Text: Hugo Rocha Pereira | Photo: José Guerra | Translator: João Diogo Rocha Pereira
INTERVIEW WITH TOMÁS FERNANDES – The Face of the Future ” – Read part 1”
Influences & Wavegarden
Until I was seven or eight I didn’t want to go surfing – what I enjoyed was to play football and in the street
Who are your favourite surfers?
Out of the world top 32 I like them all, but I may highlight Julian Wilson, Mick Fanning, Matt Wilkinson and Joel Parkinson. In Portugal, Saca, of course, is the big reference for everyone, but I also enjoy watching Vasco Ribeiro, Frederico Morais and Francisco Alves surfing. I think Chico (Francisco Alves) is one of the best portuguese surfers, there’s no one with such style riding a board and such flow surfing.
Has the fact of you being a second-generation surfer provided you with further family support?
My father adopted this kind of life for a few years before I was born and up until I was seven or eight I did not want to go surfing – what I enjoyed was playing football and in the street. And he never urged me, he’d let me do whatever I wanted to. Until I had a lesson with João Brogueira and I caught that desire. Afterwards I went to Pyrrait’s school and that’s where I engaged in a more serious approach.
This year you surfed at Wavegarden, the artificial wave the whole world’s been talking about. How was that experience?
I had always dreamed of surfing in a wave pool and when the opportunity of going to Wavegarden emerged, a lot of people got excited. I would like to thank Surf Portugal and Surf Total because they provided me with the possibility of materialising this dream. The wave is perfect – very similar to sea waves in its strength and the direction it takes – and you finish it with your legs completely worn out.
Do you consider these artificial waves to be a good alternative, mainly to places located far from the shore?
Exactly. Or to countries such as Israel, where there is sea but seldom waves or no waves at all. In such places it looks like a good investment to me.
And don’t these artificial waves take out of the picture some of the elements that make surfing so magical – the unpredictability, the variety or the communion with nature, for example?
Of course they do. But things have changed a lot in that regard. Previously there were no predictions, the surfer really had that spirit of understanding nature and looking for waves without checking the forecasts. Nowadays this is done as well, but we go looking after observing the forecasts, so…
World Surfing Reserve
If this is a World Reserve, then there are a lot of things to improve. It would make absolute sense to have here a Centre for High Surfing Performance, for instance
Do you consider that the accolade of World Surfing Reserve has been important for Ericeira or that it hasn’t changed much yet?
Honestly I don’t think it has changed much. I don’t really have a deep knowledge on the subject, but…what has been done? That distinction has been given and some plaques were installed to signal the waves; it is true that Ericeira’s name came to further prominence, but I truly believe that if this is a World Reserve there are a lot of things to improve. It would make absolute sense to have here a Centre for High Surfing Performance, for instance.
What are your thoughts on Ribeira d’Ilhas’ current situation?
I think there was some lack of respect, they swept something that was around here for a lot of years to build something that’s closed for about six months now. In the middle of the Summer, beachgoers need to have hotdogs, which makes no sense.
However, honestly and regarding the surfcamp, I grew up there, I always enjoyed hanging around, I loved and I still love it, but it has been destroyed and we can’t keep dwelling on what happened. I think the new infrastructure is really better. If I came from abroad and saw it, moreover with the beach in front of it and awesome waves, I would say that this would be a dream place. What we need is for it to open.
Esta publicação também está disponível em | This article is also available in: Portuguese (Portugal)