Surfing the Californian way at Zavial with Surf Guide Algarve Here is the dream scenario. You are on a honey-moon in Europe, the sun is
Hidden away between the cliffs of the beautiful south coast of the Algarve Barranco really is a little paradise beach. No wonder many people like to stay here for a few nights with their camper vans. In fact it is a real mekka for many hippie-esque campervanners who make their trip down south. The rules and regulations changed very recent and it is now illegal to camp in Barranco. Good thing you can still park and surf, or go for a nice walk along the cliffs. Or go for a swim…
‘ Where the bad road end and the good life begins’ Well kind of. With google maps and internet on every device we own, it is impossible to keep a secret. Barranco used to be well hidden and you kind of needed to ‘know about it’. Lucky for us there are a lot of roads leading you to the beach and only one is oke with a non-four by four. (You’re warned :)) So ask your Surf guide what bad road to take. On the beach there is a parking lot and nothing else. So if you plan to spend some time there, bring your own supplies, please clean up your mess and leave nothing but footsteps.
When to Surf Barranco
The break of Barranco is in a little bay/ cove. The surf can be absolutely amazing at times but you really need to know when to go there. The bay tends to close out on big swells or not break on smaller ones. Obviously the tide is from huge influence too. If you get the opportunity to surf Barranco you are lucky. Barranco has its own rules and vibes. The atmosphere in the line up is often a lot more mellow than on other spots. The speed of the wave kind of matches that vibe. The wave can look intimidating but always breaks a little bit slower than other spots around in the Algarve. Giving you just a tiny bit extra time to draw out your moves and enjoy the ride. You will also see a lot of different surfboard crafts on this spot. The wave does not favor one particular style of board. (Like you will not see many longboarders in Beliche for example.)
What should I pay attention to when I'm Surfing Barranco?
First you need to pay attention that you choose the right road to get to the beach. There are multiple stories from people getting stuck on the wrong road and the assistance will not come for help on off-roads like these. On the spot there are a few things to look out for. The bay is full of small stones and boulders. Plus on both sides of the bay is a rocky reef that you need to watch out for. On bigger days you need to be aware of the current that will try to pull you out. Your Surfguide will tell you exactly where to paddle out. With a lot the reputation of a little bit more mellow wave there is sometimes people floating in the water that maybe should actually be in a surf lesson. (But are not…) Be careful with them. They obviously don’t know what they are doing so don’t paddle behind them when paddling out and I can guarantee they won’t be aware of any surf-etiquettes either. Last but not least, please be respectful to the guys and girls that are local here. You be nice to them, they will be nice to you and you will keep the nice vibes in the line-up in tact.
Fun Fact Barranco
Did you know we call Barranco often ‘ the hippie beach?” Even when you go there now you will see why. Dreadlocks, people swimming naked, the smell of weed, barefoot all year long. Big converted horse trailers into campervans with peace logo’s. There’s all that, and more.
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