermitant we were in for some more days of travelling.

Day 3, last day with Craig! Its got to be sunny by now, but pulling back the curtains the cloud had descended into low fog! We could barely see the wood from the trees and Jalou and i were quite clearly ready to kill one another! We had all the kit, all the expectations and nothing to do with it, so we headed to another spot not too far away called Praia Areira Branca. Here we heard that it regularly got windy and was a little glimmer of hope for both wind and sun despite being just 10 miles away from Peniche and it was true... nearly. The cloud was sitting a little further back on the sea, the sun was shining enough to throw on some sunglasses and the wind was tantalisingly close to being enough. We rigged our kit ready to rock n roll just in time for the 10 knots to drop straight on its arse and bugger off! Gutted! It was looking so promising.

With Craig leaving early the next morning and only a small amount of footage front he previous two days mega attempt to find wind we didn't want to mess around. Jalou and I looked at each other decided to go for the safe bet on wind - Guincho! We were coming back!

As Craig packed the next morning Jalou and i tried to change our tickets also. the forecast was for more on the same for the unforseeable future while the southwester winds were battering back at both of our homes for Jalou and I, but no luck. Over the next 7 days we scored 3 more short sessions and a cracker in the waves also. We really had no luck for our trip whatsoever, but made the most of it and saw many different places to kite.

Im told to head back next month, but for now I think I'll give it a miss. I'll venture back sometime as Im sure it can be epic, but for now Jalou and I have developed more plans of travelling, hunting for waves, flat and wind! Watch this space for the coming movie from Craig and keep your eyes peeled for what we have planned next.


1 comment:

Lucan@airtime said...

Hey Jo, man your life is to be desired, you go to the best spots and ride some sweet gear. I am happy with getting out at our local but to not wear a suit would be nice ( wetty). keep up the positive vibe and may see you down the beach.