For two years running, or padding, Nazaré, Portugal has dominated surf headlines. There the world record sized waves have been successfully surfed, mountainous waves that crash into huge rocks on razor sharp coastal cliffs. I’ve seen it, it’s pretty damn scary, I wouldn’t do it.
Nazaré may have the height, but now Lagos has the record for distance, at least in Portugal. On January 6, 2014, Portuguese surfer Alex Botelho caught a wave at Praia da Batata, the local’s town beach. He rode that wave past the 17th century fortress, past the river, past the pier and as he told Surf Portugal ” suddenly I was in Meia Praia!”
Longer rides have been surfed and documented. Pororoca in the Amazon’s tidal bore; 45 minutes on one muddy wave in a very remote jungle. Robby Nash cruised for 3.03 minutes on a nice wave off a beach somewhere in the Pacific, he had a paddle. Winter in Lagos may not be the high tourist season, unless you travel with a wet suit and your car has a roof rack. I’m still wondering how Alex Botelho, after his 1 minute and 40 second record breaking ride, got back to where he started. Unlike the Nazaré surfers who bravely face breaking the latest record, Alex didn’t plan this, there wasn’t a massive support team ready to whisk him to the media tent, then to his deluxe suite somewhere. Alex was just having fun.
Lagos has lovely forgiving waves, just the right size about 5 to 7 feet, I watch them longingly from the beach, I can’t wait to get back on a long board. I won’t be very good, never was. But as Duke Kahanamoku said, “The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun.”