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Stormrider Guide to surfing Ericeira

Portugal, EUROPE

Ericeira surf at Coxos, Ricardo Bravo


+ Super-consistent - Few sheltered breaks
+ Concentration of spots - Limited wind options
+ World-class reefs and points - Cool water year-round
+ Relatively cheap Euro destination - Crowded Coxos

Ericeira surf can be considered the centre of the Portuguese scene with its concentration of classy breaks a mere 30km from Lisbon.

Ericeira surf has no shortage of Atlantic swell to play with, shaping up some killer waves. Numerous classic reef set ups, rocky headlands and small rivermouth bays shape the swells into world class waves such as Coxos. It doesn’t quite have the wind protection of Peniche and big, stormy swells tend to favour the south-facing coast of Lisbon, but for consistent quality and challenging waves, Ericeira rules.

When to Go

Ericeira’s swell and wind synopsis is identical to Peniche, but the wind options are less flexible. All the breaks require E or even SE winds for due offshore so the summer Nortada is obviously bad news. Winter storms can mean some driving around to find places offering shelter from the wind and swell, which means Peniche or Lisbon. Autumn with its more easterly airflow is the best bet, but Ericeira can turn it on at any time of the year. Low tide can be suicidal on some reefs.

Surf Spots


dominant swell W -N W -N W -N W -N W -N W -N
swell size (ft) 6-7 6 4-5 3 5 6
consistency (%) 60 60 60 50 80 70
dominant wind N -E NW -NE NW -N NW -N NW -NE N -E
average force F4 F4 F3-F4 F3-F4 F3-F4 F4
consistency (%) 71 54 65 55 51 73
water temp (C) 13 14 16 18 17 15
wetsuit 4/3 4/3 3/2 3/2 3/2 3/2

Travel Information

The climate in Portugal is very pleasant year round. Ericeira and Peniche are in the middle of the country, stuck between the dry Algarve and the damp regions north of Porto. The wettest season starts in November and lasts until March-April, and there is even snow in the Serra da Estrela (the snow resorts are only reliable in February). The best climate occurs during the change over seasons, even though mid-summer rarely gets too hot on the coast. The Nortada (north winds) always cool things down and conspire with the cold Canarian Current to prevent the water from ever reaching boardshorts temperature. A light 2/2 or 3/2 steamer will do except in mid-winter when a 4/3 and boots are necessary.

Lodging and Food
Apart from high season (June-Sept), finding quartos (rooms) or flats in Ericeira/Ribamar is easy. The Tourismos keep accommodation lists or ask at the restaurants. Ericeira has a wide variety of pensãoes and hotels starting at $20-$25/d. A meal is ±$6 if you can resist the more expensive seafood.

Nature and Culture
Ericeira is a typical fishing/tourist town with pastelerias, pretty streets and churches. It’s lively year round because of its proximity to Lisbon, but still fairly low key. A Saturday night out in Lisbon’s Barrio Alto district can be interesting, as thousands of people pour onto the streets to drink themselves stupid. Don’t miss Sintra, and the majestic castles of the old Royal City nearby.

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