Yes, not too long ago Portugal was invisible to the mass surf world which, in many ways, happened to be a good thing. In fact, you´d be lying if you were a 20+ year Portuguese surfer and said that you hadn’t noticed the changes in the Portuguese surf scene in the past years. Recently, due to a number of events, Portugal has clearly risen in popularity and visitors. Not to mention, the large number of curious tourists willing to test their chances at fun while riding some waves for the first time at one of the many surf schools the nation has at hand along it´s wave packed coast-line.
Not all the surfers who are local to the high quality surf spots in the country see the rise in Portugal´s surf popularity as a good thing as it translates to sharing the waves of the typically uncrowded surf beaches the country is known for. Despite the fact that there are still a lot of local peaks that the connoisseurs won’t share so easily, this rise of visitors to the surf scene undoubtedly threatens that norm.
A positive aspect of this crescent surf fame, however, benefits local tourism business owners connected to surf in Portugal who can take advantage of the tourist wave to increase their income and, consequently, their business’ profit. Moreover, the country’s huge exposure in world surf media, due to large events like the men´s Samsung Galaxy dream tour or the Nazaré North Canyon Show, gives a sense of pride to many of its people that weren’t used to seeing surf in Portugal in the world’s biggest media avenues. The WQS events happening each year in the country, have also contributed to this effect.
Unfortunately, just like many other places in the world, once surf in Portugal gets too popular it may risk seeing some of its magic spots disappear. Seeing a balanced pace in the constant changes happening every year in the country’s surf industry might, however, leave this precious country preserved in a level that will satisfy its local and tourism scenes.
One thing is for sure, Portugal is now one of the most desired surf destinations in the World where locals and visitors can make use of the amazing waves the country has to offer, while it´s still at a breathable level in terms of crowds. Don´t wait too long before you go check it out yourself.