Ribeira d’Ilhas doesn’t really need introduction, as it is one of the most popular and famous waves in Portugal. This surf spot, located 3 km north of town, on a beach with the same name, represents the best Portugal has to offer when it comes to surfing. It therefore also hosted many regional, national and international surf competitions.
Ribeira is a pointbreak, meaning the wave follows the contour of the shoreline. It is a very long and quite mellow righthander breaking over a combination of reef and cobblestones. Since it breaks into deeper water, it’s also accessible for less experienced surfers. And even beginners can take some lessons on the little reform break on the north side of the reef. The long peeling shoulders of Ribeira are the perfect canvas to draw beautiful lines and improve your surfing. But be careful, because with a bigger swell, the waves get heavy and the currents strong.
As being an extremely consistent wave that is suitable for various levels of surfing, Ribeira is crowded most of the time. However, on an average day the wave doesn`t connect over the whole length, breaking the wave into several peaks with plenty of waves to keep the crowd happy. The inside is shorter but steeper and can be a fun option when the main peak is too crowded. And the break in front of Pedra Preta (black rock) just north of the main peak is also a good alternative.
Ribeira works at all tides, except from high tide in combination with small swell. It’s usually best around mid tide. The ideal conditions for Ribeira d’Ilhas are with wind from the east (SE – NE) and swell from the west, or even better northwest. The valley around Ribeira provides more offshore winds than any other spot in the area. So whenever the wind seems not favourable at other spots, it’s always worth to check out Ribeira. There are great facilities on the beach: good car park, showers, toilets, surf schools and a nice bar/restaurant.