How do secret spots become popular? Find out how 6 of Portugal’s best waves lost their “secret” status…

Praia de São Julião – Ericeira

Kept a secret until the 90’s, São Julião was known only to the locals. Visiting surfers would focus more on spots they could see from the road, like Foz do Lizandro, Reef, and Ribeira D’Ilhas, and, of course, Coxos, Ericeira’s best spot. It would have stayed a secret spot for a longer if it hadn’t been for the 1996 O’Neill Buondi Pro event. This 5 star Qualifying Series event was set to run in Ribeira D’Ilhas but the swell wasn’t right and the contest struggled to advance. Some competitors searched the coast and told WSL (then ASP) about how good the waves were at São Julião. The last 4 days were held there, in really fun waves, and by the end it wasn’t a secret spot any more.

Find out how to get there, HERE (coming soon)!
What to do after surfing? Check out some suggestions HERE…

 

Praia de São Julião - Photo by Pedro Mestre

Praia de São Julião

 

Praia da Aguda – Sintra

Praia da Aguda has a similar story to Praia de São Julião. Surfed mostly by Sintra residents, Aguda is located between Praia das Maçãs, in Colares, and Magoito. With over 100 stairs to walk up and down from the break and so many other spots nearby it wasn’t surfed very often. In 1997, when the Championship Tour visited Sintra for the first (and only) time, everything changed. Praia Grande, the main location for the event, is one of the most consistent spots in Europe but the swell was off. Some competitors found Aguda and a couple of days later the event was on and the spot was forever on the map. Secret or not, it’s still a great option to surf when Praia Grande, Pequena and Maçãs are crowded.

Find out how to get there, HERE (coming soon)!
What to do after surfing? Check out some suggestions HERE

 

(Portuguese ripper, Zé Ferreira, surfing at Zavial and other spots in Algarve)

 

Zavial – Raposeira

Known in the early 90’s as Z-Point, this barreling right-hander was consistently featured in the local surf magazines, but no location was disclosed. As the south of Portugal became a big destination for surfers all over the country, the secret couldn’t be kept and it became one of the most sought-after spots in Algarve.

Find out how to get there, HERE!
What to do after surfing? Check out some suggestions HERE

 

Jardim do Mar

Jardim do Mar

 

Jardim do Mar & Paul do Mar – Madeira Island

Madeira Island, in general, was thought to have no waves. That lasted until the mid 90’s when national and international surf magazines started posting big articles about an “Atlantic Treasure”. Eventually the media started giving out more and more details and, once the secret was out, it became known as Europe’s Hawaii. Jardim do Mar and Paulo do Mar, two of the islands best waves, were soon holding big events and being ridden by surfers from all over the World.

Find out how to get there, HERE!
What to do after surfing? Check out some suggestions HERE

 

Coxos

Coxos

 

Coxos – Ericeira

Nowadays it’s one of the most well known waves in Europe but in the early 70’s it was known by just a few locals and traveling surfers. Other spots in Ericeira, like Ribeira D’Ilhas and São Lourenço, were very popular at the time and that’s where most surfers would go. There was no road to Baía dos Dois Irmãos, which worked well for those who knew about and didn’t share. But, by the end of the 70’s, the word got out and it became famous worldwide. Despite all the attention, it’s still a spot with minimal crowds on many days.

Find out how to get there, HERE!
What to do after surfing? Check out some suggestions HERE…

 

(Tiago Pires getting barreled at Coxos)