From New Year's Eve and into the past few days, Portugal has been wild. Not colossal, holy-crap Nazare, like it's about to be over the weekend, but more the kind of sessions that all of us like to see and score. And what better time for the North Atlantic to get real good, than those sleepy times twixt and into New Year.
From the Peniche area down into Portugal's hip, the surf was divine. For the likes of Marlon Lipke and Gony Zubizaretta, Sagres and the Algarve ended up as base camp for the end of last year.
“I got the call from Marlon to go down south,” said Gony. “The Algarve can be tricky but local knowledge plays a big part when you're looking to score empty perfection. Can't think of a better way to end the year and start this one.”
“Before this session there had been a bunch of good days already all along the coastline,” said Marlon. “This was the first day João [Bracourt, photographer also know as Brek] and I connected - and Gony had just arrived.
“This was actually the second time we shot this wave and the other time it was also us three we also saw Andre Lange on both occasions, randomly in the water.
“There were many closeouts but In-between you had these beautiful west Oz like sucky right handers, breaking of the cliff. Bit of a magical moments to finish off the year.”
For photographer Brek this was his return to the public eye after taking an extended leave of absence from social media. “He is probably one of the best photographers in Europe and the world,” said Marlon. “It's crazy what he puts together, evaluating every element of the conditions that in the end, makes the pictures what they are.”
“Marlon is all over the planet still,” said Brek. “Gony has been settling down and drives from Ericeira or Galicia when it's too stormy up there. Usually I get a call or something, but it's more a random combo of stars aligning. And when we meet, it's looking for banks in Marlon's electric BMW, drinking wine, talking story.
"Sagres is a magical place and although it is a bit fickle in terms of world-class surf, with the right wind, tide and sand banks, it can really deliver flawless waves. The crowds can be a problem and the obvious breaks are sometimes impossible to catch waves, but if you are smart and respect the local crew, you may find yourself inside one of these pristine tubes."
But those fingers of swell weren't confined to the south west. “The end of 2021 into the beginning of 2022 was pumping,” says photographer Luke Dawson, who has been holed up further north. “Portugal was graced with offshore winds, 20 degree weather, and a solid swell to bring in the new year and grace our minds with more than a few days of perfect surf.”
"The start of this year though, saw the swell slightly change direction which provided some more power to a select few sandbars. Even being a Sunday many of these went unridden.
Conditions were absolutely pristine with double-ups wedging down the beach. It is always difficult to truly tell the size of beach breaks and in particular this one."
Stay tuned for more from this entire crew as a fresh swell is about to pound Portugal.