Graham Ezzy & Jamie Hancock travelled to Guincho, Portugal last summer and produced a short clip about their windsurfing sessions at the former World Cup spot. We had a chat with Graham about this trip and he gave us some great background infos about the country and the windsurfing scene.
Graham Ezzy & Jamie Hancock ride the waves in Guincho, Portugal
Interview with Graham Ezzy about Guincho
Continentseven: When did you travel to Guincho to produce the clip with Jamie Hancock?
Graham Ezzy: I sat in the Canary Islands last summer with no wind, checking windguru forecasts. Guincho was red with a chance of purple.
Continentseven: It was not your first trip to the famous spot in Portugal. You travelled with UMI pictures to Guincho back in 2010. Did it change over the years?
Graham Ezzy: I fell in love with Guincho and Cascais during the PWA world cup in 2005—it was my first PWA World Cup away from Maui, and I was 15 years old. I stayed together with Alex Mussolini and Brendan Pyatt, the mastermind behind umi. I had never been to Europe before. The wind was inconsistent, and we spent most of the week just hanging out and talking. A friendship formed that became the basis for our later film collaborations.
Continentseven: What’s changed over the last decade?
Graham Ezzy: The conditions are the same: afternoons of waiting for a wind line that may or may not move close enough to the beach for an evening of sailing. The sandy beach is the same, but I appreciate its beauty better now. During the world cup in 2005, I hated the sand because I dropped a screw and it sunk into the beach and disappeared forever.
Continentseven: How were conditions and what’s the best time to travel there for windsurfing?
Graham Ezzy: Guincho’s wind can be so light that it is barely enough to water start but just enough to pump into a wave. Or winds blow strong enough to carry the sand into a 2 meter high haze. Mostly the wind is a version of side-onshore: sometimes straight onshore and sometimes so side shore in the evening it feels offshore enough for down-the-line. The waves are just as varied—either mushy onshore or punchy beach break when there is a proper swell.
Continentseven: Did you only windsurf in Guincho or did you check out a few other spots, too.
Graham Ezzy: We originally wanted to go up to Ericeira, but the forecast was unclear and every day that we considered the drive, we decided not to bother.
Continentseven: What gear did you use?
Graham Ezzy: The first sailing day, I rode the biggest sail and board I had with me, a 5.0m and a 82L board, and I could barely water start. At the end of the trip, I was maxed out on my 3.7m.
Continentseven: Why was it a tough trip?
Graham Ezzy: The first 2 days, the forecasted wind arrived, but it stayed 100m off the beach. We sat watching the whitecaps all afternoon waiting for the wind line to come into the beach. This happens sometimes in Guincho; the wind comes but the land is too hot, so the wind stays out to sea. When the wind finally did come, we had a late light wind evening session, a fun 4.2 session the day after, and then the wind turned hell-strong the following days. I was maxed on my small sail, and Jamie chose not to go on the water because he did not have a small enough sail with him.
My favorite session was the first evening: golden light from the setting sun, barely enough wind, and a strong Atlantic swell.
Continentseven: We saw a few international wave competitions in the past in Guincho. Would you wish to have a contest there again?
Graham Ezzy: I met with some possible event organizers on this trip. A starboard tack event would be amazing for the PWA world tour.
Continentseven: What makes Portugal so special?
Graham Ezzy: There is magic in the Atlantic ocean breaking itself against the black cliffs. The country is formal and feels a little old fashioned—echoes of an authoritarian past. But yet, there is a young spirit to the place. Beautiful people and amazing food can be found if you know where to look.
Continentseven: The local surfing spots are quite crowded and a lot of locals with world class skills are in the line up. How is it about windsurfing? Is there some localism at the spots?
Graham Ezzy: I like being able to catch a lot of waves at my home spot, so I try to facilitate that karma by being considerate when I’m away at a spot like Guincho. Maybe localism exists, but I didn’t feel any.
Continentseven: Whom would you recommend to travel to Portugal’s rough Atlantic coast for windsurfing?
Graham Ezzy: Anyone who enjoys wave sailing.