Forecast: Rip Curl Pro Portugal
And so the CT circus leaves the happenstance beachbreaks of France for the chance beachbreaks of Portugal and the season’s penultimate contest - the Meo Rip Curl Pro.
Not only are the contests similar in nature, the waiting period for Portugal is shaping up as being similar to the Quik Pro France, with a flurry of swell, dubious winds improving, a low patch, and the distant chance of good waves at the end of the period.
Over the last few days a ridge of high pressure has extended from the mid-Atlantic north-east towards the Bay of Biscay, building a west-northwest swell for the Portuguese and Spanish coasts. It’s a great swell for Supertubos: a lot of west in it, period isn’t too high, but the bad news? The ridge will just clip the coast bringing onshore winds.
Therefore, Wednesday, which is the first day of the waiting period, will see 3-4ft of swell getting knocked about by a stiff southwester. There’s little chance it will run.
By Thursday the ridge relaxes, though the morning will see lingering southwest winds. By lunchtime they’ll swing towards the NW and ease in strength. At the same time the strongest part of the swell off the ridge will make landfall with 3-5ft waves coming in from the west-northwest.
Prepare to be put on hold, maybe even for most of the day, as organisers wait for conditions to shape up through the afternoon.
By Friday the swell from the ridge will have vanished, replaced by a longer period swell off a deep low travelling through the far North Atlantic. Though stronger, the swell is northwest in direction so size will be mitigated by the Peniche headland, down to around 4-5 ft with the possibility of larger sets.
Wind will be light northerly and with a slack pressure gradient we’ll see no real strength all day - perhaps light cross-shore by the afternoon. Expect a full day of competition.
Saturday, day four of the waiting period, will see the same swell drop back a notch to around 3-5ft in the morning, down to 3ft by the afternoon. The wind however will hover on the knife’s edge between good and problematic, strengthening and edging towards the northwest, which is onshore.
Ordinarily they’d call a lay day, however the back half of the waiting is barren so they’ll be forced to milk anything they can.
Sunday will be very similar to Saturday with a head high northwest swell and northwest winds teetering on the edge all day. Again, it won’t be perfect, but they’ll have to take what they can.
The next swell of any significance arrives on Monday when the aforementioned low travelling across the North Atlantic reintensifies outside of the Bay of Biscay. However, the swell will be north-northwest and Supertubos is all but shaded by that direction.
There may be waist to head high waves, though again the northerly wind will be the wildcard. The difference between surfable and junk will be a matter of degrees, so the organisers will be watching it closely.
From this distance, Tuesday, which is day seven of the waiting period, will be similar to Monday with a directional north swell and north wind, however the forecast may change before then.
In fact, the organisers will be praying it does as after Tuesday the North Atlantic goes into a period of somnolence with no notable weather systems on the radar until right near the end of the waiting period.
We’ll keep track of any changes in the comments below.