The volcanic peaks of the Azores appear directly in the path of winter low pressures and scoop the swell onto lava slabs, basalt boulders and black sand beaches. Isolated by 1600kms of Atlantic from Portugal and often encircled by the Azores High pressure system, winds are unpredictable and swells comes from a multitude of directions. A small population of cool locals patrol the main line-ups, but there is plenty of scope for discovery, making the Azores a mysterious, hardcore destination for adventurous surf-trippers.
Incredibly tall, vertical faces encircle the interior of Madeira. These same words are also perfect to describe the waves that rumble over deep reefs and points, creating one of Europe’s most respected big-wave venues. The ability to navigate big waves and big rocks on big boards requires big cojones, so the tight local crew are welcoming of respectful chargers that make the pilgrimage to ride the wild surf.