On a quiet morning in early November, three stand up paddlers entered the Atlantic ocean from the town of Sagres, Southern Portugal. They were about to attempt the first crossing of the Algarve region by stand-up paddle board.
Nick Robinson, owner of AlgarveSUP, a local stand-up paddle adventure company explained why: “It appears that no one has ever done this trip on a paddleboard. Plenty of people cross the Algarve by bike and on foot but we wanted to be the first to do it by paddleboards. Our mission is to promote this incredible sport, which, the minute after you buy a stand up paddleboard, becomes a way of life. It totally changes your perception of exercise by turning boring old gym sessions into wonderfully natural outdoor fitness experiences.”
Spike Reid, an adventurer and writer, flew over from the UK to partake: “I paddled across England a few months ago, so clearly the next step was to paddle across Portugal, especially as it hasn’t been done before”.
Local SUP instructor, Mauro Engler, joined the team and they set off on November 3rd, one day after the Algarve had experienced the wildest storm in years with Albufeira being completely flooded. “The weather conditions were a little gnarly the first few days, but it cleared up into weather like beautiful British summer days,” noted Spike.
Apart from dodging 20-knot headwinds (avoided by changing direction halfway at Faro), surf that they couldn’t get through (which resulted in a 5km exhausting hike carrying boards and all the kit) and an almost debilitating crosswind on day two, the trip was a breeze.
The TransAlgarve team camped on the beach every night and enjoyed seven spectacular sunsets and sunrises. They’d like to encourage others to do this trip, so if you’re interested leave a comment on www.algarvesup.com/ta where you can also see photos, videos and detailed info on their journey.
The 160km+ trip took 7 days in total, and the longest paddle each day was 28km. Would you like to do this paddleboard challenge yourself? Maybe you could do it faster?