Catamarans make surfable river waves in Portugal

April 20, 2012 | Surfing
Surfing in River Tejo: Portuguese surfers get waves powered by catamarans | Photo: Julio Barreiros/Gasoline

A group of Portuguese surfers has been surfing waves with the helping hand of catamarans, in the River Tejo, in Lisbon, Portugal. On rush hour, the flat waters of Tejo get a very special 2-foot swell, in rather unusual conditions.

Catamarans linking both sides of River Tejo are creating waves that can be ridden by surfers, in certain days and hours, depending on the schedule of the big boat, the tide and moon phase.

"This is a dream we have. We do not live in front of a beach with waves, but surfing has become a reality at the doorstep. It's funny and it's something different, something that is not seen worldwide", says Ricardo Carrajola, a local surfer.

Riders between 25 and 26 year have been enjoying this unlikely surf spot, in a country full of world-class wave peaks. The surfing conditions in the River Tejo have improved in the last years, because the old transportation ferries have been replaced by modern full-throttle catamarans.

Actually, when catamarans pass by the group of surfers, they wave their hands asking the skipper to accelerate, in order to get bigger and better waves.

"We are dependent on several conditions: tides, wind, boat speed, if they're full or empty. It is not an easy thing to catch. Some days we cannot catch a wave at all," adds Carrajola.

Ricardo studied the entire variables and discovered the only six days in which you can surf good waves in the River Tejo. Also, waves only appear within a 10-minute interval, in fact, the time between two catamarans crossing Barreiro-Lisboa.

"In an ocean wave, you can you see it to forming, position yourself and understand what the wave is going to do. Here, it's different. The boat passes and you need local knowledge to understand what the wave will give you. Even so, we cannot always be in the right place, at the right time", says Nuno Prince, another local rider of the River Tejo wave.

Marcos Anastacio, a former Portuguese national champion, believes there's a special catamaran, with special artificial wave powers. "The 8:20 boat is very good. It's the 'Gil Vicente' and it produces a good swell".

Watch them riding artificial catamaran waves.

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