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Slab Hunting in the Azores

by on Tuesday 19th March, 2013   45390 Visits   Comments

“IT’S a different style of wave.” Said Nic von Rupp who recently had a brief romance with an Azores slab alongside surfer Marco Giorgi and bodyboarder Gastao Entrudo. “There are plenty of long pointbreak fun waves in Portugal but none as heavy as this one. its just an A-framing slab, if you don’t make the take-off you’re left stranded on these sharp volcanic rocks. This was definitely one of the most challenging waves I’ve ever surfed.”

“As always this is a bodyboarding wave, Gastao Entrudo a pro from home called me up as asked if I wanted to hit up this wave with him. It had been the best week in Portugal of the year and the last thing that I wanted was to go on this stormy mission, but I just couldn’t say no. I grew up with the bodyboarders in Portugal and they are the ones who always pushed me deeper, so it was about time to get myself involved. A boogie filmer on a boogie wave invited by a boogie? A once in a lifetime story and I loved it.

We ended up scoring the best swell of the winter in Portugal and then this slab. Ten days of epic surfing and Marco left with an impression that this is how it always rolls in Europe. Nic von Rupp

“Nuno Cardoso the filmer is the piooner of all the heavy water filming in Portugal. Plus Joao Brek Bracourt in the water shooting stills and Marco Giorgi a Brazilian and a really good friend ever since we were groms competing in the ISA. He always wanted to come over to Portugal and finally managed it after 10 years. We ended up scoring the best swell of the winter in Portugal and then this slab. Ten days of epic surfing and Marco left with an impression that this is how it always rolls in Europe!”

“I’ve always wanted to get here but it is hard to get the right conditions, tide swell direction, size, and wind play a huge role here more than anywhere. It’s always a gamble to go over and you never know as a small degree in swell direction can blow out the whole size. But this swell was three days of epic swell, perfect direction and ideal tides.

“Gastao gave me a good idea of what to expect. I knew the wave I’d seen pictures of it but this was a 6 metre swell and double the size of what you usually go over for here but Gaston was on a mission to get it as big as it holds and we just floated with it.”

“It’s a scary wave but I want go back for sure. Maybe with a ski next time as you couldn’t paddle the big big ones with a normal board. We weren’t under-gunned because it’s a slab and you want to have a short board to take-off underneath the lip but the big ones were unmakable in our eyes.”

“Nic rang me the night before and I took a four hour bus to Lisbon and at 6am met him at the airport.” Said photographer, Joao Brek Bracourt. “The swell was massive for 3 straight days, barrel-after-barrel with the ocasional visit to the lava rocks. There wasn’t a single maneuver performed. We drove past a 5 foot super perfect long left peeling 200 meters as we drove to the slab no one bothered to surf.

The swell was massive for 3 straight days, barrel-after-barrel with the ocasional visit to the lava rocks.Joao Brek Bracourt

“Nic’s performance was humbling because he pushed me deep and with wide sets sweeping the chanel it was a bit scary. Shooting him in the water is both nice and scary because he goes on beasts of waves. Marco Giorgi is a super-classy guy who draws a pure surfing line. But next time I will wear a helmet for sure, super dangerous spot, I hit the bottom one time but just some minor cuts. I want to return to get to know the wave better, feel more confortable in the water and get some clear skies inside those bombs.

“The locals were super mellow and friendly, they were mostly bodyboarders apart from local Hugo Vau (XXL nominee) but he was in Nazare. They got us a cheap place, but it was very humid, it rains a lot in the Azores, the food is great both fish and meat we went out to a nice restaurant one day and check the night life a bit, but it was mostly eat, sleep, surf. They call the typical weather here the “bruma”, mist, often a lack of sunshine, they say they have the four seasons in one day and that’s certainly true. A bit like Galicia with big storms and super strong winds.

Ramdon fact: Brek was keen to draw attention to the often fatal local pastime on this particular island of bull fighting on the streets. “It’s with a rope and it’s insane, every year some guys get killed.” You can see a video here.

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