“Ended up breaking my whole quiver, five boards in a week.”
London Almida wasn’t expecting that kind of decimation at Supertubos earlier this month, but sometimes that’s just how it goes. “Still had fun out there,” London said. “The best we’ve seen it in a long time. I’d break a board every day if I knew it meant getting a good barrel at Supertubos.”
View Live: Supertubos
A couple of weeks ago, Supertubos went crazy for four days straight, when a strong W swell filled into the western coast of Portugal. This capped off one of the better Februarys in recent memory for surfers in Western Europe, especially as this latest session was a week or so after the triple swell blast that rumbled the Celtic Lands, south west France and parts of Portugal.
Across those four days, photographer Helio Antonio stationed himself on the sand at Supertubos. “I’ve been overwhelmed,” he said. “Shooting from early morning until sunset and driving an hour each way to Nazare and back home again. The forecast has been on fire.”
Portuguese pro Miguel Blanco surfed Nazare in the morning before driving down to Supertubos. “My first thought was either Nazare or Ericeira,” he said. “But after getting a few waves at Nazare I thought about going to Supers. I knew Nic [Von Rupp] was going there, as well. It normally gets a bit cleaner around sunset so I made my way down there around then and got one or two hours of shorebreak barrels. Pure fun.”
“Cool to get back to the roots, it’s the first place I ever really chased swells to,” said Nic. “There were peaks all over the place and long barrels.”
Supertubos is not your average beachbreak. It’s one of the best waves on the planet and one of the only places in Peniche that can offer protection from north wind. In fact, those powerful tubes owe a lot to the huge, deep-water Nazare canyon, some 20 miles north. A branch of the canyon juts out towards Peniche and is coupled with an underwater ridge that reaches out northwest from Peniche back to the canyon. This combo helps guide swells towards Supertubos.
There’s also a sandbar about half a mile out to sea that can help focus swell towards the beach, helping create powerful waves that quickly rise from one-foot to stand-up tubes in a matter of seconds.
Lisbon-born Diogo Martins, who you’ll usually find around Portugal’s other crazy beachbreak, Carcavelos, had just arrived back in the country after a trip to Hossegor. “I managed to get the last days of the swell,” he said. “France was cold and crowded so it felt really nice to be back home, drive from Lisbon with some friends and get barrelled all day long. I guess a lot of surfers were down in Morocco for the QS and most of the locals were tired from the first days of the swell, so I got two full days of surfing with a pretty relaxed crowd. Thursday was clean with some decent set waves and nice offshore wind.”
“The swell originated from a low pressure that emerged off the East Coast of North America around Saturday, February 11th, passing over Nova Scotia and Newfoundland before moving out into the open Atlantic,” says forecaster Tony Butt. “A large frontal system associated with this storm and the strong westerly winds behind it began to generate swell on Sunday the 12th. The centre of the system moved north over the following 24 hours, ending up off Greenland by Monday the 13th.
“The strong winds behind the frontal system, south of the storm, continued to generate swell, which reached westerly exposures late Tuesday, February 14th. At the same time, an area of high pressure started moving in from the Azores towards Biscay, and a small local area of low pressure developed off Morocco. The combination of these two systems created an easterly flow over Portugal over the following five days.”
“A second area of low pressure emerged off Cape Hatteras on Monday the 13th and strengthened as it moved northeast, becoming a multi-centred system east of Newfoundland by Wednesday. An area of strong westerly winds on its southern flank generated a second pulse of swell, which arrived off the Portuguese coast late Thursday. The second swell merged almost seamlessly with the first and kept the surf pumping for another two days.
“At Supertubos the swell filled in during Wednesday, reaching six-feet or more by the end of the day before ramping down through Thursday. But then it picked up again and remained steady for the next five days, accompanied by moderate, sometimes fresh offshore winds.”
Western Europe is about to get a large, long-period swell licking from tomorrow. Check the incoming swell alert, here:
February Ends with Some Western Europe Boom
And keep an eye on the cams below as a fresh batch of W swell fills into Western Europe and Northern Africa.
| Fistral | Praa Sands | Nazare | Anchor Point | Safi |