Joy. Unbridled, good old-fashioned stoke and in huge amounts is now circulating the surfing community of Portugal.
For seven weeks we have been denied our fix, like drug addicts we became sullen and emotionally twitchy, depressed, and unresponsive. When an entire community is subject to this mindstate things can become awfully bleak. Conversations between friends that might usually be about barrels, turns and noserides instead actively try to avoid the sacred subject of the surf that was denied us. Surfing was the huge elephant in the room.
With the latest easing of COVID-19 quarantine measures in Portugal we (as surfers) have been allowed back in the ocean, all be it with some caveats. There is to be no ‘stopping’ on the beach. The beaches remain closed and we as surfers are allowed to cross them to get to the water. We are advised to limit our surfing sessions to ninety minutes and keep at least four metres away from any other surfer. After surfing we are told to get changed quickly and drive home. We can talk to our surfer friends on the phone or online. So no social contact, just get in the water, surf, get out, go home.
As I type these words, I am fresh off the first surf. There is a feeling of mental and physical relaxation coursing through my body and (for want of a better word) general stoke. Having been unsure what to expect and carrying a bit of extra weight from quarantine, the experience of having the first surf in seven weeks was like sliding on an old pair of house slippers. Comfortable, familiar, and like home.
All of us at Fatum are feeling the joy, our beloved pastime and lifestyle is again legal and being practiced. Let’s hope it all stays this way, as long as we all stick to the rules and remain socially responsible, the stoke should be back for good.