Miguel Blanco On This Fickle North Atlantic Wonder Slab

Jason Lock

by on

Updated 5d ago

“Not knowing where this road could take us, we had nothing to lose,” says Portugal's Miguel Blanco when describing his new series In Luck, a chase across the Atlantic to surf fickle, untapped slabs – and boy, there's a whole load of gold to unearth here.

You may recall Miguel? Competed on the CT a few times in his home country, surfed Nias on that Indo swell in 2018 – which really elevated this hellman to the dizzying heights he so rightly deserves.

Spot guide: Portugal

Miguel's got a concept here too, it's not your usual cookie-cutter travel edit. He's heading to places known as The Island, The Snow and The Desert and if this first episode is anything to go by, we're damn pumped for the rest.

We checked in with Miguel as this thing dropped to talk coming up with vid ideas, what travel will look like post pandemic and the benefits of having a tight crew.

What made you want to make this series?
This past winter, I started searching for different destinations around the Atlantic. Places that I've always thought there had to be waves but never been before.

I’ve always made videos about my surf adventures and memorable sessions at home. After getting kinda on the radar in 2018 with the clip Here & Now, when we scored Nias on the biggest swell ever recorded in Indonesia, the next step was to produce something more than just another video. Something that has a connection, a line of thought, a concept… I just had to figure out how. 

Where am I going? How am I going to get there?  Who’s joining me? And last but not least, who’s going to film.

All my best clips to this day have been produced by my good friend Bruno Zanin and because he lives in Brazil, it's way too far and risky to be flying him every time I wanted to check waves around the Atlantic,  I had to find someone who would be down to this kind of adventure.

I wanted this series to be filmed 100 per cent on the Atlantic Ocean, not only because it would be easier to travel to the locations but to show three totally different environments in just one ocean; The Island, The Snow and The Desert.

Your protagonist.

Your protagonist.

The Island Next Door, is this somewhere you had visited before?
Yes I’ve been to the Island before, but it was the first time I surfed the slab! First you have to get to the island, the rest you’ll have to find it out for yourself [laughs].

Oh, that's a dirty flirt. How did you know there were waves there?
I knew there were waves. Impossible it couldn't have given the location. I can say it's not the most consistent break ever because of the way it’s facing, but it sure can deliver some thick square barrels on its days and I was lucky enough to be there when it happened.

So, these fickle places, you must be a forecast guy, do you pour over charts and pull the pin?
Yes I look at the forecast myself. Charts, winds and weather. I try to predict what’s going to happen but you never know, especially on those islands that are so unpredictable and exposed.

I saw the swell and it wasn’t 100 per cent sure it was going to be good, but I went anyways. It was more a question of wind, tides and hope. I gave it a shot and that’s how the “Sometimes you’ve just gotta roll the dice and have a look for yourself”, came about in the first episode of In Luck.

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Yeah, the clip is great. When are more episodes on the way?
In a couple of months, maybe a bit more because of the pandemic. Crazy time we are living in. Before that, I’m putting out an edit of my European winter called Euro Slayer, and then I hope the second episode of In Luck will be right after.

Is it The Desert? Is is the snow? Who knows… . It will be up to where I feel like it's going to deliver some good surf when the time comes. I have some places in mind tough, it’s promising.

Do you think, once the pandemic has quietened down, surfing and travelling will look the same?
I don’t know. I would like to think so but at the same time I feel like nothing will be the same after what we’ve been through. We’ll have to adapt.

This thing had a big impact on people’s mentality as well. Everyone realised how small and vulnerable the human race is to the earth. Maybe with the break the planet had from human activity, there will be more swell and offshore days everywhere [laughs].

Tell us a bit about yourself, where did you grow up and when did you learn to surf?
I started surfing at seven-year-old when I moved from Lisbon to Cascais. I grew up in São Pedro do Estoril, a small point break in Cascais, then I spent a lot of time in praia da Poça, Guincho and Ericeira, where I ended up moving to and it’s the place I call home today.

I had the classic Junior career and even won a European Junior contest in 2016. Had the chance to surf three times on the CT in Peniche but right now, I spend most of my time surfing, travelling and exploring.

What about this episode made is so special?
One of the reasons why this clip is special, and as quoted in the clip: “When travelling I chance luck”, it is because of these thoughts... they gave me a different perspective on how I look at surfing, chasing swells and forecasts.

It is also very special because of the start of a new journey with new people. Ricardo Pina joined the adventure as a filmer and António Saraiva as a photographer. Not knowing where this road could take us, we had nothing to lose.