Portugal Two – Old World New: Parker Coffin

Old World New: Parker Coffin

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.

"You think..." says Parker Coffin, pausing for emphasis, "That Griffin will get to see his first pair of European boobies on the beach today?" he says with a grin.

On the edge of an empire, on the ledge of Iberia, with their backs to the Old World, the boys stare at the sea. It is morning in Ericeira, Portugal and 18-year-old Parker Coffin looks down from a cliff at an overhead lefthander, empty and oily in the windless dawn. Parker, Griffin Colapinto, and Nic Von Rupp study the surf in silence, a silence that seems to preface some profound observation. And Parker took a crack.

Griffin blushes and protests, "I saw a topless girl laying out at Off the Wall last winter!"

"She may not have been European, though," says Parker, grabbing Griffin into a noogie-laden headlock.

Here in the Old World, the roles have reversed and Parker, once a younger brother, is now older brother to Griffin and dishes out the grom abuse in bountiful servings.

"Looks tearable out there boys. We’re on it," decides Parker. Ironically, though Nic has been showing us around — Nic being the local Portuguese pro surfer and resident national — Parker’s been calling all the shots. He’s also coined the term "tearable," or waves that can be thoroughly torn apart.

Parker, assessing the paddle-out before destroying countless waves - and boards - at the fantastic lefthander. According to local, Nic Von Rupp, the winds were unseasonably epic.
"Looks tear-able out there boys. We’re on it."

—Parker Coffin

Nic Von Rupp, giving us a visual definition of Parker’s new term, tearable.
Nic Von Rupp knows this wave like the back of his hand - even the boogie boarders look to him for where to sit.
Griffin, off the bottom, on a frosty left coincidentally called Pedra Branca, or "White Rock."
Parker obliterates his board on a bizarre lowtide drainer... By trip’s end, Parker will have broken most of them.

Just because a board’s broken doesn’t mean it doesn’t have any life left in it. Parker, Old World healing rituals.

And indeed the lefthander is quite tearable. Parker, Nic and Griffin indulge for several hours before Parker obliterates his board on a bizarre lowtide drainer that catches him off guard. By trip’s end, Parker will have broken most of his boards. Parker gets into sticky situations like that often. Before the trip even really begun, while on the plane in the middle of the night, Parker had to use the bathroom. The man next to him was fast asleep, so Parker decided to climb over the guy by standing on the arm rests. But Parker slipped and dropped into the stranger’s lap, straddling the man, face-to-face. A very sticky situation.

It’s how Parker negotiates such scenarios in life that are his strong suit. Like his surfing, he’s got a great recovery. From fins-sliding to fins-catching and into the next bottom turn, Parker has that quality about him - that perpetual look of, "That all you got?"

Coming in from the surf with broken board in hand, Parker sees the castle winking at us from the distant hilltop. He points to it. "Let’s go there."

Along the way, the whitewashed towns are medieval and sleepy, every chimney has its own little roof and Portuguese town folk converse halfway into the streets. We follow the signs to a town called Sintra and approach a dark and mossy forest. Along the way Parker does an impromptu standup bit, playing comedian, audience and heckler.

We follow a trail through the forest that leads us to the fortress gates. To the Moorish Castle, the majestic remains of when Portugal was once ruled by North Africa. The boys look out at the Old World from the lookout towers and discuss topics of worth on stone steps many centuries old. Topics like, "What kind of princesses and babes was this place holding back in the day?."

We take some group pics by an old window and catch Parker raising his heels against the wall to add some height. He winks and says, "Can’t have the grom looking taller than me."

Through the lookout towers it is impossible to tell if any woman on the shore is or is not topless. Or even European.

With all his boards broken and a sudden shift in wind, it seemed like a good time to visit the Castle of the Moors.
But even in this 1,000-year-old fort, the boys stare back at the sea. Nic and Parker, the lookout men.
Old World, new stooges: Nic, Griff and Parker.
Parker has that quality about him - that perpetual look of, "That all you got?"

End of

Photography by Corey Wilson
Videography by Sean Benik
Story by Beau Flemister

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