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Simpel in Portugal with Alessandro

Sardinian surfer Alesandro Piu reflects on a trip to collect surfboards, catch up with the Simpel crew, sharing waves and good times in a recent trip to Portugal. Also re-connecting with old friends, exploring breathtaking vistas, and immersing himself in the vibrant culture found on the sun lit shores of Portugal's western coastline. 

 

 

 

Alessandro, what draws you to Portugal? 

Portugal is like second home for me. I've spent lot of time in Portugal since I was a kid. Portugal is the place where I surfed my first wave in the Ocean, I still remember that moment very clear. I love that Country, for me it’s the best place in Europe for sure when we talk about surfing and culture. 

I also used to compete around Portugal for the ASP pro juniors and QS. This is where I learned a lot about surfing and had the chance to make good local friends, so it holds a special place in me.

Was there anything in particular you had to do whilst you were there? 

I usually fly to Portugal from Sardinia Island because my shaper SPO is there, he is a legend. His factory is in Santa Cruz where I always spend several months during the year for training and test new boards. I picked up some new boards to test this time, which have been going great!

Did you expect to score during the trip? 

I didn't have big expectation for this trip because I knew that a big storm was coming, so I was hoping to find some waves in between the weather fronts. At the end I got lucky too, got some really fun waves with some good friends! 

How was is to catch up and surf with your friends over there? 

Surfing is about that, it has the power to cultivate strong friendships with people all over the world, especially in Portugal I have friends now that I consider brothers. I love surfing with no pressure around, just good vibes and seeing other friends shredding waves while I’m paddling back to the line up. Ifeels so motivating and inspiring. Training with them, I always feel like I learn something new, both in and out of the waterwhich is one of the best things. 

This trip I caught up with a few good friends and made new too. I spent some time with Samuel Cerne, he's an incredibly talented piano player and a great surfer. It's always a pleasure to catch up with him. I also spent some time with Vasco Ribeiro as there was a storm swell and it was pumping down at Caparica where he lives. He's great to surf and hang with, I had such a good time! 

One annoying thing; I forgot to bring a bottle of wine that was made in Sardinia, which I bought as a gift for one of my friends ahaha. Next time I’ll try to remember it! 

Were there any challenges or highlights during your trip? 

When I landed in Lisbon airport, I had to get the rental car and it took like 3 hours haha. Which meant when I got to Ericeira, it was around midnight ..! But the stoke was always high, these things happen! The highlight was seeing everyone and managing to get waves between the fronts. That's the beauty of surfing, nothings guaranteed, you can't always expect to get good waves. 

feel like this trip taught me to have more patience, with the big storm passing through so I couldn't surf as much as I wanted. Sometimes even if you're desperate to jump in the water and surf after a long flight, it's better to focus on other things like catching up with friends, check out new places, or get on top of some work. It can be magic when the forecast is really bad, you give up thinking about surfing and get productive, then out of nowhere sometimes a little window appears, and you score a fun surf. It's the best feeling!

What do you love about the waves along Portugal's western coastline?

In my opinion Portugal has got the best waves in Europe. It’s something different, the power and the conditions you can find are just next level! 

Sometimes you find barrels and other days you have fun little rippable waves. Portugal has waves almost every day and thousands of surf spots. If you surf, you don’t need anything else! Oh and food is just so tasty too! 

Can you share any memorable surf sessions in Portugal? 

My shaper Hugo took me to secret spot last year, he said to me “man I’ll show you my favorite wave, you will not believe it. When we got to the spot, I saw this slab breaking left and right, it was insane! We jumped into the water straight away and paddled out. I got the first wave after 5 minutes and got one of the best barrels of my life on my back hand. Hugo my shaper got the wave right behind and he came flying out of the barrel right in front of me. I was freaking out! We spent about 3 hours that day trading barrels and were all alone, such a great experience and one of the best memories for sure!

How does the relationship between you and your shaper work?

My shaper Hugo from SPO is like a second father to me, he doesn't only shape the best boards for me, but he is always there to give me tips about life and always helps me with accommodation when I need it over there. We are now collaborating together not only as a team member, but I am also distributing the SPO boards all over Italy, and people are falling in love with the factory and what he does. 

I’m so happy to contribute to the factory not only as a rider but also like their agent for my country. Being like family forms a great partnership as we have the same outlook, trust each other, listen to each other and work openly together to deliver a great product we both believe in. 

How does surfing in Portugal compare to your home surf spots in Sardinia?

Well first the Mediterranean Sea is not the ocean, so unfortunately you don’t get waves every day. When I spend time in Portugal I can surf almost every day, so I can make my routine between surfing, training and organizing my work. The power of the waves is different too, in Sardinia we get good waves that you would not believe, but every time I come back home after a surf trip in Portugal, I can feel a lot of difference in the power of the waves.  

Any thoughts on the surf culture in Portugal or the culture in general? 

The surf culture in Portugal is so strong and it has deep roots, I find there are many similarities with the Sardinian people in many aspects. There feel like a great sense of community where people seem to support each other.

Also, the young groms in Portugal are on fire, there's so much raw ability in the water. It is cool to see a new generation taking surfing to the next level! The cool thing is that everywhere I go in Portugal I aways see something new in relation to culture and surfing, that gives me a new perspective and inspiration. This is also why I love to spend a lot of time over there. 

Also, i have to say the Pastel de nata is the something I really miss when I fly back home. I have to control myself from eating too many during the day ahaha, they are sooo good. The food in Portugal is amazing, its mostly centred around seafood, I love barbequed fish. If you visit at the right time of the year they have the sardine festival, everyone cooks and sells fish from their barbeque in the street. It's a great experience!

How do you think travelling and spending time in places like Portugal has impacted your life?

For me traveling has been always my first school in life, I know I wouldn’t be the person I am today without experiences like that. Travelling and meeting new people always expands your awareness and I think teaches you patients and understanding you couldn't get if you didn't travel. 

The fact I have been connected with so many great people around the world has really helped me to grow, I've learnt something from every single person. I've spent time all over the world but a lot of time in Portugal over the years. I used to spend a lot of time in Hossegor too, but I find that Portugal has a lot more to offer for me. I am so thankful to my friends over there who have shown me what it means to be real friends. 

I think every trip has good and bad parts and teaches you something that will help you in life. That is the cool thing about being a surfer and travelling. 

You met up with some of the Simpel crew whist you were over there? How was it? What did you get up to?

In Portugal I met up with Luis, I went to his place first and caught up with his family. His kids are adorable, he is a very cool father for his kids, it's so inspiring. He showed me the products and the wetsuits and spent time explaining to me the particulars of the products, he cares so much for the brand and the product. The whole Simpel crew are all so kind and funny and really care about what they do which is rare, it is so great to see.

We then went surfing, STOKE is the first word that come to my mind, when I think about that day. The waves weren’t great, but the session was epic because the vibes and surfing was ON.  It was so nice to catch up with Luis and his sister Keshia who both surf super good and have great energy! We were surfing 3ft waves with a cross-shore wind, it looked so bad, but it was only us in water. We surfed for like 2 hours calling each other into waves and hooting when someone got a good one! For me that is what surfing is all about..! After that we decided to grab some lunch together which was soo good!

It's always nice to hang out with good people that truly love surfing! I know if I would have been alone in the water that day, I would have surfed for half an hour maybe, but together we made our session epic!

The days I spent with the Simpel crew made me so happy, and so motivated for the future! I am planning to fly back to Portugal for the end of the month, this time I'm really hoping to score some epic waves with the crew. Can’t wait! 

How did the Wetsuit go for you? 

It fits like a glove, and it is warm and really stretchy. For the quality, the price is so good too. This is the best thing because this is exactly what surfers are looking for nowadays. It feels so comfortable to wear and very easy to put on and take off unlike a lot of suits. Once I tried it, I don't want to wear any of my other suits, so I wear it during every single session now. Can’t wait to try the rest of the products! 

With new boards, friends and memories, having learnt more about himself and feeling even more inspired. Alesandro heads home and looks forward to new adventures, with friends both old and new, catching waves, creating memories and keeping it Simpel. Thanks Ale!!! 

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this, we hope you enjoyed it. Thanks again, Alesandro and the Simpel Crew.

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