The beautiful Costa da Caparica, near Lisbon, welcomed Portuguese racers with difficult conditions weekend for the Caparica SUP Race, second stop on the Portuguese National SUP Race Tour.
On Saturday, May 6, the event organizers had planned for a 12 km downwind course for the Long Distance, making the most of the typical Northern wind of the Portuguese early summer. However an unexpected storm at the end of the week led to a change of plan and a new course with a reverse downwind with Southern winds was mapped out.
After a relentless pounding at the starting line, with competitors battling a powerful closeout (some athletes took more than half an hour to make it outside and a few leashes were broken and boards damaged), the course proved to be quite technical with wind coming from behind, lateral waves and some rips and backwash.
On the 12’6 class, local rider Filipe Meira made the most of a small breach on shore break and comfortably won the race (01.05.29) over arch-rival and current national champion Ruben Afonso (01.11.40). Jano Rodrigues and Tiago Campos battled it out for the third spot, with Jano (01.20.58) overcoming his training partner Tiago (01.21.19) in the final stage of the race.
On the 14’0 class, local veteran Rui Meira (01.17.15) used his experience and ocean skills to take the win over Ukrainian born Oleksandr Olefirenko (01.18.04) and 2014 champion José Cirilo (01.19.32), returning to competition after a long injury.
The women also had a hard time making it outside, and once again current national champion Ângela Fernandes (01.30.17) finished in front of Anabela Prioste (01.37.49) and Marta Salaberri (01.47.50).
On Sunday, May 7, competitors were greeted with perfect conditions for the 3 km Technical Race, with no wind and smaller waves, but the three hammer buoys on the inside wrought havoc, with several boards damaged and a few athletes taking some bruises and stories home with them.
On the 12’6 class, Ruben Afonso (00.23.16) and local Filipe Meira (00.24.12) battled it out again, with the last hammer buoy playing a decisive role in the race. Meira had a slight advantage on Ruben (who had a leash tangled on his fin), but both racers took some sets on their heads and Ruben was the first to make it again to the outside, never letting go of this lead. National SUP wave champion Diogo Queimada (00.25.37) finished in third place with a slight advantage over Tiago Campos (00.25.40) and Filipe Ferreirinha (00.25.43).
The 14’0 class had the first six athletes finishing with less than a minute between, with a number of close calls therein. Rui Ramos (00.26.05) repeated his win in Madeira. The athlete from Northern Portugal took advantage of Rui Meira (00.26.06) showing some distraction, already on the sand, and came running from behind to cross the line in first place. Tiago Dinis (00.26.24) achieved a photo finish win over veteran José Cirilo (00.26.25), who raced the whole course with a broken fin.
On the women’s side, Ângela Fernandes (00.27.20) and Anabela Prioste (00.31.35) were the only ones to make it to the finish line, with Marta Salaberri (with a broken board and a bruised arm) and Rute Viegas being forced out.
Next stop on the Portuguese National Tour will already take place on May 21 for the third event of the Technical Race National Tour in Oporto and Matosinhos.
Photo credits: Diana Gil Ph and Federação Portuguesa de Surf