Ericeira: Away from the crowd, but in the zone
There’s something special about Portugal’s surf scene. A small, relatively out-of-the-way destination in general, this country is kind of an open secret. Tourism is big, but it’s not huge, sort of like European surfing. Some of Portugal’s surf spots — in fact some of its very best — are also just enough off the beaten path that they remain refreshingly pure, clean and relatively free from crowds.
Travel writer Emma Gilchrist writes of her Ericeira experience for Troy Media:
A couple days later we headed out to Ribeira d’Ilhas to up our game. The rocky point break hosts the Quiksilver Pro Portugal each year and I, for one, am glad we had a guide. Because we’ve missed the high season, there were just three other surfers in our group.
It doesn’t hurt that there are so many beaches in Portugal. If you look at a map of the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal hogs the west coast from its much larger neighbour, Spain. Sure, Spain has the Mediterranean and the Bay of Biscay, but come on…
The English edition of Spain’s El Pais recently did a write up on Portugal’s 30 best beaches, including Ribeira d’Ilhas in its top ten beaches for surfers:
After Malibu, this was the next beach to be declared a World Surfing Reserve by the Save the Waves Coalition. There are only five beaches in the category in the entire world. It is a craggy spot filled with octopus catchers. Not to be missed: the fishing village of Ericeira and the monumental Mafra.
Meanwhile the Portuguese press is ever so fond of describing how rocker Eddie Vedder of (Pearl Jam fame) loves not just to holiday in Portugal, but surf in Ericeira.
From Blitz (my translation):
His visits normally still favour Ericeira, considering the singer of the Seattle band doesn’t hide his predilection for surfing.
It’s true too. I remember the video for “Alive” beginning with a big swell… Let’s take a trip back to the early 90s, shall we?
Lead image of Ribeira d’Ilhas by Francisco Antunes (Flickr CC)