You’ve pinned red tacks all over the map this year. Can you pick your favorite?
All of Europe was awesome, but Portugal especially. Ericeira is probably the most underrated place I’ve ever been to for waves. There’s a three-mile stretch of breaks that are all completely different. You have righthand pointbreaks, you have beachbreaks, you have lefts, you have crazy, gnarly slabs. It reminds me of the North Shore, actually, how you have all these different waves so close to each other. If it gets small, you can always go to Nazaré, or even Peniche. The place is wave-country.
Tell me about surfing The Cave.
That wave is one of the scariest I’ve ever surfed. It’s a butterfly wave - the butterflies get going the minute you look at it [Laughs]. When you watch it from the cliff, you see this perfect-looking barrel rifle across, and you’re already on your way to the shore. Then, on low tide, the reef suddenly pops out of the water, and it stops you cold. It’s a dangerous wave where selection is a top concern. When you pick one, you have to put your head down, send it, and hope for the best, because it could definitely put you out for a long time.
But in that sense, the danger makes The Cave appealing, too. The scariest waves are always the most fun for me. You don’t get your blood going on the ‘QS most of the time [Laughs]. When you go to a wave that gets your heart pumping, it’s a good thing. Even more so if it’s a steppy, gnarly right. Scary, but worth the reward.
Photo Above & Photos Below: Matthews