Portugal One – Old World New: Griffin Colapinto

Old World New: Griffin Colapinto

Nic Von Rupp, Griffin Colapinto, Parker Coffin and others find fresh perspectives and plenty of waves in ancient Portugal.

Last fall we explored the Portuguese coast with Griffin Colapinto, Parker Coffin and local Nic Von Rupp. Old World, fresh faces. Nic led us to perfect waves and ancient castles. Parker kept us laughing. Griffin peed his pants from laughing so hard. It happens. We documented the trip on yellow notepads and RED cameras, made a magazine feature [as seen in our March 2014 issue] and a three part, multimedia Web story, which you’re about to enjoy. Meet the characters, explore the place, scroll around and don’t be afraid to get lost. Old World, new media.


Griffin Colapinto:

The Gelato Gambler

Coming in from a beachbreak called Lizandro, Griffin watches the empty peaks at dusk and, out of nowhere, says, “When I was younger, I flew for the first time on my own to Hawaii. I was so nervous about it that I didn’t eat all day, and while I was on the plane, I got lightheaded, was walking down the aisle and fainted. I hit my chin on a tray table and it was a scene.” He shrugs and then turns grave, as if remembering something very important, “We’re gonna get ice cream after this, right?”

This is a typically Griffin-esque story. The random anecdote just an added fun fact from his life, setting up for the point, which is commonly ice cream. Or surfing. And in between the two to fill the gaps: gambling. Namely blackjack. And Griffin is the kind of card shark that Mark Healey couldn’t take. In fact, to quench his ice cream addiction, (or gelato, as it’s known here), Griff uses his blackjack addiction to pay for the scoops. Basically, anyone around him that feels like playing cards, also pays for his ice cream.

Griffin is also young and carefree and floats through life like an untethered balloon. Even in the Old World, through serious stone, ancient history, dead wars and vacant forts, Griffin drifts along with a smile full of braces glued to his face.

He floats on absurd, spontaneous laughter. He dances often, sings a fair bit, too. Transforms simple observations into a song. We are in Ericeira, Portugal, so he begins to rap, "Eri-eri, eri-eri-ceir-raahhh" like a scratched record on an imaginary turntable, one hand to his ear like a DJ. Ericeira, by the way, is the town we’re in, a quaint fishing village loaded with various coves, slabs, points and other beachies, not far from Lisbon. And Griffin’s right: The word is in fact very fun to say.

Fresh off the L.A. to Lisbon redeye, it’s nearly impossible to walk straight.
After listening to Parker’s stories for 12 hours, it’s also impossible to not pee your pants from laughing.
Our hotel behind the beachie.
Griffin floats on absurd, spontaneous laughter. He dances often, sings a fair bit, too. Transforms simple observations into a song…
The boys refuse to exit the water until the sun has exited the horizon.
“Griffin’s like two totaly different people. In the water, he’s one of best kids in the world for his age, but on land — totally clueless.”

—Parker Coffin
Griffin and Parker traded licks in the water between constant hecklings on land.
Local boy Nic Von Rupp pointed the way and had every spot he took us to wired. And lucky for us, Nic likes to get tubed.

Still in the water on his fourth session of the day, Griffin makes each session look more inviting than the next. Griffin has that special power to make windblown peaks look appealing. He’s got that psych on life that’s magnetic, and at 15, is still many miles away from jaded.

In Portugal, a grom such as Griffin takes in the sights with open arms. Newness is always interesting. All the villages with carroty, clay roofs and tiled alleys. The storybook streets with mosaics of pirate ships and medieval crests. The shops and cafes with soccer games blaring through the open doors. The palaces and forts peaking through the forests. But a grommet also searches for the best gelato shop. And the rampiest peak.

Finally surrendering to the night’s darkness, Griffin loads his board into the van. Beside us, Matt Meola and Albee Layer are doing the same, as they’d coincidentally surfed this last session with us too. Matt is recounting a tale about getting head lice from Craig Anderson on a boat trip some years back, and Griffin overhears the story.

“Aw, you guys talking about head lice? I’ve gotten that at least three times,” says Griffin, with a look like, who hasn’t gotten lice? He goes on for a few minutes about the details of each infestation and, of course, by the end of it asks quite seriously, “We’re stopping for gelato before the hotel, right?”

Checking the beachbreaks in Portugal was more ritual than necessity as guys like Nic, Parker and Grffin were out there no matter what.
Parker Coffin, spun-out on options on one of many Portuguese sandbars.
Parker stuck this backside grab at the beachie by the hotel on his very first wave this session.

“My first experience in Portugal? Well, the people are cool, the food is good. The bread is good, too, and I love bread. There’s also a great mixture of beach and reef breaks…but maybe France has that, too. I dunno, I’ve never been anywhere
else in Europe. Did I say the bread was good?” —Griffin Colapinto

End of

Photography by Corey Wilson
Videography by Sean Benik

Special thanks to
Monster Energy
SATA Airlines
Turismo de Lisboa

For even more photos
and the full-length Old World New story, pick up SURFING Magazine’s March 2014 issue on newsstands now