Introducing Season 2: Episode 6 of our original series celebrating the world’s leading surfing communities by showcasing their unique wave landscapes, culture and local surfers, as documented by resident filmmakers. Watch Season 1 here and check out the full schedule below for future episodes.
Video: Luís “Ben” de Sá
In terms of variety, few places on Earth can compete with Portugal’s plethora of world-class wave landscapes. You know how you know What was once the most famous wave in the country, the powerful pointbreak to the right of Coxos, is barely mentioned. This is how the other spots are good.
Portugal has arguably the toughest big wave in the world (Nazaré Canyon to Praia do Norte), one of the most bloodthirsty straight slabs in the world (Cave), one of the best jetty corners in Europe (Figueira da Foz), one of the most regular competition venues (Ribeira D’ilhas) and a beachbreak with such superb barrels, that’s exactly what they named it (Supertubos).
If that wasn’t enough, Portugal also has two sets of islands, Madeira and the Azores, under its governance and so many beachbreaks, reefbreaks, pointsbreaks, slabs, jetties, lefts, rights, A-frames and novelties scattered along its 530 miles of coastline, one would have to be lobotomized to lose interest in it. And there is surfing all year round (although fall and winter are the best). And with all its peninsulas, somewhere is still offshore.
Basically there is Heaven, there is Earth, and somewhere in the space in between is Portugal.
Nazaré Cam | Supertubos Camera | Peniche Forecast | Ribeira by Ilhas Cam | Cam from Carcavelos
SEASON TWO SCHEDULE
October 8: Bali by Scotty Hammonds
October 15: Ireland by Clem McInerney
October 22: Santa Barbara by Ryan Perry
October 29: Jeffreys Bay by Alan Van Gysen
November 5: Tahiti by Tim McKenna
November 12: Portugal by Luís “Ben” de Sá
November 19: Gold Coast by Lachlan McKinnon
November 26: Maui by Dan Norkunas
Interview with the director: Luís “Ben” de Sá
How did you get started in surf photography / video?
I guess my first interest in surf photography was in 1999 when I bought a disposable waterproof film camera with a few friends, and we photographed ourselves surfing all day. Later, in 2013-14, I got my first camera and that’s when I started to fall in love with imagery and the art of capturing, collecting and editing. Since then, photography and videography have been part of my life.
How long have you been touring?
I have been filming and collecting images since I was 13, so 18 now. But professionally for four years.
I was a competitive bodyboarder at a young age and got a few national titles from 10 to 18 years old. When I was 20, I moved from Nazaré to the south bank of the Tagus in Lisbon to enlist in the “Fuzileiros” (Portuguese Marines). I served from 2010 to 2017. Even while away, I kept my passion for the ocean, the waves and the video. I invested in new gear, and when I left the Marines and returned to Nazaré in 2017 (with no idea what I was going to do), I put all my time and my passion into making little surf videos for my youtube channel. It started to grab people’s attention and slowly turned into my job. Things have been going very quickly over the past few years. I have participated in so many projects that two years ago I decided to create my own company and media brand: Above Creators. The best is yet to come.
Where is your favorite place to film in your hometown area and why?
My local beach, Praia do Norte, Nazaré. Most people only know Nazaré for its giant waves, but the truth is Praia do Norte offers epic surf from 4ft to 100ft. With beautiful landscapes and so many different places and angles to photograph, anything can happen.
What are some of your favorite premises to photograph and why?
The Nazaré crew is breaking down barriers, that’s what I love the most. When you turn to Nazaré and you have that “anything can happen” vibe, nothing can match it.
What kind of conditions do you prefer to shoot?
Heavy waves of consequence – these are the types of waves that I love to surf and this is what has fascinated me all my life. I love to capture knotty waves in knotty conditions.
Dawn patrol or evening drink?
The two! But if I had to choose, I would say sunset is my favorite time of day.
What are some of your biggest inspirations behind the lens?
I am inspired by everywhere. I admire Laurent Pujol and Tim Bonython for the beautiful aquatic images they capture with cinema cameras. Locally, Hélio António is my close friend and a great inspiration. He probably has my favorite photographic archive in the world. Tim McKenna, Corey Wilson, Ray Collins, Kirvan Baldassari… the list goes on and on.
What was your first camera?
Sony DCR-TRV3, MiniDV thing! God knows how difficult it was for me to extract these files. This camera was roughed up by all my friends, and we took pictures that still live today. It ended up being stolen, but left beautiful memories.
The equipment of choice for shooting today?
My Gold Wave Solutions water box is my favorite piece of equipment.
What sets your home region apart from other surf areas?
At such a short distance we have so many different types of waves on the west coast of Portugal: the epic and giant waves of Nazaré, of course; the powerful beachbreaks of Peniche and its queen, Supertubos; a wedgie pearl a little further to the east; Steep Ericeira with heavy slabs and reefbreaks to suit all tastes; and without forgetting the hidden ruptures between the two.
How would you describe the local team of surfers in your area?
Here on the west coast of Portugal we have a few different surfing teams. But the ones I spend the most time with are the ones who love to ride big waves: the local bodyboarders from Nazaré, the big wave surfers and the slab hunters – a bunch of crazy guys who are always on the hunt for the best. wave of their life.
When it’s pumping, what kind of waves can people expect from you?
On a good swell you can have giant waves in Nazaré, epic beachbreak barrels at Supertubos, and heavy square barrels at some of our slabs – sometimes all in the same day.
Any advice for future directors / photographers?
Trust your vision. Stay above the ordinary.