In early November (2019) I had the epic experience of chaperoning my fifteen-year old son, Luke, on a surf trip to Ericeira, Portugal. Luke was selected as one of four kids, (18 and under) to compete in the Quiksilver Young Guns competition this year. Being a Young Gun has been one of Luke’s surf-career goals, and it was really exciting to experience this awesome adventure.
What is Quiksilver Young Guns contest? Every year Quiksilver hosts a contest via Instagram for youth surfers from all over the world. It begins in the month of August, when Quiksilver (w/ over 2 million followers) announces that the contest has begun. Surfers begin to post their best surf video clips on Instagram, hash-tagging #ygsurfcontest. Hundreds (maybe thousands) of surfers post entries. Eventually a panel of pro surfers choose what they believe are the top 8 surfers, and then more voting and selecting narrows it down, until, in the end there are four kids invited to an 8-day contest. (<– click there to see the Instagram announcement.) The contest is held in a new location each year, and the 4 surfers (w/ a chaperone each) are invited to the destination — along with a team of judges, videographers and photographers who document the entire experience. Then: For 8 days these four kids surf all different waves in all different conditions. They are judged in a variety of categories (best turn, best barrel, best air maneuver, etc.) At the end the judges choose the surfer who performs the best over the eight days and they are rewarded $10,000.
That is the story of what brought Luke and I to Ericeira, Portugal.
The other 3 boys were from Australia, Brazil, and California.
Where’d we stay? The entire team of surfers and chaperones, as well as the film crew, writers, and judges, all stayed at the La Pointe Surf Hostel in Ericeira. It was the coolest, cleanest, most welcoming “hostel” I’ve ever seen. (It’s a stretch to call it a hostel really.) The rooms were minimalistic, but clean and comfortable. Each room had its own full bathroom. Breakfast was included with each night’s stay, and was so good! You could order lunch and dinner, sign up for excursions, yoga classes, massage, and surf lessons. La Pointe has a pool, yoga studio, skate bowl, and bar, though we were there in November which meant it was a bit chilly for many of the outdoor activities. It is also located across the street from one of the top surf spots, so kids could just cross the street to surf. I’d love to go back and bring my whole family. It was a really special place! (See the LaPointe website to check out their other destinations in places like Bali, Costa Rica, Sri Lanka, Norway, and more!)
Portugal in general…Though Luke and I did not get to see a whole lot of culture or city life in Portugal, (it was, after all, a surf trip) we did make one trip into the capital city of Lisbon (they call it Lisboa) for a Professional Soccer (Futball) game, where we were all treated as VIPS (so fun!) The boys were all given custom jerseys and were each interviewed by local television stations. 🙂
We drove across beautiful countryside, with old homes, buildings, vineyards and windmills. We saw so many gorgeous beaches and landscapes, and one of my favorite things was sitting in Portugal’s beach-front cafes while watching the boys compete. (Hawaii should take note on the beach-front cafes. I mean, really.)
A few more highlights from our trip follow, and then I’ll share a bunch of photos, compliments of Quiksilver’s amazing film-crew.
— Favorite foods in Portugal: Cappuccinos on the beaches while watching the surf. Pastel de nata — a custard-filled tart, perfectly paired with espresso or cappuccino. (I found this recipe for them here!) Steak or fish and fries at any restaurant and I had some amazing vegetarian dishes in a few restaurants. (Our group’s favorite late-night dinner spot was Tik Tac in Ericeira — a cozy restaurant tucked in the heart of the old city down a cobblestone road. *SWOON*
— Beaches: Wow. Big rock cliffs, gorgeous backdrops. Amazing waves of all kinds, depending on the day and your mood– it’s all there!
— People. I found the people of Portugal to be very warm and friendly. Many spoke good English (plus a few other languages) and everyone worked with me to communicate. Truly a welcoming culture in my experience.
— Driving. I am not great at driving a stick shift, which is all they had to offer at the rental car place. There were good prices on rental cars, however, and really easy navigation on the roads (thanks to Maps+Siri.) Drivers drove fast (and slightly crazy) and I saw very few police cars…Reading signs in a foreign language is not my forte, but in the end we survived it all. — And had some good laughs along the way. 🙂
— Prices. Food and all else seemed to be priced well, at least compared to Hawaii. Portugal is part of the EU so we had to exchange American money for Euros. We splurged on lots of treats and found healthy snacks at the large grocery stores. I WISH I could have done more “real” shopping, but again…I hope to go back!
More general information about the country of Portugal on this website.
NOW FOR SOME HIGHLIGHT PHOTOS: Some surf, some lifestyle, mostly all taken by Quiksilver Photographers (thank you so much!)
These four boys became fast friends (even if competitors) on this trip. 😉
Luke, who unfortunately got very sick on day 3 of the competition, did his best to come back strong. He competed with all of his heart, and though he did not win, he had a blast and scored some outstanding waves. And I’m dying to frame some of these gorgeous drone shots!!
Love these lifestyle shots of the boys…
Soccer!! I mean– FUTBALL!! Back at LaPointe…
The whole group loved Guarana. 🙂
And the winner of the contest was Levi Slawson…from Encinitas, California. He performed super well all week, and we were really happy for him.
If you are planning a European vacation, I absolutely recommend Portugal. This trip only whet my appetite for more of its wonderful Pastel De Nata and breath-taking views, along with rolling countryside, charming old buildings, and cobblestone roads. Portugal is a very special place.
OBRIGADO (thank you!) for for following along on our journey and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve spent time in this amazing country! (Comment below!)