H8 u naz- 16/02/12
I've been really lucky on surf trips over the last couple of years. I was at Mundaka on what was called the best day of the Autumn by many, amazing Supertubos, Playa Hermosa in Costa Rica and even pumping Fistral on a warm, sunny day, with very few girls from hull lounging on the beach with their wobbly bits out, and for most of them it was just through sheer luck- I just happened to be there when they were on. Still it is the sessions that I missed, through my own bad decision making, that I seem to dwell on. I've tried to repress this story, see my glass as have full, but on reading a recent article, I just have to let this one out, you don't have to read it.. but I'm hoping I'll find it therapeutic.
It's the 30th of November, the Europe legs of the tour are over, but I've decided to stick around in Peniche for a bit longer before heading for Spain. I've been watching a spot called Consolacao, which is in a little town just outside Peniche. It only works when it's really big and I've seen it fat and mushy a couple of times, sampled a few of the weird food things being sold from a van in the car park, but not really taken any photos of it. Today however looks very promising, The sun is shining, its warm, and perfect Consolocoa lefts (the rarer of the two waves) are peeling off the foot of the headland, with a castle, and an diverse group of on-lookers standing a top it. The mixture includes a mini bus from which a large group of Slovenian 'adventure seekers' as professed by their bus, has spilled, standing gazing out at the lineup whilst munching on cheese baguettes. Older locals mill around the car park, chatting to one another, enjoying the aforementioned weird van foods, not oblivious, but decidedly un-interested in the spectacle going on beneath them. The lineup remains empty, as perfect double overhead barreling lefts peel off the headland.
A group of travelling surfers turn up and start getting suited up, with one clearly driving the other two, who seem a little reluctant to paddle out. I stand watching them, trying to size up whether they are going to be able to make these conditions look as good as they are, and help me get some shots. A man appears from a car behind me. The Portuguese unlike the French and Spanish, don't have English speakers who speak a bit, its either they're fluent, or don't speak a word (a sweeping generalization, that is almost certainly wrong, but you've got to include some pithy stereotypes in article's like this don't you?). The aforementioned man was in the first category and on noting me, poised with my camera, leaned in and said 'I do not think these men know what they are doing. It's very big out here.' I smiled in reluctant agreement. He continued 'There is a place, north of here, Nazare, will be very big today, very big, you would get amazing photos'. I often receive tips from passers by, usually its just 'you should go down by those rocks' or 'go up the beach so your pointing straight into the sun and you'll get a nice silloutte' .. and usually I simply thank the offer'er for the offering and carry on with what I was doing, as I did on this occasion.
This man was however, very very right. An hour up the coast Garrett Macmanara was being towed into what is now known to be the biggest wave ever ridden, while I sat on the headland watching the aforementioned surfers ,first standing on the beach, then attempting to paddle out, and finally returning to the car park. Eventually someone did suit up and paddle out and catch a few bombs, including this one:
But it wasn't enough. I'd love to say that I've learnt from this, I've taken from it how never to miss a classic day again, however the only evident moral of the story is listen to the arbitrary suggestions of passers by, which as rule of thumb is utterly ridiculous...
If it wins the prize for biggest ever ridden at the XXL's this year I'll be even more distraught, So come on 'big wave surfers' pull your socks up, who's got a raise on 80ft?