Research taking place about Ericeira surfers and fishermen


Photography: Vera Azevedo


It’s underway an academic research that focuses simultaneously on two activities that shape Ericeira’s past, present and future: fishing and surfing.

Since 2017, Vera Azevedo, a researcher at the Center for Network Research in Anthropology at the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, has been developing a study that will be the basis for her doctoral thesis in Anthropology.

Titled “Surfers and Fishermen: Heritage, Work and Sport in Ericeira”, it intends to explain the processes of transformation of fishing villages into surf destinations with a starting point at Ericeira, a fishing village that is the first (and only) World Surfing Reserve (WSRE) in the European continent.

In a brief summary sent by the doctoral student, “the study reflects the impact of sea heritage on the village of Ericeira”. Through the ethnographic method, coupled with interviews and documentary research, the goal is to analyze the official discourses on the Portuguese maritime heritage and the multiplicity of uses of the coast and beach, contextualizing the dynamics of sport, leisure and work in Ericeira.

Surfers and Fishermen: Heritage, Work and Sport in Ericeira” studies the transformation processes of fishing villages into a surf mecca from Ericeira

In this context, as part of the National Sea Strategy 2013/2020 and because Ericeira was dedicated as World Surfing Reserve in 2011, Vera Azevedo investigated “the practices and strategies of surfers, fishermen, the community in general and local entities in the face of this new reality. The growth of the local surf industry and its impact on the small-scale fishing sector were also observed in order to understand the transformations that took place and the relationship of this sport with the local economy and policies. Finally, because surfing and fishing are practices based on ‘lived experience’, the study also showed some light on understanding how the performative action of the surfer and fisherman, in their relationship with the sea and the daily life of the WSRE, produces and consolidates a sea narrative.”

Vera Azevedo has taken the theme of her study to some conferences inside and outside Portugal: Stockholm (EASA) and Oxford (ASA) in 2018, and Lisbon (APA) in 2019.

The researcher is currently completing the fieldwork phase to begin writing the doctoral thesis, which should be published in mid-2021.

You can visit the research center (which contains the initial project) and Vera Azevedo’s academic profile online.

Henrique Pyrrait – ph. José Guerra

Esta publicação também está disponível em | This article is also available in: Portuguese (Portugal)