From Where You’d Rather Be: The World’s Best Beachbreaks – Fernando de Noronha
Words by Tom Freed | All photos by Tom Carey Whenever someone utters the phrase “from where you’d rather be,” Stab’s collective mind’s eye immediately focuses on a sand-bottomed setup beneath a smiling sun. We’re talking beachbreaks. Trunks. Bath water. All the finer things! And, since we so adore such things, we’ve decided to team […]
Words by Tom Freed | All photos by Tom Carey
Whenever someone utters the phrase “from where you’d rather be,” Stab’s collective mind’s eye immediately focuses on a sand-bottomed setup beneath a smiling sun. We’re talking beachbreaks. Trunks. Bath water. All the finer things! And, since we so adore such things, we’ve decided to team up with our like-minded pals at Coronaextra.com.au to deliver you a new series: The World’s Best Beachbreaks.
We’ll be detailing, visually but also through written text, all our favourite sand setups from around the world. The requirements? Nothing but golden grains beneath, nothing but a warm orb above, trunk temperatures only, and a perfect setup to end the day with a Corona and lime.
No. 10: Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
Aqui é o Paraíso… whispered Amerigo Vespucci upon first sighting the island before sinking to his knees in ecstasy on the galley deck. And certainly the same thought echoes through the minds of countless passengers to this day, spotting the gem, speechless at the view, through the windows of the sputtering planes. And apparently, if you press your ear against a Brazilian woman’s waist, you’ll hear a roar like a sea shell breathing the name, Fernando…de…Noronha… Apparently. Indeed, Fernando is that pristine, idyllic island that taunts us in dreams, and wouldn’t y’know — the rock’s surrounded by over a dozen hollow, punchy beach breaks. Did I mention the whole joint’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site? That the waters are an always-balmy, psychedelic blue? That the waves are so good, there’s (usually) an annual Prime comp there? That, should you time the tides right, you could find your own little peak off a dirt road and pull into drainers while dolphins pop double-flips o’er the fuzzy horizon? “Here is Paradise” indeed.
Mitch Coleborn swings out beneath the rock on a rare day of below-blinding light.
Lemme break it down for ya:
Land in: Fernando de Noronha Airport via Recife, Brazil. The island’s 230 miles off the coast of the mainland.
Then: Rent yourself a dune buggy sitting outside the airport (no cars allowed on island), strap the sticks on top and drive a couple miles to the main break
Stay: At one of the many pousadas lining the main drag, or at a homestay should you arrange one beforehand.
Bring a: Couple of standard shortboards, mabes a step-up if you know a big swell’s hitting. Bring more than two if you tend to break ‘em – which Fernando’s hollow wedges very well may.
Eric Geiselman pops a lip (and some buttons) – this is good living.
What’s she like? Shades of translucent turquoise, hues of blue and green, warm to the touch, always so damn warm. A little bit of everything in the wave department. While the foreground is mostly golden-grained coves, some of the waves are rock refracting wedges to straight-up A-frame sand-bottomed peaks to bars that predominantly go left and/or right. Thus, there’s shacks, ramps for airs and bowls for hacks. Not to mention the island’s like 7 miles long, so everything is real close and it’s possible to take the buggy down your own private Idaho.
What really makes her tick? They say that natives get restless and women get fertile on a full moon. Fine, nobody says that, but indeed a full moon makes Noronha frisky. And since moons make, ya know, tides, tides are a big thing on the island too. Low is best and even if there’s swell out there, but the moon is new (not visible) the surf won’t show. Since Noronha is kinda in the middle of the Atlantic, it picks up any activity near it, but shines on the North swells that hit the Caribbean first and even the ones spinning off Europe heading south west across the pond.
Other options in the area… If you’re over beachies on Noronha, there are a few reef breaks that show when the swell’s up and other than that, there is mainland Brazil and, well, you’ve seen what they get at the Rio Pro.
Nate Yeomans beneath the kinda that haunts dreams.
For a good time there’s a few bars and cafes along the main road (coming from the airport) that have a lil nightlife but for some good chow, Açai e Raizes has the best bowl of acai… ever. Not to mention there’s ice cold coconuts for sale everywhere, so get ready to be extremely hydrated and sick of coconuts. Also, Brazzo babes (and hunks?!) visit Noronha on vacay from the cities of Rio, Sao Paulo and Floripa, and nothing is more of an aphrodisiac for single people then an idyllic UNESCO World Heritage site. That, or four caipirinhas and service to right-swipe.
At all costs, don’t mess with the turtles. As the entire island is one big nature reserve (‘cause UNESCO said so) there are certain beaches at certain times where sea turtles crawl in and hatch eggs. Be a dear and don’t surf there (as the signs say) when that’s happening. Also, occasionally there’s a Prime or 6-star event there around February, so it’s up to you if ya wanna share waves with those sluggers.
OK, I hear ya, but what’s an expert say? Mason Ho says, “I’ve been to Noronha, like, actually six times and it’s one of my favorite places to travel to on Earth. You get there and it’s just this tiny island, so every break is soooo close. It makes things easier than trying to figure out foreign road signs or finding a rental car. (laughs) There’s pretty much just one main road and then a bunch of side dirt roads, so you get off the plane, get your dune buggy and find your mysto sand bar. There’s this one wave called Abras, like Abracadabra, that on certain low tide is one of the best lefts I’ve ever surfed. If the main break maxes out, and the waves get too big, like, 10-12ft that spot will start going. Other than that, personally, I love just finding my own spot. I swear there’s a couple that nobody even looks at and all you have to do is just follow a sand path in the buggy.”
Yep, plenty of ramp work to be found here.
Get at beachbreak number 12, Ehukai Beach Park, right here.
Get at beachbreak number 11, Bocas del Toro, right here.
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