Life In Peniche

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Today was a good day to play cards. So was yesterday. Tomorrow probably will be, too. When the 2014 Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal decided to go to sleep for a few days, the whole of Portugal felt like doing the same. A large swell with intermittent rain showers and a herculean wind — onshore at Supertubos and offshore on the Praia D’El Rey side, where everyone stays — has set the stage for a whole lot of nothing in terms of surf competition. Life outside the singlet, though, carried on like always. Just at a slow pace — wanna play War or Go Fish next? And should we open another bottle of wine?

On that aforementioned big swell and those aforementioned offshore winds: A match made in heaven in the mind, a surplus of paddling for an average wave in reality. There were essentially two options offered in a variety of ways. Option 1 was to surf big, frumpy Why is this drop taking so long walls at one of the waves that gets full swell exposure. Option 2 was to pursue life, liberty, happiness a few bowls at one of the more protected spots. A lot of folks opted for option two, mostly at one specific wave that happens to be the hub of a big surf camp. This resulted in a lot of bright wetsuits and an interesting game for a portly online editor to play while waiting for a wave on the inside: Is that fluorescent thing paddling a professional surfer in a team suit or is it an audacious surf camper in a rental suit? When the answer was the former, it looked like exceptional surfing in difficult waves. When the answer was the latter, it looked like one of the horseman of the apocalypse. Untrained longboards + stiff offshores in actual waves = two locomotives colliding.

Nazaré Canyon was also meant to break today, and it did — just not at that death-defying 450ft+ size that rivets every Anderson Cooper from here to PBS. Garrett McNamara was there, duh, but the stern side/offshore wind made it not even worth an XXL award. Garrett was seen afterwards about town, with Jet Skis and Mercedes surfboards everywhere and I’m not kidding when I say that he actually looked silver — which further escalates my speculation that he is not a human being all. Just a walking, talking action figure.

In other rumors, Gabriel Medina allegedly brought a bunch of his family with him for the not-so-farfetched instance that he wins a world title. He also has a bad haircut. Meanwhile, Kolohe Andino shaved his face and no longer looks like he’s viable to whip out an acoustic guitar and start jamming some Dave Matthews Band at any given point in time. That’s comforting. Michel Bourez is still smiling and Matt Wilkinson loves crepes. Life as usual.

Another lay day has already been called for tomorrow. Monday is said to be the day — The Day — at Supertubos with the swell forecasted to still be popping off and the winds predicted to be a bit more neighborly. The contest needs three more days to run and has a full week to do it. It currently looks like it’ll go on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday but we all know that ocean and her ways. I dare you to challenge her to a game of Bullshit. —Brendan Buckley