VOLCANIC BEAUTY AND YEAR-ROUND SWELL
Located in the North Atlantic, this autonomous region of Portugal is an archipelago of nine islands, divided into three groups: Western, Central and Eastern. Most of these islands have quality surf spots but none have as much potential as São Miguel, the biggest both in geographic and demographic terms.
São Miguel is one of Portugal’s most consistent regions, with guaranteed surfing almost all year due to its exposure to the ocean. Ribeira Grande, on the North coast, hosts one of the most important surfing competitions of the WQS world circuit. Fajã do Santo Cristo, in São Jorge, is also a spot which deserves a visit. There are flights as well as boats between the islands, although the boats only run in the summer months.
Volcanos are a big part of the Azorean DNA. The landscapes and the natural monuments are extraordinarily beautiful, and can be found all over the islands. They include the Sete Cidades Lagoon, the Vila Franca do Campo islet or the Furnas. Varied flowers and herds of cows lend the region its own unique colour and character.
As a rule, the Azores have mild and temperate weather, but the region can be unstable and is generally humid. There is not much variation between seasons, and the islands are fresh and lush green all year. On some days you can go through four seasons. Average temperature in the winter is around 15 degrees and in the summer slightly above 24. It rains more in the winter, but the summers can also have their share of rain.
Although there is swell and surf almost all year round, the best seasons are autumn and spring. Conditions are subject to constant change, but tend to be more unstable in the winter, when the swell gets heavier and the storms set in. In the summer months the wind usually blows from the North/Northeast and conditions are more stable, but the swell is less consistent.
With several islands blessed with good surfing, São Miguel is the epicentre of the Azores surf scene, due to the variety of waves both in terms of quantity and of diversity. São Miguel started becoming more popular due to the world championships which it hosts every year. The island’s strong points are versatility and consistency – there is swell practically year-round – as well as its warm waters.