Forecast: Rip Curl Pro Portugal

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Analysis

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.

MSLP and Significant Wave Height charts for Tuesday with a ridge extending just northwest of Portugal

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.

MSLP and Significant Wave Height charts showing low pressure system in the North Atlantic generating northwest swell for Portugal

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.

Located on the south side of Peniche, Supertubos is sheltered from north winds, but also from north swells

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.

Click for Swellnet's Supertubos report and forecast

Comments

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 16 Oct 2019 at 12:56pm

Good stuff Stu! We'll make an egghead of you yet.

belly's picture
belly's picture
belly commented Wednesday, 16 Oct 2019 at 1:29pm

Thanks for the forecast. How about running on the north side of the peninsula tonight?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 16 Oct 2019 at 1:34pm

It's a possibility, and the same goes for tomorrow morning, however the swell will have a lot of west in it and I'm not certain how much will get into the Baleal area.

channel-bottom's picture
channel-bottom's picture
channel-bottom commented Wednesday, 16 Oct 2019 at 1:38pm

Seems such a fickle spot for a contest.

Is it swell direction, swell period or sandbard that makes the biggest difference here?

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Wednesday, 16 Oct 2019 at 2:06pm

Yes

Bnkref's picture
Bnkref's picture
Bnkref commented Wednesday, 16 Oct 2019 at 2:22pm

Do they have a track record of moving it? I can't recall it being anywhere other than Supertubos in the last few years.

Good to see you getting your hands dirty doing the forecast, Stu!

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 16 Oct 2019 at 2:42pm

I'm taking cues from my venture capitalist heroes who privatise the profits, socialise the losses.

If the forecast is wrong then it's all of Swellnet's fault (including Craig and he's on holidays), but if it's right then the credit is all mine, thank you very much.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Wednesday, 16 Oct 2019 at 2:39pm

I thought the whole point of Peniche was that it was a peninsula that had waves on all winds and swell directions?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 16 Oct 2019 at 2:53pm

Tourist bureau tipping in is probably more significant than anything to do with geography.

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Wednesday, 16 Oct 2019 at 3:17pm

There's waves all over.
I rented an apartment there, before the circus came to town for the search.
Its my favourite stretch of coast in Portugal. Probably because it's like an island.
There is fish everywhere also .
I'm sure you would like it.
The waves to the north get magic also....
I can't wait for katmandude to can this contest.
Then I shall return...I hope.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Thursday, 17 Oct 2019 at 7:04am

fish you can catch?

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Friday, 18 Oct 2019 at 2:34pm

yes.

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Wednesday, 16 Oct 2019 at 3:23pm

My rule for shopping for red wine was 1.20 euros for a bottle to 1.80euro.
No need to go lower or higher.
Beer Estrella was . 15 cents a can .
I would shop at the local markets that had fresh fruit vege and seafood, plenty of fish.
The market was a two story building in the centre of town.

Check out the Toledo near by if you ever get the chance.

yorkessurfer's picture
yorkessurfer's picture
yorkessurfer commented Thursday, 17 Oct 2019 at 3:23am

Shit Lanky Dean I’m in Europe at the moment and was staying in Paris a few days ago having a meal with an Aussie mate who likes red wine.

He was having a glass of nice French red and asked them how much to order a bottle?
€75 euro’s the waiter said, so he ordered one to share with me. It was really good and I wondered aloud if it was available in Australia?

Google it I suggested? The first thing that came up was that you could buy it at the local French bottle shop down the road for €9.95.
We just pissed ourselves laughing...what else can you do??

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Wednesday, 16 Oct 2019 at 3:33pm

On another note,
Can gabby win the world title here? Or does it go to the pipeline ?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 16 Oct 2019 at 4:32pm

Just tried to figure that out and confused the hell out of myself.

Anyone else know?

Jono's picture
Jono's picture
Jono commented Wednesday, 16 Oct 2019 at 4:53pm

Rip Curl seem to have done the hard work for us, copied from... https://www.ripcurl.com/us/blog/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-rip-curl-pro-portugal/ 

Men’s CT World Title Scenarios going into Portugal

- If Gabriel Medina wins the MEO/Rip Curl Pro, Filipe Toledo will need a 5th or better, Italo Ferreira a 2nd, to take the World Title decision to Pipe;

- If Gabriel gets 2nd, Filipe will need a 9th or better, Italo a 5th (to force a “Surf Off” at Pipe) or better, Jordy Smith & Kolohe Andino a 3rd or better to take WT decision to Pipe;

- If Gabriel gets 3rd, World Title decision will go to Hawaii.
 

Women’s CT World Title Scenarios going into Portugal

- If Carissa Moore wins the MEO/Rip Curl Pro, Lakey Peterson needs a 2nd to force a “Surf Off” in Maui;

- If Carissa gets 2nd, Lake Peterson needs a 3rd, Caroline Marks a 1st to take the World Title decision to Maui;

- If Carissa gets a 3rd, Lake needs a 5th, Caroline a 2nd (force a Surf Off), Sally Fitzgibbons a 1st to take WT decision to Maui;

- If Carissa gets a 5th, World Title decision goes to Hawaii.

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog commented Wednesday, 16 Oct 2019 at 5:38pm

Yes

Frogg

Mick_Fatboy's picture
Mick_Fatboy's picture
Mick_Fatboy commented Wednesday, 16 Oct 2019 at 5:45pm

@ Stunet - would you like me to send you the spreadsheet I use to track rankings.
Yep - it's nerdy, but it sure beats listening to Joe Turpel twang on about the permutations. Does my head in.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 16 Oct 2019 at 5:48pm

Yeah, Mick: [email protected]

Cheers...

dawnperiscope's picture
dawnperiscope's picture
dawnperiscope commented Wednesday, 16 Oct 2019 at 8:31pm

Love a good spreadsheet. I got one too that runs a little predictor.
I think its interesting to look at it this way - If GM gets his average result for 2019 - i.e. makes 2 x quarters then the minimum each of the other guys need is:
After 2 Throwaways
Kolohe 1st 2nd 56390
Italo 2nd 2nd 55340
Filipe 3rd 3rd 55240
Jordy 1st 3rd 54950
Gabriel 5th 5th 54845

Ride on

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Thursday, 17 Oct 2019 at 1:00am

They drop their worst two results though.

dawnperiscope's picture
dawnperiscope's picture
dawnperiscope commented Thursday, 17 Oct 2019 at 6:12am

Aye, hopefully that's accounted for or my sheet doesn't work!

Ride on

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Wednesday, 16 Oct 2019 at 6:48pm

@ Stu net, thanks !
LOL!

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups commented Thursday, 17 Oct 2019 at 5:58am

When you surf "The Pipeline", your heart's in your mouth every wave man. "The Pipeline" can snap a solid fibreglass surfboard clean in half. Below the surface of "The Pipeline" lies a deadly sharp reef. According to local surfer Johnny-Boy Gomes "You gotta pay your dues out there man. If you hit the baaatom you'll be taking a quick trip to the hospital." Next on ESPN world of sports' top ten list we go to Makaha Beach Hawaii where we visit the most dangerous big wave spot in the world.

This is the sort of thing that runs through my head when ever someone mentions "The Pipeline".

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Thursday, 17 Oct 2019 at 3:51pm

Wow, @ spudups !

Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous commented Wednesday, 16 Oct 2019 at 4:25pm

In Peniche, I hitchhiked with a local lady who was 'friends with Mick Fanning' - that guy really seems to like mums - don't we all... Then I met this 19 year old chick in a surf shop who was a weed dealer, house host and really keen to "f*ck Mick Fanning ... he's so hot"

As for the surf, a fun area, typical international surf town. Nothing more, nothing less.

Portugal on the whole is such a surfers paradise! Best holiday destination ever!

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Wednesday, 16 Oct 2019 at 5:06pm

hows the vibe in the water?

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Wednesday, 16 Oct 2019 at 6:40pm

I went with crazy stories, yet never had a run in .
The only time that was mildly annoying was a small day at supertubos , that brought out all the local boogie boarders.
Just typical to many people not enough wave scenario.
No one seems to really do the dawn patrol over there.

Its a heavily marketed destination for German tourists also, So you will surfing on the north side and a pod of learners will appear. With a crazy, Sup or longboarder screaming at the learner pod in German.
I would just paddle over to next peak.
I will note that tubos doesn't seem to break the same now days. Not sure why either?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 17 Oct 2019 at 7:15am

Stabilised the beach with marram?

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Thursday, 17 Oct 2019 at 4:12pm

No idea @ Stu net.
From memory the waves were more refined peaks when I was staying there and was very tide dependent.
You could see the wave you wanted coming from a ways out
Wedging off nothing. Sureal experience.

Banks do look good at the moment. Still look a little straight.
They may have done a seawall extension maybe .

Honestly though I think there is a precise period and angle of swell. Along with wind direction that really makes it cook.
I don't keep swell journals though..so don't expect that info .
LOL.
These days they seem to just push the contest straight through.....without better judgement.
It was a great time, before the circus came to town ; )

Bnkref's picture
Bnkref's picture
Bnkref commented Wednesday, 16 Oct 2019 at 6:32pm

I was there on my honeymoon in late November a few years ago. Surfed Supertubos by myself for 3-4 days. Was generally pretty small (and clean) but I was staggered no one else was around. Water getting cold at that time of year but not too bad.

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Wednesday, 16 Oct 2019 at 6:36pm

Cool, very easy going, great spot I would recommend if for a holiday the only problem was the fog. It gets so dense some days you could hardly see the street lights and it can last all day. 5 or 10 minutes inland and it is a beautiful day. Lisbon is and amazing city only an hour and a half by bus. Peniche is just a small old fishing town which looks like it dates back to the middle ages which are always fun to walk around and, as always, all the new development is vomitable consisting of multistorey, Mediterranean concrete blocks stuck in the middle of paddocks. Baleal is even smaller tied island (and also from the middle ages) but a is a bit more fun. Nobody there outside the main holiday period and Lanky is spot on there are waves everywhere if there is swell, so you just go north or south depending on wind. On the north side of Baleal headland, the beach goes for a few k's so it is just a matter of check the banks from the top of cliffs and head down. Beer and wine (very good) are cheap as chips and food price is similar to here. Loved the place.

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM commented Thursday, 17 Oct 2019 at 1:03pm

Recommend staying over at Baleal, reached by driving over a concrete causeway across the isthmus, weird feeling driving across there at night.


mates poem


mates poem

And the seafood is all-time.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Thursday, 17 Oct 2019 at 1:50pm

are there any decent waves there?

is Supertubos the glory spot?

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Thursday, 17 Oct 2019 at 2:14pm

From my take on the area it is really just a bunch of good beachies with the benefit of multiple options for the winds. Supertubos breaks close the shore like the Frenchies and unlike most in Australia and has those little promontories of sand up and down the beach which waves peak and break each side of. I only got it small but is really hollow and peaky which is always fun. Not sure how it holds up when a bit of size hits it however there is a breakwater but is next to a fish factory so could be dodgy water.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 17 Oct 2019 at 2:14pm

LD will know for sure but I think it's the marquee wave.

Rubbish music and the mo is too slo, but here's a few waves from the day before yesterday:

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Thursday, 17 Oct 2019 at 2:32pm

FR, the beachies north of Baleal towards Foz do Arelho get absolutely epic. There was some very good footage of Mick Fanning a few years ago, and Slater, too.

Ericeira/Ribamar is the place to go for points and reefs.

This was my fave when I used to go there a lot. A reef aptly named 'Reef'
http://ericeira.worldsurfguides.com/reef/

'

Bnkref's picture
Bnkref's picture
Bnkref commented Thursday, 17 Oct 2019 at 2:19pm

And you've got Nazare up the road if that's your thing.

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM commented Thursday, 17 Oct 2019 at 2:18pm

I was just passing through, there'd be others better qualified to comment in any depth.
Had a surf at a reef north of Baleal but it seems like there's nooks and crannies everywhere.
Obviously, Supertubos would be the go-to spot in certain swell/wind combos but I'm not sure how often that is (though I suspect often enough).
I'm happy to be corrected but Supertubos struck me as being an average beachie and not as good as TOS.

Bnkref's picture
Bnkref's picture
Bnkref commented Thursday, 17 Oct 2019 at 2:25pm

Am surprised Gary G hasn't popped up with this chat about Peniche.

radiationrules's picture
radiationrules's picture
radiationrules commented Thursday, 17 Oct 2019 at 3:29pm

i was there for a few weeks in '87. It was uncrowded but not very good (it was the depths of winter so will suspend judgement) I went back to Mundaka, where i continued to get epic waves for months. but good on the portugese, the mayor and everyone else at that Super Tubos contest seems so dedicated to making it an exciting event. I hope it barrels ridulously and they have a surprise winner, so the overall title is decided at pipeline.

san Guine's picture
san Guine's picture
san Guine commented Thursday, 17 Oct 2019 at 7:31pm

Great waves, but possibly the most unfriendly people in Europe. Honeymooned there in 2001..what an ungracious bunch.
Again in 2016, still unfriendly.
Would definitely surf there again though.

Älskarhavet's picture
Älskarhavet's picture
Älskarhavet commented Friday, 18 Oct 2019 at 4:35pm

I’m chancing it and have booked a trip to Portugal leaving Christmas Day arvo for a couple of weeks escape from the cold Swedish winter. (Long story originally from surf coast Vicco met a swede etc etc). They say it can be rainy and windy that time of year but a bit like winter in Victoria with similar air and water temps but good swell. And yes, 12c degrees will be warm compared to -5c or -10c where I live, it can even be much colder.
I’m planning on hiring a car and maybe heading south to the Algarve. Any swellnetters had any experience down that way?

Bnkref's picture
Bnkref's picture
Bnkref commented Friday, 18 Oct 2019 at 5:42pm

I haven't surfed south of Lisbon but if you're flying into Lisbon, check out Carcavelos if conditions line up. Close to town. And Lisbon is definitely worth a night or two.

Älskarhavet's picture
Älskarhavet's picture
Älskarhavet commented Friday, 18 Oct 2019 at 7:13pm

Thanks Bnkref, will be staying in Lisbon first and last night so will definately check out the area. I'm hoping for some less crowded waves over winter!

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Thursday, 24 Oct 2019 at 6:54pm

Or 10 great city I thought.

Mishad's picture
Mishad's picture
Mishad commented Friday, 18 Oct 2019 at 4:59pm

Theres a clip getting around of Nic Von Rupp getting a left barrel that never seems to end, taken a few years ago at Supertubos I believe. So it gets gooooooood, prob needs the right angle swell tide wind.

Gary G's picture
Gary G's picture
Gary G commented Monday, 21 Oct 2019 at 9:25pm

Gary is wondering if this waiting period is going to go on forever.

Can one of the Swellnet forecasting team give Gary the tip on when to tune in to watch the remaining suitors bring this Peniche to climax?

I’ve created a monster. Cause nobody wants to ride faceys no more, they want Gary; I’m chopped liver.

But if ya want Gary this is what I’ll give ya: a little creatine kiss from a hard licker

Gary G's picture
Gary G's picture
Gary G commented Monday, 21 Oct 2019 at 9:23pm

And make sure it’s just the tip, thanks gents.

Gary doesn’t have the appetite for much more right now after a few strenuous sessions over the weekend just gone.

I’ve created a monster. Cause nobody wants to ride faceys no more, they want Gary; I’m chopped liver.

But if ya want Gary this is what I’ll give ya: a little creatine kiss from a hard licker