about this series
My first trip to Madeira was mind-bending. I discovered the surf there through an article that ran in Surfer Magazine in 1994. Even though the location of the article was never disclosed, I did a little homework and figured out that Madeira was the source of some of the most gorgeous surfing photos I had even seen (thanks Ted Grambeau, once again). I went the following year, in 1995, to see what it was all about. A friend was supposed to join me, but had to bow out at the last minute, so I went it alone.
I arrived late one rainy night with directions for my trip that were literally scribbled on a cocktail napkin. They said "rent a car, drive to Jardim do Mar, go to Joe's Bar and ask Joe where Cecilia's house is." That was the only place in the little village to rent a room, and those were the only directions I had. The drive was on winding mountain roads and it took me two and a half hours to reach Jardim. When I got to town all the lights were out, and Joe's bar was closed. I saw one couple walking along one of the village paths, and asked in Spanish (because I knew no Portuguese at the time) how to find Cecilia's house. Thank goodness they knew, and led me to her door.
The next two weeks offered up some of the most incredible adventures of my life. (Click here to read my article in the Surfer's Path about my first trip). Cecilia became like a second mother to me - she is truly one of the kindest and strongest women on the planet, and a friend for life. There were no local surfers on the island at the time - just three of us foreigners staying in Jardim and exploring the island together: Angus Opie, Aussie surf legend, and Magnus Wolfe Murray (aka "Moona"), Scottish skateboarder turned surf hellman.
I was hooked to Madeira for life. I returned every year for twelve straight years. In the early 2000's, the government started to destroy surf spots left and right, which led me to form the global non-profit Save The Waves Coalition to fight for their preservation. Some of the waves in this series no longer exist.