A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing
I woke up in the middle of the night to the musical stylings of inebriated tourists, screaming the lyrics of classic hit songs at the top of their lungs. The following morning was the same but different; 6 of 1, dozen of the other. We were constantly yelled at by aggressive bodyboarders for even looking at a wave in their lineup. Apparently in Portugal, whoever yells the loudest gets the wave.
We swallowed our pride, surfed what was available and always anticipated tomorrow. This unfortunate continuance became an unbreakable pattern of our own perception. But where did we go wrong? The swell had arrived, our AirB&B owner played tour guide and we even found a Swedish local intel who advised where to surf with the various tides and wind. The wind. That damn wind! The idea that howling wind from the North was the new offshore is nothing more than a wolf wrapped in sheep’s clothing.
Moments of perfection is all you need to trick an Instagram audience. As far as everyone back home was concerned, we were absolutely scoring. Groundhog day had started to form within our crews routine: Up at 5am, to check every nearby break at first light and take advantage of our saving grace - light NE wind. Nothing says desperation like the salvation of cross-shore wind. Somewhere between our brief morning surfs and afternoon espresso, this wind would unfavourably switch and build, right on cue. Causing us to spend the rest of our precious daylight in a cramped van driving up and down the coast praying to find a nook or cranny for protection. Then finally settling for a Super Bock and a sunset, which is always a 5-Star rating.
For the media men of this particular endeavour, our productivity was compared to digging a hole in a brick wall with a tea spoon; You’ll get through eventually, just have to keep chipping away. We were running on the fumes of empty wine bottles and optimism at this point, to keep team moral high. The forecast continued to promise us our day of glory, but in reality we were continuously haunted by the undesirable Northern gusts. One day? One session? One hour?! That’s all we needed to be able to leave with some sense of accomplishment.
Noah’s surf film ‘Transition’ is what brought us all together and that theme of transitioning is what progressed our spirits and adjusted our attitude toward this search of unrealistic perfection. Somewhere between Michael’s early departure and Shannon late arrival is where we all transitioned to becoming content with our current situation. The weight on our shoulders was lifting, about what this was or what it could be. It’s never comforting to view photos and watch videos of previously pumping conditions, wondering “Why not here? Why not now?” It’s unbelievable how social media has unintentionally achieved perceiving that everywhere is always better than where you are. Comparison is the thief of joy.
With our stint in Europe coming to an end, we discovered all the cliche sayings were true: That good things do come to those who wait, persistence does pay off and nice guys do finish last. That last one’s ironic, I know. But on our final day of the trip, we were graciously blessed with a sweet breeze from the East. What we had been waiting for this whole time was ours to embrace. Not only that, but we discovered a completely empty beach break to enjoy all to ourselves. Not even a bodyboarder in sight. This time the only people shouting at us were each other, into set waves.