Oporto Exentric, a Surfcamp in Portugal
A day with João Pedro Saraiva, owner of Oporto Exentric...
João Pedro Saraiva is the owner of Oporto Exentric in Portugal.
To prepare your next trip, he was asked 10 questions to find out all about the best and secrets tips of his destination...
1 / Hello João, in a few words, how and why did you choose to settle down in Porto ?
Hey! I was born in South Africa, and moved to Porto when I was still a young boy. I have to say this city fascinated me…
Good weather, food and very nice people. You can find in Porto a developed city without the stressful and confusion part of other big cities in Europe, and of course, a lot of this relaxed mentality is related to the beach.
2 / Who can come (or not) for a surf trip in Porto ?
From the total beginner to the most advanced surfer can come to surf in here, thanks to the good variety of waves and beached it's a place for all.
In my opinion surfing in Porto is not quite there when it comes to people with reduced mobility. Surf schools still are not prepared to provide a good service for people who need the correct accompaniment.
I think surfing at Porto is a perfect place for those who wish to learn. The school level is excellent and the quality of teaching and hardware can compete with any European standards.
3 / Why Porto and not Peniche, Nazaré or Algarve ?
Great Question ! Not so many people know this, but Porto was considered Europe’s Best Destination to travel in 2012 and most recently in 2014, due to it’s History, Architecture, Culture and Gastronomy, and it is considered one of the emerging cities with largest growth potential in Europe.
Surfing can be pretty diversified too. Matosinhos Beach (International Beach) was also considered by the Newspaper “Guardian” the best Portuguese beach for people learn how to surf. We also have two other beaches nearby for more experienced surfers. Basically any surfer will have fun here in Porto.
Answering the question…These two setups together create a unique experience for the guests, that have a great time surfing as well as discovering everything this amazing city has to offer, that’s why we always include city tours in our packages.
You don’t find this kind of mixup in much more places in Portugal.
4 / To make the most of the waves, how do you plan the surf ?
To provide the best experience to our surfers, we always check for the better sea conditions and logistics. Having a max number of students per instructor is a key factor for the quality of the surf lessons. Of course we keep on checking the sea and the waves in order to plan the best times to go in the water.
5 / Places and areas to avoid ?
Not really much to say about this one, never heard a tourist complaining about a specific location, maybe driving on Highways for those who go to work. Oh, and avoid cheering up for our football team rival when in pubic places. J
6 / Types of waves and beaches ?
We have three main beaches nearby :
Matosinhos beach – In here you can find a lot of surfers of all skill levels, all year round, but I would say it is the best beach for beginners. You can find both Right and Left waves, with the best wind coming from the East and you also have a sandy bottom with some rock at certain places. The beach itself is big with lots of space to sunbath, and also a lot of people in the summer.
Aterro and Leça da Palmeira beaches are suited for more experienced surfers – Bigger and stronger waves as well as strong currents and some rocks on the water.
Don’t forget this is the Atlantic Ocean with cold water, some say you get chest hair when you go into the water in the winter months J
7 / What is a typical day at Oporto Exentric ?
Waking up and having a good and relaxed breakfast ! Then you head to the beach and start preparing the surfing session, preparing the material, warming up and finally getting into water. We usually have two surf lessons in the morning until lunch time, with a break between them.
By this time you are already dying to eat some fresh fish or Francesinha (typical dish from Oporto). In the afternoon you can stay by the beach and get your tan on and chill around, or you can go to the town center for a visit and drink one cold beer. We are 20 min away from the city center and 5 min away from the beach so you can do what you are in the mood to.
8 / Your favorite spot in the area ?
Ribeira (by the River) is one of the best places in Porto. It’s one of the oldest parts of the city and in here you can find the true spirit of people from Porto. There is a beautiful landscape towards the river and the famous bridge built by Eiffel, and you also have a plenty of restaurants and bars in the area.
A funny thing is that in Ribeira you can find the true locals as well as a lot of tourists mixed together. Definitely a place to visit if you come to Porto.
9 / What to do in the evening to have fun in Porto ?
We have a pretty diversified nightlife. You can have dinner in fabulous places, such as a small fishermen village near our Surfcamp, there you can eat delicious fresh fish and seafood. We also have some bars by the beach near the restaurants, so you can have dinner and then have a few drinks with your friends by the beach.
Another good place to go is the city center – plenty of bars, live music, crowded streets, basically you see the city alive at nigh and wherever you go you can find a place to have fun.
10 / When surf is flat, what is the best activity ?
We have plenty of things to do in here. If you want to go for physical activity we provide Yoga sessions, which also help on the surfing aspect.
We also have skateboarding/slide Skateboarding lessons and people always have a good time. We usually take people on a tour around the city, showing them all the interesting and no to turisticul stuff, so they get to know the city as a local does.
So now, all staff from our Oporto Excentric is just waiting for you to visit us !
Working for several years in tourism in France and abroad, Jean-Hervé Cristol (aka Jean Révé) also has a large number of kilometer mark traveling around Planet Surf in search of endless summer waves.
In 2004 he created Destination Surf, the first agency specialized in Surf Travel , then Endless Summer a blog with tips, info and travel stories, in order to enjoy and share this rewarding experience with all surf travelers. → Learn more