A Friend in Figueira

This week Jono came to visit me in Figueira da Foz Portugal.

It’s good to have a friend here after 55 solo days on the road. I’ve met some interesting characters and I’ve enjoyed the solitude but there’s nothing like draining a few cans with an old mate from Dunedin.

A German we met shaping a fin outside his late granny’s Renault 4

Jono and I caught the bus across the Figueira da Foz harbour to surf Praia do Cabedelo. The first character we ran in to was German guy who had converted his late granny’s 1982 Renault 4 into a surf wagon complete with rooftop tent.

‘I don’t get much sleep up there when it’s windy,’ he said.

And it’s always windy in Portugal.

Hangman wettie

The surf was 1.5 times overhead.

And double overhead once I retreated. After a rock jump that seemed too perilous, I paddled out by the channel beside the jetty. After a few take off attempts I eventually got in a local’s way and we both fell off a wave. I was held under and decided to go in.

‘Oh you’ve cut your head,’ said the German back on the beach. ‘It’s only a scratch though.’


The local approached me and showed me his board. Two big cracks radiated from the rocker.

‘Oh man, did I hit your board?’

‘You were in the middle, you need to paddle to the side.’

‘I’m sorry man. But did I hit your board?’

‘If you’re in the middle it’s hard to take off.’ From what I could work out, in the crash he had damaged his own board. ‘Obrigado,’ he said and walked toward the car park.

I had kooked it.

Can you see him?
Can you see him?

Demoralized, I walked back to the jetty and gave Jono my board. My day was over but I enjoyed watching the locals show me how it’s done.

A local killing it
A local killing it – note the wee yacht in the background.

Jono wanted to buy shaving foam on the way home. He only had a five euro note and the pharmacy wanted ten. It turns out that you can get an old-school straight-razor shave in Portugal for four euro: make it two!

Jono was first under the knife
Don’t sneeze


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