Algarve Surf – Four great waves
The Arrifana Reef is perhaps one of the Algarve Surf in the country. This point break needs a big swell before the wave breaks wide enough to clear the rocks sticking out of the water halfway down the line. Entry and exit is relatively straightforward through the fishing harbour, but watch out for the currents along this coast from the beaches of Carrapateira, Amado till Cordama and Casteleijo.
Just next door is the Canal Beach, which offers both an intense right hander under the shadow of a cliff and a more mellow right further south breaking over sand-covered boulders.
The Zavial Beach is one of the best spots on the south coast when there is a huge swell running. It can also be one of the most crowded. Zavial Beach is a right hand point break that in northerly winds peels cleanly for a couple hundred metres.
Another protected spot in big swells is Beliche Beach in Sagres, a beach break that can throw out perfect left and rights depending on the sand banks.
Bring your own board, or rent?
Surf schools are a great option for people who are backpacking through Portugal and are keen to get into surfing for a couple of days to a week.
The schools provide wetsuits, soft foam mini-Malibu surfboards, and coaching. In some cases, schools also provide accommodation, like the long-established Surf Experience in Lagos or Surf Ride in Raposeira.
Surf schools also have the added benefit of surf instructors’ local knowledge as many spots in Algarve are hidden at the end of rough dirt tracks or beneath steep cliffs.
Experienced surfers should consider bringing two boards for their Algarve Surf. If the rocks at a spot like Arrifana Reef don’t get your board, the shallow beachbreaks just might.
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