Surfing in Madeira

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Surfing first started in the Portuguese island of Madeira in the 1970s off the villages of Paul do Mar, Jardim do Mar and Ponta Pequena. Almost every surfspot is rocky and powerful. No waves seem to break under six feet in the winter months. Madeira did not really come to the attention of foreign surfers until articles in surfing magazines in the mid-1990s. Since 1996, top Portuguese surfers from the mainland compete in the Madeira regional edition of the 'Billabong' Challenge.[1]

In 2001, the World Big Wave Championships were held in Madeira.

One memorable session in the history of Madeira surfing occurred on 25 January 1995 at Jardim Do Mar. Portuguese big wave legend José Seabra and the Californian artist/rapper/surfer Ithaka rode absolutely flawless waves up to eight meters on the face by themselves, with no other surfers in the water. Photographs of the session by João Valente have appeared in publications around the world including the cover of Surf Portugal Magazine. The conditions which were some of the cleanest and glassiest ever recorded at the classic big wave point break inspired Ithaka to write the song "Seabra Is Mad"[2] about Seabra's performance on that day. The song was released on Ithaka's 2nd album Stellafly (1997) and was later awarded both "Song Of The Year" and "Video Of The Year" by the national newspaper Público,[3] as well a being nominated for "Song Of The Year" at that year's annual Premios Blitz (the Portuguese equivalent of The Grammy Awards). Ithaka also wrote two other songs inspired by surfing in Madeira, "Eden By The Sea" (also from the album Stellafly) and "Been Four Years" (album Flowers And The Color Of Paint). In 2012, Paul Mandaca, a Brazilian blues rock performer used a version of "Eden By The Sea" as the title track of his debut album.

Madeira's surfspots[edit]

Paul do Mar beach, Madeira
  • Paul do Mar: this surf spot according to surf experts [4] has the best barrelling waves (also known as tubular or tunnel waves) on the island. Both stand-up surfing and bodyboarding are practised at this spot. The ISA World Surf championships have been hosted on the islands which are better known to be held in areas such as Hawaii. Paul do Mar region of the island is respected throughout the surf community as it offers eight-metre-high (26 ft) waves and fantastic tubular tunnels.[5] The World Big Wave Championships 2001 was held at Paul do Mar.[6]
  • Ponta Pequena: another perfect right-hander. Punta Pequena is situated between Jardim do Mar and Paul do Mar
  • Lugar de Baixo: really hollow and fast.
  • São Vicente: on the north coast is a calmer spot suitable for beginners and intermediate surfers. Here a surf school is based.
  • Jardim do Mar: the right-hander. Surfing at Jardim is only for the experienced as the waves break large. They start at around two metres and reeling right-handers can reach five metres sweeping along the rocky point. Jardim do Mar was documented in Jacob Holcomb's film Lost Jewel of the Atlantic. The film featured a song entitled Who's The Enemy?, by surfer-rappers Ithaka and Gabriel o Pensador. [7][8]

The beaches off Funchal, Madeira's capital, sometimes have fun left-handers.[citation needed]


External links[edit]