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"Nic's performance was humbling because he pushed me deep and with wide sets sweeping the chanel it was a bit scary." Said Brek "Shooting him in the water is both nice and scary because he goes on beasts of waves."© 2014 Joao Brek Bracourt
Nic: "If you don't make the takeoff you're on left stranded these sharp volcanic rocks. It was definitely one of the most challenging waves I've ever surfed."© 2014 Joao Brek Bracourt
"It was a 6 metre swell and double the size of what you usually go over for here but Gaston Entrudo (pictured) was on a mission to get it as big as it holds and we just floated with it." Said Nic© 2014 Joao Brek Bracourt
Nic: "Marco Giorgi left with an impression that this is how it always rolls in Europe."© 2014 Joao Brek Bracourt
Brek: "Marco Giorgi is a super-classy guy who draws a pure surfing line."© 2014 Joao Brek Bracourt
"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..." Said Nic© 2014 Joao Brek Bracourt
Nic on a hollow one from somewhere nasty in Neptune's bowels© 2014 Joao Brek Bracourt
So who's going first then boys?© 2014 Joao Brek Bracourt
This could be anywhere but it's the middle of the Atlantic© 2014 Joao Brek Bracourt
Brek: "We would wake up mid-morning wait a little for the high tide and full on barrel fest."© 2014 Joao Brek Bracourt
The locals said it was the biggest it had been surfed...© 2014 Joao Brek Bracourt
The Azores is often overlooked for no good reason© 2014 Joao Brek Bracourt
Some were just better left to cheer on... Sure in a few years someone will probably be dropping into this this© 2014 Joao Brek Bracourt
Marco deep down the rabbit hole.© 2014 Joao Brek Bracourt
The left was good but it was all about the rights.© 2014 Joao Brek Bracourt
Ten days of epic surfing and Marco left with an impression that this is how it always rolls in Europe.© 2014 Joao Brek Bracourt
This was a 5ft super-perfect long left peeling 200 meters as we drove to the slab but no-one bothered to surf it© 2014 Joao Brek Bracourt
"The locals asked us to mention the rocks that the local goverment put in front of the wave to protect the shore." Said Brek "They had a bit of a fight with them and got them to put the rocks 15 meters back, so the backwash wouldnt affect the wave." Marco tests out the theory.© 2014 Joao Brek Bracourt
Nic and bit of local colour ... not the wesuit.© 2014 Joao Brek Bracourt
The locals 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.© 2014 Joao Brek Bracourt
Nic knifing in under a hefty peak© 2014 Joao Brek Bracourt
Nic and Marco wonder just what they've got themselves into this time© 2014 Joao Brek Bracourt
Get up, wait for the tide, get hosed.© 2014 Joao Brek Bracourt
"I havent been to Hawaii, but did a dozen boat trips in the Mentawaii, etc. Supertubos in Peniche can throw big barrels. It is a very powerfull wave coming from deep water and throwing square barrels in shallow water over lava rocks." Said Brek "The power of the wave is really concentrated on that triangle of the reef. I cant compare it, maybe El Fronton or El Quemao, but I think its more mutant kind of a wave, better ask Nic (pictured)."© 2014 Joao Brek Bracourt
“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.
Welcome to the plateau. It's where we gather to watch Yago Dora soar above our heads.
These are the fortunate few. Many epic sessions have fallen by the wayside, victims to our ruthless monthly culls, but the results are wondrous to behold.
Patagonia is a challenging lover, said the English novelist, Bruce Chatwin. It haunts you, it bewitches you, it wraps you in its arms and does not let you go.
Welcome to the winners' podium. The cream of February lies before you in four spectacular Atlantic sessions, big barrels being the theme.
The symbiosis of surfer and winter. The Astray Collective and Finisterre bring you a short narrated by Matt Smith and produced by Mickey Smith