Video mission for Algarve SUP

Hi there!

So here we go, Mauro and I (Nick) who jointly own Algarve SUP, have set ourselves a mission. Create as many videos as we can before the 13 August. That is sixty days away (give or take) and the maximum we could make is 60 videos.

How many videos do you think we could make?

Submit your answers to us and we’ll send the first winning answer an #algarvesup t-shirt (just like the one Mauro is showing off in our first video below).

Submit your answer

SUP Adventure in Portugal

zezere sup

Each year the Algarve SUP team ventures out into the unknown for a week (or more) of pure adventuring by stand up paddle. In 2016 we plunged into the depths of Portugal and explored the River Zezere and the River Tejo for 9 exciting days. I documented it on video (which you can see below in a YouTube playlist) and I wrote up a fairly long winded tale about it.

Let me know in the comments if you want me to write more?

Notes from the Zezere SUP Adventure

A 9 day SUP adventure paddleboarding down the rivers of Central Portugal

Planning any kind of paddleboarding trip is half the fun for me. Pouring over maps, visualizing potential conditions, dreaming of the dewy dawns that could call in a new day. All that is hugely exciting. It can also get frustrating due to unforeseen constraints coming to light. That is where I was two days before the #DouroSup. In true modern tradition I had even hashtagged the journey #douroSUP. The caps were printed, the vests were laid out crisply on my bed, all the kit was present and accounted for… all branded with our trip to come: “The Douro SUP”.

A friend who operates a Sup school in central Portugal, helpfully posted on Facebook: “we tried to descend the Douro River last year but ended up not going due to regulations”. What? I messaged him and got the full story. Apparently if we didn’t apply for a licence (which requires you to have an accompanying motorized boat) then we have the wonderful opportunity of being fined anywhere from €500 to €7,400!

FRIDAY (three days to go)

I drove down to the beach that Friday morning and had a chat with Mauro (who paddled the Algarve with Spike Reid and myself last year). He was on lifeguard duty and he called the Douro River Capitania while we were sitting in the sand, observing some lazy swimmers. The Capitania is the maritime authority responsible for law and order on the Douro River. They told us in a derisive tone that there was NO WAY we would get a licence without a support boat and without the 30 day waiting period. A change of plan was in the offing.

That Friday afternoon, I quickly built a back up plan, however I decided to wait until the team was together in Porto before coming to a final decision as to our exact route. We could either carry on with paddling the Douro (a little awkward now that we knew it was illegal) or proceed with Plan B…

I looked at the equipment laid out neatly on my lounge floor.  It was all there. All there except for one important item: One sparkling jewel in our expedition’s crown was still winding it’s way through the meandering processes of public postage. Amazon had assured me that it was on its way and would arrive on time before we left to join the rest of the crew up in Porto.

Thankfully it arrived that afternoon.

This little device was a brilliant tracking system but I was really disappointed with the online mapping service that the company provided. I searched online and spoke to some adventurous friends. A chap called Tedde de Boer had developed an amazing map that plugged into the Spot device’s data feed. It was called Follow My Challenge and the output was a perfectly designed expedition map. Initially I thought there were only two costs involved: the device (about €120) and Tedde’s FollowMyChallenge service (€75 for two weeks). On arrival in Porto as I was setting up the funky little orange tracker I realized that I would have to activate it for a further €140 a year! This unforeseen extra payment just sent the total cost over the edge for me. To be honest I didn’t feel that paying €300 odd euros for tracking was worth it. It could well be if I had prepared a lot more and garnered funding for the trip. However my attitude was that this was an adventure and we’d try to limit a lot of planning and rely on our own  abilities to pitch, pivot and proceed as opportunity arose.

It was Friday evening and things started to fall in place as others fell apart. Mauro, our young SUP instructor realized he couldn’t make it at the last minute as he had some other urgent commitments. Thankfully my brother, Andrew, flew in from the UK perfectly on schedule. I nipped down to pick him up from the airport.

I had time for a quick Friday afternoon beer with a mate, before picking up the vests and caps which were all hashtagged “#dourosup”. Mmm, that may well turn out to be “#notthedouro”!

It was fantastic to see my brother again and we caught up over a delicious meal at home that my wife had prepared. The rest of that Friday night was spent packing and repacking our massive blue Jobe dry bags. Exhausted, I dropped into bed close to 2am. Our 04h30 alarm didn’t feel that far off.

SATURDAY (two days to go)

Saturday morning dawned crisp and clear as we headed down to Loulé station courtesy of Uber. It was pretty exciting as that was the very first time I had taken an Uber from my house. After using it in Cape Town and London, Uber has just launched in the Algarve and it’s fantastic to have this excellent service available to us. Things WERE falling into place perfectly.

Porto was a six hour train ride away and Andrew and I settled into our seats opposite a woman who seemed strangely familiar. I fell asleep and awoke a few hours later with my brother chatting to her. It turns out that she was a yoga instructor from the Algarve and good friends with a friend of mine. How cool! She pointed us in the right direction on arrival at Porto station and we lugged our heavy kit over to the Metro. Snaking our way over to the beach we arrived at Onda Pura Surf School eventually, having stopped for a quick bite of lunch on the way.

Our boards were sponsored by Starboard and that was interesting in it’s own right. A week before they were supposed to be shipped, we were under the impression that RED Paddle Co was sponsoring us. Due to the overwhelming popularity of RED Paddle boards, when the time came to ship our expedition boards out to Portugal they were completely sold out. Luckily the guys at RED are a great bunch and also happen to be the UK distributors for Starboard. Five Starboards winged their way over to Portugal and arrived in record time, 24 hours before we arrived to unpack them.

The boards were shipped to SUP Norte who organize wonderful stand up paddle tours around the Douro River and the surrounds of Porto as well as selling a lot of stand up paddle kit. Nuno offered to receive the boards for us and he was super helpful. We didn’t get to meet him when we arrived in Porto to pick up the boards but I had met him before on one of his sales trips to the Algarve. We couldn’t have done without his cheerful logistical support.

Now all we were waiting for was for Tim and Nicky to arrive. They had flown into Porto from London and .. what was that? There they were, hovering over the parapet, waving at us. I introduced them to Andrew and we set about packing the boards into our kit. Within an hour we were ready to cart all the kit back into Porto and attempted to fit them (and us) into a little hostel room built for midgets. Nicky had thoughtfully booked the room and thankfully she HAD reserved it; apparently Porto was really full. It certainly was a small little spot but it turned out to be the best sleep I had had in ages, and the best sleep I would have for a while.

The four of us stowed our heavy bags and tripped into Porto center for what was intended to be a few sundowners. It turned into a wet and rainy dinner by the Douro where we discussed our options. No one was that keen to get into any potential problems with the police by paddling down the Douro. The decision was simple. Zezere River. I had mapped out our starting point and that was our new mission for Sunday. So how would you get four large people and four massive bags 230km into the depths of deepest Portugal?

sup adventure bags

SUNDAY (one day to go)

Our original thought was to head over to Europcar, the closest car hire firm that was open on a Sunday and persuade them to let us have a car. We would then navigate our way to Cambas in the Castelo Branco District, drop all the kit and half of us off and return the car to the nearest drop off center. From that centre (probably Coimbra) we would have to try and get back to Cambas by bus or taxi. However as we arrived at the Europcar shop, after a long 5km walk through Porto, Nicky fished out the card of the Uber driver who had delivered us home the night before. I called him up and he was willing to drive us all the way down to Cambas. Jackpot! It would probably be a lot cheaper and a lot easier than the original plan (plus Europcar was looking REALLY full with a queue stretching far out of the door onto the street).

It was a long, uncomfortable trip sitting with large bags on our laps and three fairly large people in the back of a C-series Merc. Two and a half hours later we arrived in the idyllic little village of Cambas. It blew me away. It truly was a perfect little town nestled in a bend of the river, surrounded by hills and tucked away in a lush river valley. Our launch spot was thick with soft grass, shady willow trees and calm water lapping away at the banks. Honestly, it was straight out of the “Wind in the Willows”. I was beyond excited and couldn’t wait to unpack all the boards, pump them up and set off on our journey. One more problem had to be rapidly dealt with though, I had left my phone in the car and it was now driving back to Porto. We called both the driver and my phone but we couldn’t get any reception and he didn’t or couldn’t answer. Minutes later the black Mercedes rolled up and Nelson got out with a grin, handing me back my phone. I should have hugged him!

Launching onto the placid waters of the Zezere felt exhilarating. The culmination of a summer’s dreams all flowed into my stroke as I thrust my carbon blade deep into the dark waters. I had longed for this all year. Countless clients had endured my chattering about the Trans Algarve trip of 2015 and the Douro SUP of 2016. Hey, so this adventure didn’t pan out exactly as I had planned but THAT right there is one of the core truths about a pure adventure. If everything goes to plan it just ain’t right.

I often muse over the word “adventure” and what it means to various people. I define it as a non-motorized trip from A to B that involves a fair amount of physical endeavour. A good adventure almost always features unknown perils, that when looking back on it, elicits a chuckle.  When you’re striving your way through a rough patch with an unknown outcome, well that doesn’t seem so much fun at the time.

We portaged over the first obstacle a few hundred metres in. The weir wasn’t unexpected, but it was a whole lot larger than the smudged little line on Google’s satellite view. Technology helps a huge amount but it still can’t fully prepare you for the exact feeling of being out there, experiencing the real world. I’m pretty sure if we had high resolution paper maps, it would have been much easier. Naturally the bonus about this trip was that we had near constant internet coverage all the way down our two rivers, and that little blue spot, pulsing away our location did help at times.

I looked over my shoulder at Andrew, Tim and Nicky struggling through the rocky rapids. I glanced at the weir, now a distant sheet of water slipping over concrete. The going was slow and we tripped and slid our way into deeper waters, coming across one other weir-like rock formation before being able to stand up and paddle confidently through deeper water again. Gliding past a taciturn fisherman, I enquired if the fishing was good. No smile and a shrug. The banks slipped past and we turned our attention to the night ahead. Camp selection time. This was to become a nightly ritual and we soon slipped into the inevitable hunt for a cosy, albeit temporary, home. Our first night riverside was to be on a bend where clearly the locals came to fish. Sardine cans, bait tins and dollops of white toilet paper were strewn all over the place. We cleaned up the area and muttered to each other how little respect the locals had for their very own environment. Too sad. It was going to be a recurring theme along the river: litter.

The first night was always going to be a little different, sorting out the places in your dry bag where you kept what, figuring out the best way to store stuff, but one soon got into the rhythm of it. We exchanged kit tips and by the time the end of the trip had come, we had discovered three must haves.

  1. The comfiest mattress you can find. We weren’t hiking here, so weight isn’t really a huge issue. Get a good night’s rest on a comfortable blow up mattress.
  2. A groundsheet to unpack your dry bag onto every night.
  3. Some say a tent is better than a bivvy bag. I don’t buy it, to be honest. I love my bivvy bag, but I could do with a bigger sleeping bag.

One of THE most important items, not mentioned above is a party pack of red wine. How can you not sit next to a campfire snacking on rough sardines and even rougher local hunks of bread without washing it down with a mug of red wine. I shouldn’t even have to mention it! The fire died, we retired and I marvelled at the carpet of light that the heavens rolled out. It was exactly what wild camping is all about. Pure peace.

sup adventure cambas river zezere

MONDAY (day one)

I guess many people were riding the concrete highways of the world into work as we stirred on this particular Monday morning. Tendrils of mist clung to the Zezere while light zephyrs of wind tugged and played with them. The coffee was on, the porridge was hot and we were slowly ridding ourselves of the effects of a long night out in the bush.

We packed up camp and headed downstream through the glassy waters. A town appeared on the right a few kilometres further on and we knew we had to resupply. We needed the basics like bread, cheese and water as we hadn’t had time to do a proper shop before setting out. It had been a whirlwind trip through Porto and down to Cambas. All of us were confident that the river-side villages would have at least one shop and if not, one often reads about friendly locals inviting you into their homes and fattening you up.

There was no shop in this village though. A super friendly old one toothed man kindly offered us his rainwater that he had collected off his roof. He sucked on his old brown tooth as he looked at us with kind eyes and mumbled on in Portuguese. His wife had a permanent look of complete shock on her face as we walk passed her and greeted her: “Bom dia, senhora”. She eventually summoned the courage to return the favour and turned back to pulling a tree trunk across the road. It wasn’t a big tree but nonetheless we dutifully asked her if she needed help. She waved us off and we played with her cute little dog called “Viana”.

I asked the old man where the shop was? No shop. I asked him where we could buy cheese, ham and bread. Shrug. We were just about to give up and head back down the steep road to the river when a huge honking echoed off the walls of the old, quiet walls. With a flurry of action what appeared to be a mobile shop screeched into town and out jumped two super animated men. They opened their flashy white van and showed us all their wares: rich wheels of cheese, fresh meats, great hunks of bread, tins of sardines and water (that didn’t taste like roof!). It was paradise. We filled up on supplies and headed back down wondering why on earth the old man couldn’t have suggested we wait around for the mobile shop to arrive. The answer was perfectly simple, because we didn’t ask him!

With our provisions bolstered, we headed back down the steep hill towards Tim and the Starboards. Soon enough we were stroking out through the watery glass, through the Zezere River valley. We paddled past a team of fishermen that looked like they had stepped out of the Discovery channel. The equipment they had brought down was astonishing. We hailed them and slipped on down the river towards our destination. Lisbon occasionally popped into my head with the thought that it was rather a long way off (250kms away) and it was not very likely that we would even get there. Anything could happen in the next week that could stop us from achieving our goal, so normally I just pushed the thought of reaching Lisbon out of my head and concentrated on what was around me. It wasn’t hard, there was so much going on and so much to think about. Occasionally the thought of Lisbon popped back into my head and I dramatised it hugely, creating a mythical city of towering buildings and a golden glow emanating from the streets of prosperity. Our “Holy Grail”.

“Nick. Nick!”

I glanced over at Andrew. “Is this Álvaro?” It certainly was and we floated under the bridge in still, glassy conditions. I was amazed the wind hadn’t come up yet, but normally the afternoons brought the wind. We beached our boards in front of a fake, floating swimming pool and headed up towards what looked gloriously like a riverside cafe. Our only hope was, “was it open?”

We were so deep in the countryside that it wasn’t often that we saw any form of civilisation. It may seem like there were places all around us, but I’m only relating the built up bits. There were hours and hours of just forest and water and hardly any visible habitation. Occasionally a little hamlet would pop up, high on the hillside, but not much civilisation was situated down next to the river. It makes sense if you think about it, as the river is not really a means of transportation (although clearly it was for us). Hamlets, villages and cities rely on communication and infrastructure.  Roads provide the links with the rest of civilisation, not the River Zezere.

The restaurant above the pool at Álvaro WAS open. We ordered some ice cold beers to assuage the rapidly heating day and asked about lunch. “No no”. The Portuguese finger waggled. “No, no, you need to order the day before”. I honestly tried to hide my disappointment as we were all super hungry. I felt like I was becoming “hangry” too. I forced a smile and asked him if he had any bread. No.

I returned to relate the story to the team, as none of them spoke any Portuguese. We were pretty down heartened, but then old finger wagger strode over and announced that if we had time, he could defrost and barbeque a chicken for us. Incredible! We were so happy. A Portuguese chicken lunch is good at the best of times, but when you have been paddling all morning it’s a super special treat. We finished off the rest of our beers and set off up the hill in search of a shop that the waiter had directed us to. “We’re coming back!” we called to him as we trundled out the restaurant and up the hill.

The village of Álvaro is a beauty. Its arranged delicately on the spine of a spur which juts directly into the Zezere. We only realised that this was a part of the famous (to me) “Aldeias do Xisto”. This is a name given to a group of villages in central Portugal that are mainly constructed with slate stone walls. We were to come across another one of these 27 villages on the next day of our journey.

Puffing up the main (and possibly the only) street, we came across another restaurant. Upon asking the proprietor if she knew where a shop was, she shook her head.

“No. No. No shops here.”

I told her that the waiter down near the river had said there was definitely one in the village.

“No. No.”

She shook her head again and wagged her finger. I felt a little exasperated and decided on a different tack. “Do you know where we can buy some bread and cheese?”

“Oh, sure”, she said, Follow me.” We did. She led us into her back room which was bedecked with all kinds of juicy delights to eat and drink. A cash register sat on a table along with some plastic shopping bags. We started blankly at each other. “Isn’t this a shop I asked her?”

“No.No. This is a mercearia!”

Back on the river, slightly heavier with supplies, we braced ourselves as another heavy gust belted down the river, straight into our faces. The water whipped itself up as the gust shifted smartly past us. The only thing to do was put your head down and get on with it. Rounding the next bend, we had the glorious sensation of feeling the wind back up and hurl us down the next straight towards another bend, and another upwind stretch. We did this all afternoon before the light started to fade and the evening search for a camp site commenced.  It’s tough because as you paddle past a place which looks good, the thought enters your head, “What if there is a better one up ahead” and simultaneously, “What if there are no more suitable camp sites?”

Nicky spotted the perfect stone terrace which had created a beautiful flat area sparsely covered with old, dead, black wattles. The access was steep and tricky but we managed without twisting ankles or any other type of injury. Boards were secured, kit laid out in the sleeping area and a communal fire place was built. Once that was all done, we decided to take advantage of the warm evening light and grab a quick wash in the river. Thankfully Andrew had bought some ecological soap with and we set about washing ourselves. Tim and Nicky followed afterwards and soon we were sitting around, chatting aloud and sipping on good red wine as the remains of dinner lay beside us. It’s a fantastic feeling: physically tired, clean and full with a little buzz from the wine. We listened and talked into the night and eventually lay down to let sleep renew us for the day ahead. It promised to be a tough one.

Zezere 2016 SUP Adventure photos

Here are some more shots from the rest of the paddleboarding trip, which was an exhausting 9 day paddle.

Let me know in the comments if you want me to write more?

Guadiana Challenge 2017

The Guadiana Challenge 2017

The Guadiana Challenge 2017 is from Friday 7th April until Sunday 9th April 2017.

Booking now open

Tickets on sale now at €30 each and €20 for the festival dinner, drinks, free camping and tons of fun on Sunday with talks and other activities! Please select your option carefully, we have three options:

32km FUN paddle. Open to all paddle craft: SUP, kayak,canoe, OC1 etc

Book 32km FUN

 

10km FUN paddle. Open to all paddle craft: SUP, kayak,canoe, OC1 etc

Book 10km FUN

 

32km RACE. Stand Up Paddle only.

32km RACE

Huge thanks to Bookitman.com for supplying the credit card booking system. More details about the event itself follows below.

Special note

In previous years we haven’t opened the gates to all kayakers and canoeists but we’d love to have you this year. Please feel free to enter and join us for the weekend’s festivities!

guadiana challenge 2017

A Weekend Festival

Friday 7th April (evening)

This year we’ll be putting on free welcome drinks on the Friday evening at 18h00 on the river side quay at Mértola. Pre-event registration will be available from 18h00-19h00 followed by a casual dinner at one of the restaurants in Mertola (we’ll arrange a special rate). It’s the perfect time to network and make new friends before the paddle on Saturday.

Saturday 8th April (paddle day)

Three different paddle events will take place as detailed below. All paddlers start from the river side quay at Mértola for registration:

  1. 32km Stand Up Paddle RACE from Mertola to Alcoutim.
  2. 32km fun paddle from Mertola to Alcoutim (SUPs, kayaks and canoes all welcome).
  3. 10km fun paddle from Mertola to Penha d’Aguia (SUPs, kayaks and canoes all welcome).
  • Registration 07h30 – 08h30
  • Briefing 08h30
  • On the water 08h45
  • Departure 09h00

Please note that the registration price includes the following:

  • Transport provided for you and your board back to Mertola after you have finished (from both Penha d’Aguia or Alcoutim).
  • Snacks, energy bars and drinks supplied in a goodie bag.
  • The official Guadiana Challenge 2017 T-shirt to be worn on the day (please).
  • Insurance.
  • Medical assistance if necessary.

We finish at the town of Alcoutim where refreshments will be available. For those of you who would like to enjoy the only trans-border zip line in the world, we have negotiated a 10% discount. Prepay at €16.20 or pay on the day at €18.

zip line spain portugal
Photo courtesy of http://www.limitezero.com/

Riverside Dinner on Saturday night

After our return to Mertola, we will hold the prize giving and commence with the Riverside Dinner held on the quay. Live music will entertain us while we feast, and a campfire will keep us warm. However please remember to bring warm clothes for the evening. In case of rain we will divert to an alternative location close by.

Sunday activities

Sunday kicks off at 10h30 with talks in the tents down on the quay by stand up paddle adventurers from around Europe. The pizza truck will be on hand for lunch and Leonard Nika will be offering a professional race clinic (for those of you who want to get into racing or just improve). There is more info at the bottom of this post.

Map of the stand up paddle route

Take note of the landmarks to give yourself an idea of how long you have to go (or print out this map below). The first major tributary is at 5km, Penha d’Aguia is the first stop at 10km, Pomarão is the second stop and easily noticeable at 19km. The Rio Vascão comes in from the right at 22km and forms the border of the Alentejo and Algarve regions. Puerto de la Laje is at 24km with the finish at Alcoutim after 32km.

We’ll be adding more info to this page as we get closer to the event.

Guadiana Challenge 2016 Promo Video

Guadiana Challenge 2016 Photo Album

2016 guadiana challenge

Guadiana Challenge 2015 Photo Album

2015 guadiana challenge

Appendix 1

Race Clinic with Leonard Nika

Leonard Nika: Professional Stand Up Paddler.

  • Top 10 World Ranking 2016
  • 5 Time Italian Champion 2012-2013–2014-2015-2016
  • 3 Time European Champion 2012-2013-2014
  • 9 Years Sup Race Experience.

SUP Race Clinic

12h00 midday on Sunday 9th April 2017 at Mertola Quayside. 45€ (minimum 10 people maximum 20) early booking 5€ discount.

Part 1 Skill Training

  • Optimize body dynamics
  • Paddling Technique
  • Correct postural mistakes
  • Improve turns
  • Improve Beach/Water starts
  • Choosing the right equipment for racing (board, paddle, fins, camel pack, ecc)
    Preparing training routines
  • Nutrition before and after Racing
  • How to improve physical performance.

Part 2 Fun Race

  • Getting ready for the start line
  • Start Fun Race
  • Price giving

On your bike, Algarve SUP!

algarve-sup-charity-ride

Charity ride for END POLIO NOW

We’re raising funds to end polio now (please have a look at the official site) and we have created a team of four (partially) fit guys to pedal up the impressive Cerro São Miguel Mountain in the Algarve. Wow, I had a shudder when I heard we had to cycle up there. However, it’s for a great cause so I have enlisted four good friends and we’re doing it on the 20th November 2017 through our local Rotary Club. Here’s more info:

When will this happen?

It will take place on the 20th of November, to coincide with major fund raising bike rides taking place in the States.  Any money we raise will be matched  2 to 1 by the Bill Gates Foundation so this is a good opportunity to raise a substantial amount.  The ride will start at the Pousada and finish as the cafe in Estoi Square in front of the church.  Please support the Rotary Foundation in their centennial year with this event.

We’ll start at a little village called Estoi and work our way up the mountain on a 35km route. We’re not sure of the exact way yet but there will be definitely people fitter than us that we can follow!

How can you help?

Please sponsor our ride and donate through the PayPal button below. It all helps! All the money collected will be given to the Estoi Rotary for the End Polio Now campaign.




Many thanks,

Nick and Manuela Robinson

Douro SUP – stand up paddle 310km

The Douro SUP stand up paddle adventure

We’re really excited to be embarking on a brand new adventure on the 25th September 2016. I’ll be updating this page as we prepare more for the trip and you’ll be able to follow us daily with our special tracker (below) and on our social media: Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Afterwards we’ll be editing up a video as we did for the Trans Algarve 160km paddle last year.

Exciting adventures ahead!!! #douro #dourosuptrip #douroriver #supexpedition #dourosup

A photo posted by AlgarveSup (@algarvesup) on

Whats the deal?

In a nutshell, five of us will be paddling from Miranda de Douro in the north east of Portugal to Porto, 310km down the River Douro.

Who is on the team?

  • Nick Robinson
  • Andrew Robinson
  • Mauro Engler
  • Nicky Robbins
  • Tim Robbins

Sponsorship

It’s not 100% clear exactly what we’ll be getting but RED Paddle Co have opened their coffers and have generously lent us five boards and a bunch of other cool kit. We’re pretty excited to have the best inflatable brand in the world behind this trip. Thanks RED!

Red-2014-Logo-White

Challenges

In the preparation stages we have come up against some things which could slow us down a bit.

  1. DAMS! The River Douro is damned in 15 places. 10 of these dams are on the Portuguese section of the river and we’ll need to pass 9 of them.
  2. How long will it take to paddle 310kms? Who knows. We’re thinking 10 days, but it may be shorter or longer.
  3. WIND generally arrives in the afternoons so we’ll have to rise super early and rest when its windy (unless it’s a tailwind of course).  It might be prudent to paddle at night too…
  4. RAPIDS – Google Earth hints at the possibility of rapids below a few of the dams we’ll have to cross. Portage or Paddle? We’ll take those decisions on the spot.

15649023

Lake tour

Lake tour

We often paddle up in a beautiful lake in the depths of nature. Its perfect to learn on and prepare for further sup adventures.

What to take with

We offer expert tuition, paddle boards, paddles, pfds (buoyancy aids), leashes and light refreshments however please bring the following items with you:
  • Swimwear, (quick dry shirts are great if you have)
  • Towel (for afterwards)
  • Sunscreen
  • Cap or hat
  • Extra water (for before and afterwards)
  • Warmer/Drier clothing for afterwards
The tour lasts about two hours and it costs €40 per person. If you could pay online it would secure your place:

Photos of the dam

Meeting point

This is a Google Map and can easily be sent to your phone.

 

Secret Beach Tours

 

coastal sup tour

Every day in summer we’ll be running two “Secret Beach” tours a day at the following times:

  • 09h00 Miracle Morning tour (because it’s the BEST time of day to paddle).
  • 11h15 Secret Beach Tour (for those of you who prefer a saner time of day).

Book here

Location of the “secret beach” tour

Probably the toughest part of this tour is getting there! Actually it’s quite easy:

  • Head down towards the beach called Senhora da Rocha just west of Armação de Pera, BEFORE you get there…
  • turn right before where a sign reads “Quinta das Figuerinhas”.
  • You’ll approach a Y-junction where a primary school is located with a sign saying “CRASTOS”. Take the left turn and proceed down the narrow street.
  • The street carries on (don’t turn right at the end) and turns into a dust road after going through some buildings.
  • Turn right where the sign  says “no entry” and carry on down to the beach.

Map of the meeting point

Here is a map of the location and the normal route we paddle. It changes sometimes depending on the conditions.

Photos of the “secret beach” tour

Here is a photo gallery of the spectacular rock formations you’ll see on the Algarve SUP secret beach stand up paddle tour.

 

What to take with

We offer expert tuition, paddle boards, paddles, pfds (buoyancy aids), leashes and light refreshments however please bring the following items with you:
  • Swimwear, (quick dry shirts are great if you have)
  • Towel (for afterwards)
  • Sunscreen
  • Cap or hat
  • Extra water (for before and afterwards)
  • Warmer/Drier clothing for afterwards
 
The tour lasts about two hours and it costs €40 per person. If you could pay online it would secure your place:
 
 
We look forward to paddling with you!

Faro SUP – paddle boarding in the Algarve capital

Faro SUP paddle boarding in the Algarve capital

Quick details pertaining to all Faro SUP tours.

  • 2 hour stand up paddle board tour
  • Leaves from Faro Marina (map below)
  • All equipment included
  • All instruction included
  • Tour leaves by appointment (please book)

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Faro SUP video

Here is a quick overview of the Ria Formosa area and paddle boarding on it.

Faro SUP photos

All these photos were taken on our Faro SUP stand up paddle tours which leave from the Faro Marina (close by to Faro railway station).

Faro SUP location

The meeting point is at the railway side of the Marina in Faro, in the parking lot just behind the two marina cafe’s.

No matter what the weather is doing, you can be assured of a nice easy start to your paddle boarding career in Faro Marina’s calm, glassy waters. Even when there is a stiff breeze out in the Ria Formosa, the marina is a protected and safe place to learn those first few moves required to stand up on a paddle board.

Paddle boarding is pretty easy, its just like riding a bike. You need a few pieces of expert instruction, a calm place to begin, a few guiding tips and you’re up on your feet within the hour.

Now you’re free to learn proper stroke technique to ensure you can paddle a little ways and then you could always be off on your first stand up paddle adventure. Algarve SUP offers sup adventures to hidden lakes (far from the crowds), to spectacular coastal caves below the inspiring ochre cliffs which are plastered all over the tourist brochures and out into the rich marine wonderland of the Ria Formosa.

However, firstly you need to master the basics of stand up paddle, and what better place to do it than in a calm protected area? Take your time and enjoy the peace and quiet that this small little haven almost in the center of Faro provides.
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SUP Yoga in the Algarve

Regular SUP Yoga classes

Yes, regular SUP Yoga classes have arrived in the beautiful riverside town of Alvor (close to Lagos, Praia da Rocha and Portimao). Fill in the form below and enquire about times (we will be adding an online schedule in the very near future). Being close to nature supplements the naturalness of the sport. See what these guys say about their session in the Alvor Lagoon.

SUP Yoga video

SUP Yoga details

The sup yoga session lasts about 90 minutes and costs €35 per person. The timings will follow soon, for now please just get in touch with Nick through the contact form.

Photos of sup yoga in the Alvor Lagoon

SUP Yoga, otherwise known as paddleboard yoga is fairly new and a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the peace and quiet of the great outdoors. Paddleboarding in itself is a calming activity if you want it to be (hardcore athletic if you so choose as well!).

Keep your eyes on this post or get in touch for more details.

Coastal SUP Tour with Algarve SUP

Paddle board on this coastal SUP tour

I can recall the very moment when I climbed the cliff path from Armação de Pera and gazed over at the cliffs and coves laid out before me. I couldn’t believe how perfect this situation was for a coastal SUP tour. We blazed that trail throughout the summer of 2015 and it was brilliant every single morning. Now we’re doing it again this year!

This was THAT moment.

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Coastal SUP tour video

Have a look at this video that I made explaining a little more about where we paddle.

Coastal SUP tour details

As we do on all our tours, we offer expert tuition, paddle boards, paddles, pfds (buoyancy aids), leashes and light refreshments however please bring the following items with you:
  • Swimwear, (quick dry shirts are great if you have)
  • Towel
  • Sunscreen
  • Cap or hat
  • Extra water
  • Warmer/Drier clothing for afterwards
The tour lasts about two hours and it costs €40 per person.
The meeting point is in Armação de Pera right next to the Holiday Inn in the dusty car park. Look out for my silver, orange and black Algarve SUP van. Here’s a map (zoom in to see the exact spot and you can send it to your phone too!):
 

Book the Coastal SUP Tour now

It’s really easy to book – just click the button below,choose your date and Nick will get back to you (hopefully in a few hours!). If you need to go urgently you can try and call Nick on 00351 916634007 or even WhatsApp will work.

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Photos from our coastal sup tour