Surfing Silver Coast

Surfing the Silver Coast

Costa de Prata Surf Guide – Nazaré to Aveiro

Silver Coast
Surf Guides

Viewed on a map this bit of Portugal’s coastline does not look like a promising surf spot – a long stretch of featureless beaches fully exposed to the wind and whatever destructive forces the Atlantic chooses to throw at it. But look a little closer and there is plenty to get excited about – kicking off with Nazaré’s legendary monster-making North Canyon and winding northwards along miles and miles of deserted beaches. There are some surprising breaks to be found here, curling off the occasional headland and stacking up over hidden reefs. It’s a vast area in which you are virtually guaranteed to find an empty wave.

Praia da Vila da Nazaré

The wave: Only really works when the swells are big which is mostly in the winter. A headland to the north of the town provides shelter from damaging winds. In the summer the beach and sea are packed with holiday makers and waves are often not worth bothering with. When working it delivers several right and left handed beach breaks along the length of the beach.
Best conditions: Offshore wind is easterly but can work in anything from northeasterly to southerly. Swells are best when they come from the west.
Typical swell: 3 to 16 foot
Access: Easy parking on the edge of the beach. Very busy in the summer.
Watch out for: Rips
GPS: 39.602269, -9.075770

Praia do Norte – Nazaré

The wave: Epic. One of the most famous waves in the world. Also known as North Canyon. This is where Garrett McNamara surfed the biggest wave ever ridden, a monster 100 footer thrown up by the unique geological formations hidden below the sea at Praia do Norte. When pumping this is a tow-in wave for pros only – and they don’t attempt it without jet-ski back up. Even on normal days the wave can be huge, with a heavy bone and board crushing lip and deep, hollow beach peaks. This one of a kind wave goes both ways over a sand bottom. It can be truly deadly and should not be surfed alone when it gets over 6 foot. Mornings are often calmer. As there are not that many surfers brave or skilled enough to ride this monster it is rarely busy out there.
Best conditions: Swells from the southwest to north, winds easterly. Low to mid tide.

Costa da Prata Surf
– Nazaré to Figueira da Foz

‘Wave’ icon from a design by Carol Ourivio from the Noun Project.

Typical swell: 3 to 20 foot
Access: A dirt track leads down to the beach where there is limited parking. Better to park at the top and walk down.
Watch out for: The wave – that lip is like a concrete block when it falls. Currents. Rocks. Thieves in the car park (don’t leave anything valuable in your car, even if it is locked).
GPS: 39.607693, -9.085634

São Pedro do Moel

The wave: A beach break going left and right over a bottom of sand and rock. A fun, powerful wave that works often and is seldom crowded.
Best conditions: Swells from the west and southwest, winds easterly or northeasterly.
Typical swell: 3 to 10 foot
Access: Beach is in front of the town. Parking in the summer time is very limited but the rest of the year is not a problem.
Watch out for: Rocks, territorial locals.
GPS: 39.755102, -9.033394

Leirosa

The wave: A right and left-handed beach break over a sand bottom. Waves most days but recommended for experienced surfers only. The ride is fast and fun, up to 150 metres long on normal days and as long as 300 metres when conditions are perfect.
Best conditions: Northwesterly swells with an offshore east to southeasterly.
Access: Easy Access to the beach by car.
GPS: 40.055259, -8.891711

Cabedelo – Figueira da Foz

The wave: Fast and hollow right-hander breaking off a long jetty just south of Figueira da Foz. The crowds reflect its reputation as one of the better waves along this part of the coast. Sand bottom, waves start working on 3 foot swells and hold to over 10 foot.
Best conditions: South to northwesterly swells on an incoming tide with wind from the northeast.
Typical swell: 3 to 10 foot
Access: Easy Access by road, free parking.
Watch out for: Pollution from the river; rocks, rips and sea urchins.
GPS: 40.139818, -8.864326

Costa da Prata Surf
– Figueira da Foz to Aveiro

‘Wave’ icon from a design by Carol Ourivio from the Noun Project.

Buarcos – Figueira da Foz

The wave: A right handed point break that on the best days seems to go on forever. Long, carving rides of up to 500 metres are achievable here when conditions are right. The land mass jutting out to the north protects it from damaging winds. And it is empty, even on the weekends. This stretch of coastline has several other fun breaks to explore.
Best conditions: Winds easterly. Swells from anywhere between the west and north.
Typical swell: 4 to 12 foot
Access: Easy – free parking in front of most surf spots and a bus service along the coast which stops at most of them.
Watch out for: Rocks
GPS: 40.171803, -8.894283

Murtinheira

The wave: An out of the way beach break that rewards those who brave the dirt roads to get there with waves that are fun and powerful from spring through to autumn. Recommended for experienced surfers only, this wave can be dangerously brutal in the winter. Waves go right and left over a sandy bottom. Empty most of the time.
Best conditions: Winds from the southeast, east and northeast; swells from the northwest, west and southwest.
Access: Narrow tracks (4 x 4 is recommended) lead to Murtinheira from Buarcos and Quiaios. The beach is in front of the village.
Watch out for: Rips
GPS: 40.210262, -8.897647

Praia da Tocha

The wave: A hollow, powerful beach break going in both directions. Friendly locals and uncrowded most of the time.
Best conditions: Winds from the southeast, east and northeast; swells from the northwest, west and southwest.
Typical swell: 1 to 6 foot
Access: Easy – beach is right in front of the village.
Watch out for: Rips and undertow.
GPS: 40.330111, -8.844814

Praia de Mira

The wave: Beach break going right and left which pretty much disappears at low tide when offshore sandbars tear the heart out of the swells. Fairly empty most of the time. Sandy bottom. There are other uncrowded beaches nearby worth exploring.
Best conditions: Northwest to northerly swells, east wind, mid to high tide.
Typical swell: 1 to 6 foot
Access: In front of the resort village of Praia de Mira.
Watch out for: Fishing buoys.
GPS: 40.455671, -8.804152

Praia da Vagueira

The wave: A small, fast and powerful right-hander coming off a jetty. Not often crowded and the locals are friendly. There are other surf spots further south if you fancy exploring.
Best conditions: East to southeasterly wind, swell from the northwest or west.
Typical swell: 3 to 5 foot
Access: Two minutes walk to the south of the main beach.
Watch out for: Rocks; strong currents when the tide comes in.
GPS: 40.558441, -8.771691

Praia da Barra – Aveiro

The wave: When the swell is right the wave coming off the breakwater is fast and fun with sandbars beneath throwing up some great shapes. It’s a well-known beach in front of the town so it gets busy at the weekends – but the locals are mostly friendly.
Best conditions: Easterly winds with swells coming from the south to northwest. Works on all tides.
Typical swell: 2 to 8 foot
Access: Right in front of the town so it is easy to find but parking can be a problem when busy.
GPS: 40.639219 -8.,749482

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