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Surfing safely in Madeira

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In the surfing community waves of up to one and a half metres are usually the more common and easy waves to tackle. Those waves that start to rise over the two metre level demands a more skilful surfer and puts to test all the experience a good surfer has amassed in his/her aquatic career. For waves larger than three metres (some waves even reach eight metres in height in and around the sea front off Jardim do Mar) the excitement is immeasurable! But beware! Surfing those big ones and their constant "tubes" require a lot of skill, and perfect sea conditions, to get by without any mishap. The waves break very close to shore line, and the rocky bed! The surfing, especially around Jardim do Mar, demands from the surfer all his expertise and acrobatic skills to maintain what would look like zero gravity floating to avoid the potentially injurious seaside.

Ponta Pequena is another great swell. Similar to Jardim do Mar. But with only one problem. Its accessibility. Only die hard and real surf enthusiasts will venture through the rocky precipices that wind down to the small beach - situated five hundred metres or so west of Jardim do Mar. Tread lightly, and gear lightly. Only take what is absolutely essential - the walking/climbing trip could take up to 40 minutes before your feet soak wet. That is, if you have not managed to knock yourself unconscious after falling through a mini rock avalanche! A real penalty for the not so careful.

As dangerous Ponta Pequena is to descend is the challenge at the third surfing spot of renown on the south of the island, Paul do Mar. It is the sea instead of dangerous cliffs that becomes horribly dangerous and over challenging for the inexperienced. Situated less than 500 metres as the crow flies from the Ponta Pequena beach it can take an hours car drive through rugged mountain coast to arrive on the enticing shore. It is on the waters next to this village that the surfer will encounter the most of the tubular or tunnel waves in Madeira. But also the waves with the most threateningly dangerous reputation of throwing Homo Sapiens live to the expecting, waiting and patient nearby rocks or sea boulders just off the seashore. "Surfing here is the ultimate adrenaline high" announces the one brave surfer we encountered - a couple of body bruises testimony to his successful escape from the grips of Neptune's sleepy but sometimes unforgiving basalt guards....










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