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Matador Network is the web’s largest travel magazine. Our fast growing community includes independent travelers, as well as athletes, journalists, photographers, filmmakers, and writers we sponsor to produce original investigative works. Our mission is to empower, connect, and feature travelers promoting culture, conservation, and sustainability around the world.

Evening surf session! Photo from #MatadorN staffer @spoart - follow him for more #travelstoke!
#summer #surfing #sky #ocean #pacific #sunset

Light at the end of the tunnel. Photo from #MatadorN reader @brodie_mccabe. Thanks for tagging #travelstoke!

#wave #ocean #surfing #light #lensflare #summer #nature #outdoors

#MatadorN Ambassador @almackinnon shot this awesome photo of surfer Mike Schlebach in #Capetown. #Travelstoke!

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#MatadorN reader @wingsofafeather making the most of a gloomy day in #NewZealand! #Travelstoke!
#surfing #beach #ocean #reflection #clouds #travel #catlins

1. The coastline is huge.

Portugal has nearly 1,800 kilometers of coastline, and there are beaches for surfing almost everywhere: from northern spots near Porto, to Ericeira, Nazaré, Peniche, Cascais, Costa da Caparica in the south, and some others in the Algarve. It doesn’t matter where you stay, because even if you have to drive two or three hours west, you’ll find a nice place to begin your surf experience.

2. The local sardines are the perfect food.

You probably hate them because your mother told you they were good for you. But give them another try now that you’re in Portugal. You’re older and wiser.

What you’ve eaten in the past is very different from the grilled sardines, sardinhas asadas, found during the Portuguese summer. They’re delicious; but the real difference is the experience of going into a small local restaurant and inhaling the fishy, fresh Atlantic Ocean aroma.

3. Southwestern Europe has awesome weather.

Europe in the summertime can be a gross, sweaty experience. But not in Portugal, where summer temperatures remain a pleasant 80°F. Autumn and spring bring averages of 60, while winter temperatures hover in the high 50s. Even if locals say, “Hey man, it’s chilly today,” you’ll be smiling and sweating tears of pleasure.

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Since 2008, Matador Ambassador Chris Burkard has been pioneering surf photography in the Arctic. Arctic Swell, a new film produced by Smugmug, documents Burkard’s latest mission to Unstad, a bay in the Norwegian archipelago of Lofoten just inside the Arctic circle.

Burkard’s crew, which included surfers Patrick Millen, Brett Barley, and Chadd Konig, had to take three flights, a ferry, and drive several hours to reach the surf. They traveled in early March, with temperatures hovering around five degrees, sometimes dipping below zero. Burkard notes, “Some people think I am crazy for wanting to go that time of year, but it’s when the northern lights are brightest and the surf gets epic!”

Besides showing how perfect conditions can be found and ridden in one of the harshest environments on earth, Arctic Swell is a look behind the lens at Chris Burkard, whose voiceover gives a lot of insight into his motivations as a photographer. “It’s not even the most beautiful images,” he says, “But the ones where you think, ‘I really gave something of myself to get that shot.’” image

From: Surfing the Arctic