It was time to escape. We were done. Tapped out.
A week of festivities during the contest in France with an embarrassingly small amount of surfing had us refocused on what actually matters, so we left for Portugal. A perhaps unimaginative trajectory as the entire surfing world does the same thing, with its sights firmly set on Peniche (decline to comment, editors note), but we set our sights much further south. The Algarve. We gathered a merry crew: Chippa Wilson, Brendon Gibbens and Noah Collins. We rented a team manager and we hit the road.
But before you get to the Algarve, you have you start with Spain. Spain, as it turns out, is a huge country. Unfathomable distances, grass plains, grass plains, mountains in the distance, Salamanca, more grass plains. Cepsa, Repsol. Ham sandwiches. Sweaty cheese. Lots of Interpol. Silence. Laughter. 12 hours later, we are finally in the Algarve. What did we learn on the way? Not much. Chippa has an incredible talent for finding strawberry Mentos in a tube, though we are undecided whether that is talent or pure chance. Noah Collins likes sleeping. A lot.
For those of you unfamiliar with Noah Collins he is a supremely polite young man hailing from Los Angeles with an impressive eye for design of the textile discipline and an enviable forehand carve. He had been hanging around Biarritz for a few weeks and over a bottle of Rioja at Bar Jean it was decided he would be thrown in the van. We learnt Brendon Gibbens has truly been on a health mission. He eats unbelievably well. He eats an unbelievable amount. He’s been sober since almost a year. I look at Brendon and feel bad about how I live my life.
But I digress, oh the Algarve!
Such warmth, such affordable prices. The Algarve is a dream. It is a west coast to pick up swell and a south coast to shelter you. There are options for wind. Sagres the beer, cold served in crystal is delicious. Sagres, the town is always warm and always delightful. Lagos equally so. The early days of the trip were marred by inconsistent swell and wind. Too big for the west coast. Too small for the south. Not to worry. We kill time. We eat. We sunbathe. We drink. We Scroll. We dip into Lagos. Inhibitions are loosened.
The swell arrives — a return to normal programming. The west and the south. The west is modor-esq black cliffs in the cloud and the south is novelty beachbreaks with the most marvellous of backdrops in the sun. We indulge in the convenience of geographical location and bounce on to Ericeira. The cobbled streets, the light and the mysto left are beckoning. In true fashion, Portugal delivers and we surf until the very last smudge of light over the Atlantic, and as the inky blackness descends we clink Super Bocks and with weary eyes we reluctantly pack the van. It was time to head north. For some would stay in Portugal. Others would head to France. Others to LA. Others to Japan. Wetsuits still wet on arrival in Shibuya.
A Wasted Talent short film, supported by Monster Energy.
Filmed by Yentl Touboul & Guillem Cruells
Edited by Yentl Touboul
Production & words by Alexei Obolensky
Graphics by George Hatton
Photography by Yentl Touboul & Joao Bracourt