I’ve been in Portugal for about two weeks, and it’s been sunny all of two days. The rest of the time it’s been gale force winds and rain. All of my clothes are wet, cold and dirty from the rain and mud everywhere. I tried to do some laundry the other day, but we don’t have a dryer. And since it’s been cold, dark and rainy, my shirts, jackets and pants are still wet. And even worse, now they are musty and have a weird smell. Today was nice though, so I might try laundry again tomorrow.
Kelly landed a 540 the other day. Some people are trying to claim it was a 720 but I don’t think it was. After he came in from the beach his stardom reached another level. Normally the Portuguese will mob the surfers asking for photos and autographs, but not Kelly this time. It’s like everyone was so amazed they were scared to talk to him. So a crowd of about 60 circled his car and watched him change, no-one asking for an autograph, just standing there, at 4 feet distance, silent, taking photos with their iPhones. It was ominous and creepy and Kelly seemed to love it. But who wouldn’t be smiling after they landed the first 540. Kolohe had a few good waves that session, as did Bourez and Mitch Crews, but they were all forgotten about after Kelly’s wave.
I drove around all day yesterday with Nat Young, Hiroto Ohara and Brandon Guilmette. We went to the 540 wave hoping it still had some juice… but it was really bad. We got back to the car and received a call from Dino Andino. “Brother just got the best wave of his life! It’s pumping up here, where are you guys?” Quickly we tried to drive up there. However, we got lost on the way, not once or twice but three times. By the time we were finally on track we got another call from Dino “I’m telling you this cause I love you, but it was all-time this morning…. But now it sucks, so don’t come.” Egged out we turned around and went to find some waves. It kinda worked out cause we found a fun left sandbar with no one out and Nat got really barreled. Then that night we went with the Andino crew and checked the wave again at sunset. It wasn’t that good and the comp was going to be on the next day so Brother didn’t paddle out. He sat at the car laughing about how good his wave that morning was. So Nat, desperate to give it a try, paddled out at dark and packed a huge close out.
Earlier this week there was a big swell that hit and it arrived with strong offshore winds. Nic Von Rupp is staying in the same house as me, and for anyone who didn’t know Nic is the guy (especially in Portugal). He charges some big waves too, so me and Hiroto decided to hang out with him all day. We got up early to see what the waves and wind were doing, but first stopped for coffee with the well know Garret McNamara and Carlos Burle. When we got to the wave it wasn’t as big as predicted and the winds were too strong to paddle into them, so we decided to check back later.
Nic took us to what I think was the fireststation/coastguard station where everyone was meeting. All the big wave guys came to the conclusion it would be a good day to at least practice protocol and get even better at using the wave runners. So we drove back to the wave, Nic did a hundred interviews and then was the first one in the water paddling half a mile out to the wave. In a few hours he caught a couple bombs and the wave of the morning. He came in late in the afternoon to find me and Hiroto asleep in the car. He did another hundred interviews saying how it was fun, but to us he insisted it was really small and he wasn’t too stoked on the waves since the forecast was showing it being much larger. Nic’s the guy.
The contest ran some more, Kolohe’s still in it (lost), Brett beat Slater (woohoo!) (then lost), John got a 10, Medina lost, and Nat lost. After Nat lost we hear a rumor it was firing at one of the beachbreaks. Taj was claiming Mundaka-esc waves. When get got there it looked fun but nothing crazy. Then Nat paddled out and got close to 15 blowouts in a few hours. And the current was so strong that only Nat could stay on the takeoff zone. Everyone else would get washed down the beach before paddling in, giving up, and leaving. I held my jacket out the window to dry on the way home. —Quinn Matthews