Matosinhos, Porto’s main beach, is a lovely surf spot. It offers waves almost all year long and the quality of the waves is good. Since the announcement of the 300-meter extension of the breakwall of the Port of Leixões, the surf spot is in danger. What is going on?
In spring I visited Matosinhos beach and after catching waves myself I took some pictures of a few longboarders that were playing in an empty line-up. Conditions were lovely: sunny and sweet longboard waves. “One of those rare days” I would say if the waves would come in like this at my home spot Zandvoort (Amsterdam beach). In Matosinhos these conditions are pretty default.
My friend and artist Filipa from Leça surfshop in Leça de Palmeira connected me to lovely Mica and Frederik from Hang five Matosinhos, a hangout for surfers and artists living their surf tradition in Matosinhos. When I visited Porto again in autumn I met up with them for a pingo (Portuguese espresso with a little milk), a chat and a shoot. As most locals they are concerned about the future of Matosinhos as surf spot.
What is going on? First of all the environment is in danger because of the extension of the breakwall. The pollution level inside the basin is expected to increase considerably. Furthermore it is expected that the Northwest swells will be blocked and waves will not come in anymore. Since approximately 150,000 people who surf, bodyboard, kitesurf and windsurf here every year the impact will be huge both for the locals, the tourists as well as the whole surf and tourist industry behind it. For more details on the consequences please read the article on Surferstoday.
The extension of the breakwall is supposed to start this year and the impact will (only!) be studied in real-time. It was reason for Surfrider Foundation Porto to release a petition aiming to take the issue to a discussion in the Assembly of the Republic, calling for the suspension of the work. Their main goal is to reduce the risks that this breakwater extension will cause to the environment, by influencing them to take the less impactful option possible. Please find here the link to the petition: https://bit.ly/2CeoZtm. The petition is in Portuguese. In order to sign it your ID number is requested. If you are not Portuguese, you can just put ‘xxxx’ instead.