Surfing is waiting, a lot of waiting. I you’re not waiting until you’re close to a set, it’s because you’re enlessly waiting for the waves. I was in Madeira – Europe’s hidden surfgem for 2 days of surfing and tried to surf her waves. Yes, I tried, because surfing is all about depending on the wind and thus the swell. I catched a few waves though!
Madeira is fortunate to have the swell from the North Atlantic Ocean: point breaks become to reef breaks. It’s a great location for surfing if you’re there at the right time and at the right place.
The first day in Madeira, we drive from our base to Funchal, in steps towards the North Coast, via the East to a spot that’s also know by the name chicken: Faja da Areia (number 11 on the surfmap below). Our guide Orlando Pereira, the surf Ambassador of Madeira and a good surfer, told us that we can find the waves for the intermediate surfers over here. As I look towards the sea from the balcony ‘, I really want to surf. But I’m scared I’m not intermediate enough.
My first waves
I look to the and see some obstacles in the water. The last time I surfed was in Peru. Since then I’m a bit insecure to get into the water via rocks. However, I’m going to try it. I mean damn I’m here only once! Because you never know how the waves will be later in the day, or the day after and we only have 48 hours I immediately go into the water. Ofcourse not without a wetsuit.
I walk in a perfectly fitting size S man wetsuit wetsuit and head to the stoney beach with buddy Robbert. Along with another surfer we throw our boards in the sea and paddle to the others. How did I not get into the water so easily in Peru? Maybe a lack of technique and experience, who will tell. But better late than never.
A rocky place
We are in line with the rest of our surfteam, including Dutch 5th champ Pascal van der Mast and his photographer from surfersmagazine Surf Benelux. I manage to get some ‘ green’ waves. A few even. I just have to make sure I wont go to the front too much because of a large rock. Fortunately, there is no strong current which makes it pretty simple to stay in one place to paddle. After I have caught some waves (and apparently droppped-in a few time – sorry guys) I paddle back to the beach. I feel exhausted. Then I have the horrible stoned and hot sand, life as a surfer isn’t always that great guys ;-)
On the way back we still get the shock of our lives: our surfboards fly of the car i na tunnel. They are spread on the road and we are all shocked. For some dark reason, the straps of the board got loose. Fortunately there is no traffic behind us…
Madeira, the Hawaii of the Atlantic Ocean
Madeira is known as the Hawaii of the Atlantic Ocean. I’ll take back that Fuerteventura is, it doesn’t even come close to the kind of waves and landscape. Madeira is so beautiful that I really look forward to go to Hawai. Madeira has a clear blue sea, significant waves and a rugged landscape. I love it.
Advanced spot: Jardiem do Mar
Madeira has beautiful, long and sometimes violent waves. There are point and beach breaks which for pro’s and intermediate surfers. The second day we start our day with a good Galao (a type of latte machiatto). Then enjoy watching the advanced surfers from the group journalists I was with for a good session of surf all day while baking a bit in the sun.
The most beautiful waves are in Paul do Mar, so we drive to Jardim do Mar for lunch and come back when the waves are better in Jardim do Mar. Around the end of the afternoon, the swell is back again and prosurfer Pascal van der Mast has a great session of water and says he feels just like a beginner. He has some pain here and there (hurt his hip) and has struggled to reach the rocks to get out of the water. I thought for a moment that I was a noobie, but hey, for some surfers there are waves and oceans they have to surf like us beginners as well I guess. And this comforts me, a bit :)