Surfing Ericeira: A uniquely Portuguese product

Surfing Ericeira – a cure for the economic crisis?

You can’t export or import great surf breaks, waves, beaches or – for that matter – sunsets. Nor can you manufacture these things as products to be installed at any location. Yes, I’ve seen wave pools, but they are so far no substitute for the real thing. For a top surfing environment, like any natural attraction, you have to journey to where the waves are.

Globalization has a lot to answer for when it comes to the poor health of many economies. Portugal is a current example of the destructive economic policies of the European Union. People in Portugal, along with most of Europe, use German or Italian appliances and buy cheap Chinese items in French and German department stores and supermarkets. Portugal, like Greece, has been largely transformed from a manufacturing economy into a service economy.

But some things can neither be manufactured or imitated, what to speak of imported. Now, I don’t think of the nature of any country as a product per se, nor do I think it should be paid for. However, as surfing gains popularity, it attracts tourists, professional and amateur events, and students wishing to learn the joys of surfing. Undoubtedly these things boost the local economies of places like Ericeira. In short, surfing Ericeira means more visitors and more money for the town.

A surfer and professor at ISCTE business school in Lisbon puts it this way (my translation from an article in Dinheiro Vivo):

A wave like Supertubos in Peniche can not be imitated by the Chinese, and the Germans are not going to be able to make a wave better than Coxos in Ericeira.

Take that Merkel! You may have Volkswagens, but we have waves, sun and sand!

And it’s not just European surfers who enjoy surfing Ericeira, but even surfers from Australia, a country known for its great waves, will journey across the globe for Portugal’s unique surf spots.

From the Australian:

Glance at a map and you’ll understand why. Within sight of the western tip of continental Europe, Ericeira is subject to whatever is hurled at it by the Atlantic. Couple consistency with ideal geology – rivers that sculpt the sandbars on beaches, slabby reefs that jut from cliffs – and you have surf nirvana. There are 22 breaks around Ericeira alone and probably more if the locals revealed some secret spots. Whatever your ability, at some time somewhere, your dream wave will break hereabouts.

To travel from one country with its own World Surfing Reserve to another is a sure sign of respect!

surfing ericeira

Coxos: Surfing Ericeira, Portugal, pic: Bartolomeo Koczenasz (Flickr CC)

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