Surf trips, or rather successful surf trips, can often be determined by the results of split-second decisions. Like choosing to delay a flight home over a forecast that finally promises the redemption of firing waves, offshore winds and bright blue skies following a week of wicked westerlies, seeking shelter.
This was the case for a Polish surf contingent with one goal in mind — score pumping Portugal pits at the end of Autumn. Accompanying two of Poland’s finest surfers, Kuba Kuzia and Max Michalewski, was talented lensman Krzysztof Jędrzejak, who you might know better as Baltic Surf Scapes. Here, he talks us through the trios' adventure and how one decision managed to save the entire trip.
View Live: Supertubos
The idea for the trip was born at the end of August during the Polish Championships, Max got the win and Kuba was second.
The destination was obvious — Portugal. Max lives in Portugal and Kuba travels there ten times a year. For me, 2018 was the last time I visited this beautiful country.
I’ve already seen thru my lens; XL Nazare, pumping Supertubos and the WSL event but this time I was hoping to shoot the best Polish surfers on some of the best waves possible.
We booked the flight for half of November and planned to stay in Portugal for ten days.
A few days before arriving, Max text us to say he injured his feet at Supertubos so badly that he couldn’t even stand on it. On top of that, the forecast for the whole our stay looked terrible.
“I injured my foot doing a layback just two weeks before Krzysztof and Kuba arrived,” said Max.
“It was very unfortunate as we were planning to explore different waves on the coast and hopefully get some nice photos. Even though my foot was far away from 100%, I was still able to have few hours in the water with them later on which was very cool.”
After arriving, there was plenty of swell but the strong westerly winds destroyed everything. For a week, Kuba and I were searching for shelter to surf some cleaner waves.
It was windy and raining everyday. I didn’t even grab my camera for all that time. It looked like the dream of our Polish team scoring waves in Portugal had disappeared.
While Max was still recovering, Kuba and I decided to journey 120km north of Peniche in the hopes of finally scoring decent waves.
That decision was pretty much breaking point.
Luckily, we managed to find a nice working right hander next to a jetty. That was the first time where Kuba really scored and I got some decent shots.
After that, we checked the forecast and we couldn’t believe that exactly on the day of our flight back to Poland, the second biggest Atlantic swell of the season was supposed to hit the coast of Portugal.
Decision was made in a few seconds as there was also lots of offshore and sunny days ahead. We rebooked the flight and stayed for one more week. And then it all started.
The swell was massive. We firstly drove to Nazare to watch it in all its glory. Finally I could hear my shutter working at top speed again.
While watching Nazare we realised that a few days before, we saw a tiny little peeler on the other side of the pier and thought it might work when Nazare gets XL and other exposed spots were too big and too wild to get in.
We gave it a chance and drove north again. It was the only chance to get wet that day. That was a good call. We surfed these one-to-two foot peeler straight to the shore. There was so much fun and that definitely was kind of our “weird waves” experience.
We knew that the best was yet to come and the whole Portuguese coast was about to shine.
Max wasn’t 100% but ready enough to be back at Supers. For me, it was a great experience to watch the boys scoring and sharing peaks with some of the best in Portugal like Miguel Blanco and Guilherme Ribeiro. That’s what I was dreaming about.
Related content: Portugal's Wild Wednesday
With the surf trip back on track, the boys took a break to kick back watch some of the World Cup.
Poland were playing against Mexico in Quatar so we were watching it at Max’s place.
At half time we went for a quick spontaneous spot check at the banks of Belgas. It was fair size, super clean and the right-hander looked sick. Max and Kuba had the lineup to themselves.
After a quick shoot from the cliff I decided to join them in the water with my 35mm film underwater camera. That was the moment when I thought — this is how I imagined this trip should be like.
Big ups to Max for a quick recovery, he just called me to say that it’s pretty serious with his feet and he might need a surgery. Wish you a speedy recovery brother and see you soon in the water.
Thank you Portugal, and thanks Max and Kuba for a great time.
Western Europe has been firing recently. Keep an eye on the cams, here:
| Supertubos | Nazare | Mundaka | Fistral | Croyde | Anchor Point |