Portugal - Free holidays for disappointed surfers

Until December surfers who visit Portugal and don’t find good waves can return for free, courtesy of the Portuguese tourism board.

Portugal Car Hire SurfRiding on the popularity of the Rip Curl Pro tournament, which ended last Friday and attracted thousands of people to Peniche, Turismo de Portugal has said it will offer free return trips to tourists who, “for whatever mysterious reason” don’t find suitable waves on Portuguese beaches.

The offer is open to any tourist who visits Portugal to surf but fails to find waves measuring more than half a metre for three consecutive days, on any of the 28 pre-selected beaches.

Applicants must have stayed at least four days in this country and the lack of decent waves has to be documented, with either photos or videos.

Anyone who can prove they didn’t catch a 50-centimetre wave for three days running will be offered a free flight back to Portugal and have their accommodation paid in the same hotel where they stayed first time round (up to a limit of €750.)

The prize is limited to the first 20 applicants who fulfil all criteria, until December.
Details of the ‘Our deal: no waves, come back for free’ campaign are available on the ‘Riding the Portuguese Waves’ website (www.portuguese, which also includes more information on the Portuguese surf scene, such as best spots, recommended hotels, etc.

The idea is to promote the country as “a unique destination in Europe”, with the best waves, associating it to gastronomy, landscapes and the hotel sector.

This year’s ‘Rip Curl Pro’ event reaped revenue in excess of €12.3 million euros and the tournament’s website had more than 9.5 million page views.

A 30-metre wave surfed by surf-pro Garret McNamara, in 2011, on Nazaré’s north beach catapulted Portugal to international fame as a serious surfing destination, placing it in the sport’s history, with the biggest wave ever surfed.

Ericeira (in Mafra) has also been classified as a World Surfing Reserve by international organisation ‘Save the Waves’, being the first in Europe and the second in the world, after Malibu (USA).

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