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SURFING SOAPBOX: Good friends and good waves

What a day it was here in the little surf town known as Peniche, in central Portugal.

The ocean was a nice 64 degrees with a steady offshore wind blowing and a sparkling sunny day, with the air temperature at about 75 degrees and a southwest swell thumping at 10 to12 feet at low tide.

The currents are strong here. The paddle out into the lineup can be compared at times to that of a surging river current. For four hours, I surfed a right peak that was bombing a couple of hundred yards out in the ocean with nobody out.

There’s nothing like the experience of surfing his or her own peak in big waves. I’m not sure there is a time in one’s life when your thoughts can become clearer as when you’re dodging waves as big as buildings. For that four hours, every thought I had about life was crystal clear.


That is, until the herd of sheep (other surfers) paddled out, invading my spot by the end of my session. As I know, that comes with the territory of surfing, especially when you’re a foreigner with two cameras filming you from the beach. Soon everyone wants to be involved, invited or not.

At this moment, I am oceanfront in the cottage I am staying in, enjoying a little red vino. Although the sun is setting to the north of me, and for as many miles as I am away from Laguna Beach, I don’t feel that far away.

I suppose it’s because when you’re traveling with good friends and surfing good waves you always feel at home no matter what country you are in.

Perhaps that is why surfing has always been so special too me and continues to be my first love. As they say, the world is as you are, and right now I couldn’t be happier.



JAMES PRIBRAM is a Laguna Beach native, professional surfer and founder of the Aloha School of Surfing. He can be reached at