Surfing is one of the adventures you can experience in the Azore Islands. (Video)
by Ben Whitmarsh
Azores - The best place in the world to get wet
As a Brit, there are certain traits that I have been blessed with just as a consequence of my place of birth. Perhaps the most vital is the ability to have fun whilst everything around me is wet. This means that I along with my fellow country folk, are uniquely placed to offer unrivaled judgment on all kinds of activity that involves some degree of dampness. Therefore when it became clear that my trip to the Azores would involve a variety of liquid based activities, I licked my lips in anticipation. (I also like my lips to be soggy)
Before I regale you with tales of Azorean water adventures, let me give you some details about the place itself. The Azores is an archipelago of 9 islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. They belong to Portugal, so they are also technically the most westerly point of the continent. This means if you want to swim between North America and Europe, this is the best place to start. However, my suggestion to any would-be Atlantic swimmer would be to stick around here for a bit longer and fully experience the delights of the Azores.
Firstly there is some exquisite diving available, offering opportunities beginners to professionals with diving in an ocean bank guaranteeing both an adrenalin rush and lifelong memories, particularly in the south coasts if the island. The water temperature is not too bad throughout the year, ranging from 17º C to 24º C. In fact in winter it is common for the sea temperature to be higher than the air temperature.
But the two activities I am going to concentrate on here are canyoning and surfing.
Surfing in the Azores
|Surfing the Azores: Photo João Miguel Martins|
Just as the divers benefit from constant moderate air and water temperature, so do the surfers. It means that the boarders are out and ready to go pretty much all year round making the Azores a great place for those who want to catch some winter surf. However, don’t fear – this doesn’t mean that the surf zones are overcrowded – anything but. The Azores is still relatively unknown as a surfing destination. There are some famous places though with the "point breaks” and "beach breaks” of the islands of Santa Maria and São Miguel achieving international fame.
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