That’s right, Algarve SUP are selling our 2014 paddle boards at rock bottom prices (to make way for the new 2015 boards). Get into paddle boarding with these rare bargain boards. All four are up for grabs but don’t hang about, we have had a lot of interest from many people. See below for more details.
Red 10′ SURFER (white)
Rack price €950.00Now only €690!
Thickness: 3.93″ / 100mm
Volume: 193 litres
Rider Weight: Up to 90kgs
Stand up paddle for 32 kilometres? It sounds like a long way but if you hit it right and take advantage of the tides and the winds, you’ll have no problem. Miss a trick and you could be in for a tougher (but no less fun) time. We planned this trip as much as we could, but didn’t realize the amount of impact the tide had so high up the river.
An early start on the River Guadiana
We drove north east from the central Algarve towards Mertola. It’s situated right on the Guadiana River, 130km away from our base in São Bras de Alportel. Sailing down the modern highway we arrived at 7:30 am, in time for a quick coffee with a gathering group of eager hunters. It was a Sunday morning in rural Portugal and hunters are literally everywhere. Shaking them off, we headed down to the rivers edge and woke up the local caravanning community who had parked their movable houses on the local quay. A few curious heads popped out and were clearly intrigued by our wheezing pumps as we inflated the RED paddle boards.
Choosing paddle boards for the Mertola to Alcoutim trip
On this section of the river there are no rapids whatsoever, so I chose a 14′ RED ELITE Race board and my good buddy Pedro stuck with the 12’6″ RED Explorer. Great news for me as he was obligated to carry all the kit we needed for lunch! We were planning to reach Alcoutim by nightfall but honestly had no idea if we were going to come across a serious headwind, tidal shifts or anything else. So we planned for the worst and brought warm weather gear along as well.
Mertola to Ribeira de Carreiras (4.7km)
It was a swift glide down to our first “mile post”. Ribeira de Carreiras was 4.7km away and drifted down rapidly through thick early morning mist towards this little tributary. The river flow helped a lot and it only took about half an hour before we ticked Ribeira de Carreiras off the list. The water was like liquid glass and moved silently under us and sliced through the eery stillness. It was perfectly peaceful and so well worth it to do this trip.
Penha d’Aguia (10km mark)
Slowly the sun started burning off the mist and a serenely rural scene unfolded on either side of the Guadiana River. Rich green hills rolled away towards drier areas and the occasional jangling of goats bells punctuated the idyllic silence of the countryside. We were still moving fast downstream and came across Penha d’Aguia before 11am.
There’s not much at Penha d’Aguia, just a small restaurant overlooking the river. It’s a pity the owner wasn’t open for coffee, otherwise we would definitely have stopped in. He was down on the river bank doing some gardening and we chatted amiably as we drifted by. Next year he said he would have some rooms for overnight guests which, considering the incredible riverside location, should not be missed.
Lunch break (13.5km)
We pressed on, eager to stop for a spot of lunch as it was approaching midday and the morning’s exertions had left us feeling a little peckish. Luckily my beautiful wife had prepared three fantastic gourmet sandwiches each and once we had arrived at a suitable spot, we floated over to the bank, unleashed and scrambled up onto dry land.
Relaxing on a grassy hill overlooking the meandering Guadiana River, we filled up on tasty sandwiches, gulped down some fruit juice and drank in the beautiful scene. It really was a pristine area smack bang in the middle of nature and we were both really enjoying the stand up paddle trip. Pedro and I chatted about how we were looking forward to bringing visitors to see this amazing part of Portugal.
The next stop was Pomarão and as it’s an actual village there are two boat jettys. We tied up at one and traipsed up to the riverside café for coffee and coca cola. The weather forecast had been warning of possible showers in the afternoon and as we looked around a southerly wind blew up, the tide turned and life looked like it was about to get tough.
Returning to our stand up paddle boards at 14h00, we realized it was much slower going than our early morning down stream glide. We pushed on into the grim weather and struggled southwards to the border of the Alentejo and Algarve provinces. This was demarcated by the Rio Vascão at the 22km point.
Puerto de la Laja (24km)
We stopped for a break and then cracked on to the Spanish town of Puerto de la Laja two kilometres further on. With no reason to stop we paddled on. It was now 15h30 and we knew we were fairly close to Alcoutim.
The last 8km between Puerto de la Laja and Alcoutim actually weren’t too bad at all. The wind had died down and it seemed that the tidal current was relaxing it’s onward push. Sure, we were tired but that is what made rounding the bend to Alcoutim all the more enjoyable.
I’d do it again in an instant. Who’s coming to join us?