The Rip Curl Pro Search is delayed, but that didn't stop us
By Chas Smith
The contest has been put on hold today because of fog. It was to move to the fourth beach in five days. It is fortuitous because I ran to Lisbon last night in a fit of desperation. The town of Peniche is small. Quaint. It smells of fish. And while the locals are more than friendly, I needed something big. Bigger than life. So I ran to Lisbon for a night full of awesome and mojitos.
The drive from Peniche to Lisbon is not long and even shorter when behind the wheel of a new BMW. The corners melt away and the vineyards speed by in a blur of solid green. I listened to Blur. And thought about the European leg of the world tour.
Many complain. About the lack of waves and the lack of consistency. Some devise bold schemes, like making the whole European leg one waiting period and running France, Mundaka and, this year, Portugal whenever they are best. Mundaka broke three days ago in perfection. Salt in the ASP's wound. But logistically it is very impossible. Easy to talk from the sidelines but these events take months of planning. They take hundreds of people working in fairly precise coordination. They are not easy affairs.
I heard a writer say, "It has finally been proved. Europe is bollocks. Jerermy Flores is shit and so are the waves. Let's give it all up." He was kidding, but the sentiment is out there. Many think that WCT events should disappear from Europe all together. That it is simply too inconsistent.
Those many can shut the f–k up. Nowhere but nowhere on tour can you eat flaky croissants and drink espresso the way it is supposed to be drunk. Nowhere can you speed a new BMW past old world vineyards. Nowhere can you gamble away hundreds of Euros and weep on the arm of a Parisean beauty. Nowhere.
The whole tour should be only done in Europe. Or at least three events every single year.
Lisbon is one of my favorite cities in the world. It has old-world charm but is perfectly forgotten. It has the wilting pressure of abuse. Built on a series of either seven or five hills (I can never remember) it cascades toward the water in glorious light. The neighborhoods are distinct. The food fabulous.
In Lisbon I didn't sleep. I gambled, I clubbed, I destroyed my hotel room. Or maybe this morning I slept. It is all still foggy.