I’ve just returned from a surf trip to Peniche, Portugal. Peniche is THE surfing town in Portugal. I could say that it was recently discovered when the ASP circus came to town a few years back with Rip Curl Search event and liked it so much that they decided to stick around, but that would not be completely fair to the local surfers and European surfers in general who have been coming to this place for a long long time. Maybe before there were two towns that came to mind when it came to surfing in Portugal – Ericeira and Peniche and now Peniche is the more famous one.
Anyway, this was like my 10th or something surf trip to Portugal and I love it every time. It’s so laid back and the surf is great. There is always some wave going off in Peniche, this is why Peniche is THE surf town in Portugal. It lies on a peninsula and there are a few more nooks and crannies around the town which means that you have spots facing all possible directions working with all possible direction of wind and swell.
To this I can say thanks God, because the conditions during the trip were pretty hard. Swell rarely dropped under 10 feet and was most of the time accompanied by strong winds blowing from every possible direction. Everywhere else the trip would be a disaster – surfing wise. But in Peniche there is almost always a spot that is offshore and a little protected from the brute force of the swell. Which means we surfed every day, had some epic sessions, some epic BBQs, galaos and pasteis de nata (coffe with milk and Portuguese pastry) and lots of laughs.
A FEW PENICHE SURFING TIPS
When the wind is blowing from the north check out the spots south of Peniche – especially Molho Leste which is protected by the long pier. And Supertubos. Also check the north side of the Baleal beach (a long beach north of Peniche). And when the north is blowing it’s going to be cold.
When the south wind is blowing check out Lagide and beaches next to this spot. And check out south side of the long Baleal beach.
A more northerly swell will hit harder at the beaches north of town. Lagide, Baleal. A more westerly swell will strike directly into Supertubos and Molho Leste and other spots south of town. So if you want a more protected spot choose the opposite.
Portuguese surfers are pretty friendly but since Peniche is so popular with lots of visiting surfers and surf schools some spots are a little bit intense. In Peniche this is mostly Lagide and Molho Leste. And Supertubos. These are all spots with relatively small takeoff zone so there is always some traction between surfers jockeying for the position. Except (almost) nobody surfs Supertubos when it’s big. And there are lots of boogie boarders in Portugal.
From south to north:
Consolacao right: a right hand point, pretty mellow wave that can handle giant swell. Bring a big board and beware of the rocks when going in and out. You usually jump in from the rocks on the right which are called healing rocks (this is why you always see lots of old people sitting on the rocks).
Consolacao left: a steeper left hand point that ends on a sandy beach instead of on the rocks like his right handed brother.
Supertubos: Pipeline like beachbreak where going over the ledge requires some balls. Not for beginners because you have to be superfast or you will fly through the air together with the lip.
Molho Leste: A spot protected by the pier so this is the place to check if you have giant north swell and/or north wind.
Baleal: This is a long long sandy beach with many peaks. It is crescent shaped so one end can be offshore when other is onshore (almost).
Lagide: Mellow left but with a steep takeoff. Rocky bottom and lots of urchins.
Well, this is it. Can’t wait for the next trip to Peniche, until then some photos:
PS: if you have any questions about surfing in Peniche, ask in the comments and I’ll try to help.