More than 600 surfers and beachgoers formed a human chain against the extension of the break wall in Matosinhos, a popular surfing beach located in the north of Portugal.
The protesters believe that the 300-meter extension will relocate sand from south to north, which could cause the beach to disappear.
Moreover, the dominant northwest swells will be blocked by the new breakwater, and the waves will be a thing of the past in Matosinhos.
Matosinhos is a fishing town located near Porto, Portugal's second-largest city. It is also the only coastal community in the country where you could take a subway from downtown to the beach.
The beaches of Porto and Matosinhos are neighbors and attract thousands of local and foreign surfers who live in the World Heritage city of Porto.
According to the local authorities, these surf spots attract over 200,000 surfers and water sports enthusiasts every year. The construction of another seawall will create a waveless lake.
"Technical studies indicate that there will be erosion in the south zone because swell will enter sideways, and the sea surge will decline by around 40 percent," underlines João Castro, engineer at the National Laboratory for Civil Engineering, and member of the non-governmental organization SOS Salvem o Surf (SOS Save the Surf).
Matosinhos is often considered one of the best Portuguese surf breaks for beginners and intermediate surfers. It can be surfed over 300 days per year and is surrounded by restaurants, parks, and shopping areas.
Over 20 surf schools headquartered in the Porto region bring first-timers and tourists to this beach on a daily basis. But the spot is also popular among windsurfers, kitesurfers, kayakers, bodyboarders, and skimboarders.
The 300-meter breakwater extension is a project led by Port of Leixões (APDL), one of the busiest passenger and cargo harbors in the Iberian Peninsula.
The port's goal is to increase the number and the size of freighter ships to enter the dock, but it will also increase the pollution levels, lead to the destruction of the beach, and ruin the local economy.
If the construction goes ahead, the waves of Matosinhos and Porto will join the list of idyllic surf breaks that were destroyed by human intervention.