GET TO KNOW VIANA DO CASTELO
Report: Matt Pearce
Photos: Ydwer van der Heide, Diogo Cardoso and Juvenal Vieira / Feel Viana
Cabadelo beach / Photo: Diogo Cardoso
It might not have been the best week for wind here in Viana do Castelo so far but that doesn’t take anything away from what an incredible location this is. Before the event began, a number of the KSWT riders were in Viana early to train before the event and some of them scored solid days on the reeling rights of Cabedelo beach.
For an idea of what it’s like when the conditions are on in Viana, click here to watch Charlie Wise and James Carew’s video filmed just before the KSWT Portugal.
Righteous rights! / Photo: Juvenal Vieira (Feel Viana)
This is the first time the tour has visited Portugal, and it’s got a lot of potential to become a firm favourite of the KSWT. If you’re thinking about checking out Viana do Castelo yourself, then here’s an overview of what you need to know.
Generally speaking, this area gets some of those most consistent wind on the entire Portuguese coastline. The most reliable months for wind are from May to September, when the thermic El Nortada winds blow in cross / cross-off from the right. That makes it an ideal spot for wave riding when the Atlantic swells roll in.
Protected, clean and glassy. Dreamy / Photo: Juvenal Vieira (Feel Viana)
The waves don’t get huge here, but they’re usually clean and peeling and the wind direction helps them to hold up niceIy for some lengthy down-the-line rides.
Viana is on Europe’s Atlantic coast of course, so a wetsuit is required but a light one will do the trick in summer and a 4/3 will be enough for the rest of the year.
The crew takes in some culture / Photo: Ydwer van der Heide
Viana do Castelo is a lot smaller than nearby Porto (where the closest airport is) but that’s part of the appeal. The GKA riders went exploring this week and discovered a traditional, charming town with an authentic old town, enchanting hidden little streets and epic views across the river and over the kite spot from the Santa Luzia church that sits high above town.
The local food and wine is also pretty epic, and you can find everything from traditional dishes to unreal sushi in Viana itself.
Culturally and architecturally, it’s totally unlike anywhere else the GKA KSWT has visited up to now so the riders and crew were stoked to spend some time checking it out!
Authentic feels in Viana / Photo: Juvenal Vieira (Feel Viana)
STUFF TO DO
The KSWT women’s division – all about team building / Photo: Ydwer van der Heide
Wind is a fickle beast (that’s been made abundantly clear at the KSWT Portugal) but that’s when finding other activities to do becomes key. Luckily that’s pretty easily done in Viana.
Airton, Keahi and Gustavo staying on the water and staying sharp / Photos: Ydwer van der Heide
Cabedelo beach itself is an ultra-reliable surf spot (there’ve been waves everyday this week) and the host hotel for this event, Feel Viana, is surrounded by trails for mountain biking and trail running.
GKA competitors Jalou Langeree and Milla Ferreira head off to the trails with a guide from Feel Viana Hotel / Photo: Juvenal Vieira (Feel Viana)
Viana do Castelo also has its impressive mountain backdrop of the national parks to explore which are just a short drive away.