Portugal's darling, Nic von Rupp and the Supertubos' firehouse circa '15. Photo: LENNART GIRARD
Portugal And What You Should Know (For Next Week)
XXL forecasts, chubby little fishies, a chubbier commentator booth, and what may end up being the wildest (and possibly wooliest) week in recent Portuguese surf history.
After a week bouncing around France and Spain, the WSL's heading to Supertubos, and is (potentially) being met with an insanely stacked North Atlantic forecast. After wrapping our last premiere for Natxo Gonzalez's (underwhelming to our Disqus critics; fucking cosmic to our Insta and FB basics), we're dying to get our feet in coarse Portuguese sand. With the event's window opening tomorrow, the hype around the event is palpable, as, fingers crossed, everyone waits in suspense to see if this first of three predicted swells delivers.
In the run up, here's where our head's at.
Dust off those step-ups, bitches: Saturday is going to be massive in Portugal—15-20 foot at about 15 seconds—and Supertubos is going to go bonkers. Winds should be fairly crisp offshore all day, and if all things go as planned the comp should run straight through Monday, the swell lasting through the weekend and hopefully the tour taking advantage of what could be an early, radical run.
While the European leg can often put insomniac American and Australian fans soundly snoozing, Portugal is going to be a barn burner.
Rip Curl thankfully pandered to the crowd on this one, Mason surfing's irreverent love, and we're absolutely fine with it. With the forecast as solid as it looks, we hope Mason's brought a few of Pop's Pipe cleaners with him, or at least some of those foxy new Mayhem tube shooters he's been slinging all season.
Europe might be the tour’s penultimate run, but it’s often felt like an intermission; being here, boots on Portuguese cobblestone, you can sense a sort of deep, romantic relief from everyone on tour here, the top-34 clogging castles and scenic overlooks from Porto to the Algarve in the downtime between France and Portugal. While Peniche lacks the polished charm of Ericeira or Lisbon’s cosmopolitan luxuries, the picturesque, low-key little fishing village brings in the lion’s share of Portugal’s 100,000-ton sardine haul, and those fat, salty little fuckers are delicious, bones and all.
Jordy vs John
Yeah, Double John’s going to be an obvious favorite going into the event, especially considering the forecast; recall his no-fucks-given performance at the Quicksilver Pro France two years back, JJF speaking the shifty, foreign, Eastern Atlantic language like it was his native North Shore tongue. There’s no doubt that Jordy will be showing up with a chip on his industrial-size shoulders, but it's pretty hard to imagine JJF phoning it in at double-overhead Supertubos. Expect fireworks, and hopefully some very, very big beachbreak barrels.
Pasteis de Nata
As our commenters point out regularly (Thanks, Nino), our command of plurality can leave something to be desired, literarily, and that's when writing in the Queen’s English; why would it magically improve in Portuguese?
Anyhow: These little goddamned delicacies. Apparently Lisbon's nuns and monks used to use just an absolute shit-ton of egg whites starching their scapulars. In the aftermath, they were left with just barrels and barrels of wasted egg yolks, and in the 1820s, with churches all over Europe facing closure, the monks got scrappy and starting slinging pasties de nada from anywhere they could, to take advantage of the excess . These little custard pies are lightly sweet, best served warm, and next to double espresso.
Anyhow, Pasteis de Nata, which is to say a shit-ton of Pastel del Natas, are going to be talked about no less than 50 times by the WSL’s elite gustatory authorities, buttons on matching Hawaiian shirts straining to contain growing mid-sections.
Right now, rush orders are being put in with gunsmiths the world over, four- and five-inch thick 10- and 11-footer behemoth killers getting mowed down post-haste*: While the Nazare Challenge’s first iteration felt closer to some sort of demolition derby, Jet Skis and 100-foot face teepees landing square on top of competitors. Right now, the Big Wave Tour is eying a long-period swell set to arrive on Wednesday that might deliver all-time conditions: solid 15-25 foot, groomed, heavy interval bombs detonating up and down Prai Grande’s infamous gladiator pit beach break. If the swell materializes as everyone seems to think, running the Nazare Challenge immediately after the Rip Curl Pro wraps in macking conditions, it could make for one of the most exciting weeks of professional surfing this year.
(Or it’ll be a messy, shifty nightmare and maybe a fork will be put in Nazare’s wobbly, over-stuffed gut once and for all.)
*The day I arrived in San Sebastian, PUKAS were overwhelmed with orders, everyone from Twiggy, Tom Lowe, Damien Hobgood, Greg Long** and a host of others begging the Basque boys to whip some sleds into shape before Saturday; if they call the event on, we’ve somehow been coerced into driving the nine hours to Nazare from San Sebastian, with about 180 total feet of heavyweight, foam and fiberglass still curing in the back. We imagine it’ll be a lightheaded road trip, if you get my drift.
**A beautiful black-railed European gun of Greg’s was one of the only boards that survived the heartbreaking PUKAS fire; you can count on some good juju from this bad boy, baptized in fire and still dusted with its ashes.