Azores to Host Major Surfing Competitions This September
The men’s Azores Island Pro surfing competition will take place from Sept. 4 to 9 in São Miguel Island. The competition is part of the Association of Surfing Professionals six star event series. The women’s SATA Airlines Azores Pro six star event will take place from Sept. 27 to 30 in São Miguel Island as well. Both events will be held in Ribera Grande on Santa Bárbara Beach.
São Miguel, the largest of nine islands in the Azores, is located along the north coast and is home to popular surfing spots Ribieria Grande and Rabo de Peixe. Each of these locations is known to have consistent and strong waves. Although other surfing hotspots exist, these two are the easiest to travel to.
The Azores Islands Pro surfing competition is one of 27 men’s star events, while the women’s Azores Islands Pro competition is one of 10 star events that take place throughout 2012. The competition in São Miguel marks the first time the men’s and women’s divisions will run on two different periods. The waves in São Miguel range in size from approximately three to five feet in the summer and up to 15 feet in the winter. The surf in the Azores is powerful and uncharted.
In addition, some of the best surf spots in the Azores provide surfers with little to no crowds. Because the Azores are located in the middle of the ocean, there are always plenty of waves. The islands sit on top of the Mid Atlantic ridge, a large underwater volcanic mountain chain. Although the ridge runs the entire length of the Atlantic, it only surfaces in a few locations. One location it surfaces is the Azores.
The Azores are an archipelago of Portuguese islands located approximately 900 miles from Lisbon and 2,400 miles from the east coast of North America. The islands are served by SATA Airlines from Boston, a four-hour flight.