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There’s nothing quite like surfing in the middle of the Atlantic ocean nestled by the breathtaking cliffs of the Algarve coast. As a child I wondered what it would feel like to fly; to be free and weightless, unencumbered by a mechanical device. The sensation associated with surfing can only be described as floating on air; feeling feather-light, being carried by a curling wave, becoming aware of your body again only when you come cascading back down.
If I am completely honest, the first couple of days were a little less graceful than that. An unexpected forecast of heavy rain and chances of a storm (and nothing but a suitcase packed with summer clothes in anticipation for some Mediterranean sun) had dampened my excitement upon my arrival to Lagos in March. ‘With bad weather comes good waves’ my instructor assured me. But fear and doubt had already started settling in. Would I manage to survive the rough waves on my first attempt on a surfboard? Or, would I get carried out to sea never to be seen again? My anxiety and irrational thoughts vanished after my first lesson, which consisted mainly of paddling as fast as I could to try and move at a fast enough speed to get carried by a wave. Although the waves seemed a little daunting at first, rising high above my head as if I was about to be swallowed by the ocean, my first surfing experience proved to be a great deal of fun. I can’t say that I caught any waves that day but after hours of getting dragged around by my surfboard, which was attached to my ankle, there was no doubt that the waves had definitely caught me.
In the world of work, each of us crave a sense of accomplishment when adrift in a sea of competition. The thrill of standing up on a surfboard for the first time is a shortcut to that feeling and can make you drunk with the sense of achievement. Apart from being ‘at one with the ocean’ it’s clear that the sense of achievement is a clear reason for surf addiction. So, despite the falls, the number of times I got grazed by the fins or tangled in the leash, I still got back up and headed out again…
Portugal itself is the land of hidden delights, natural beauty and the promise of new beginnings; with its caves that hold a world of underground mysteries, its golden beaches enclosed by sandstone cliffs that are carved into grottos and energising sun that brings with it an unshakeable sense of optimism. Portugal has everything to offer for a holiday that will leave you feeling revitalised.
The Algarve is the perfect escape for all types of activities. It is a popular destination for surfers due to the variety of beaches that it has to offer which means that there are plenty of options to choose from whether you are after clean, flat waves or bigger swells. If you are after something a little less physically demanding, why not take a paddleboard tour to explore the subterranean beauty of Portugal’s caves and afterwards enjoy a tall glass of Galão (Portuguese coffee) by the coast? On the other hand, if you are looking to let your hair down and have a good time, you won’t be let down by the dynamic Lagos nightlife where you can find spacious bars such as Nah Nah Bah and The Three Monkeys that offer a selection of cocktails and party beats all night long.
As well as being the ideal location for energetic sports, the Algarve is also a region immersed in history providing sights such as Roman ruins, castles of Arab construction and city walls that date back to the 16th century. One thing is for sure, there is something in the Algarve to suit every taste.
Words: Yashi Banymadhub
The UoB Linguist Magazine
Guild of Students,
University of Birmingham