Isn’t about time the European Union big wigs stopped faffing about with trifling matters such as the Eurozone collapse and instead put their mind to more important matters? Say the formal allocation an official European Surf Capital for example. If such a process were to happen it would be a fair bet to say that the only two surf towns in with a chance would be Hossegor and Ericeira.

Now clearly if the EU was running such a bid process, an organising committee of around 1000 staff would need to be convened for a four year long gravy train bidding process, where free wetsuits and gold encrusted surfboards would be exchanged for valuable surf capital votes.

Photo: Laurel

Surf Europe though, for once, decided to approach the debate with a far more rigorous and even handed approach by simply asking an impartial (dare we say ignorant) non-European to take a look at the two surf city’s claim for capital status.

Both have good cases, having played, and still playing, an integral and fundamental part in the European surf scene. On the historical angle both areas were surfed properly for the first time back in the ‘70s, but truly cemented their surf credentials in the 1980s, when a mix of local pioneers and traveling expats knew they had found waves that were truly special.

This discovery transformed both the fishing and agriculture villages into bonafide surf towns. The surf industry and surfing based tourism quickly became central, if not totally crucial to their economies.

First Rip Curl then Quiksilver based themselves in and around Hossegor in the ‘80s and their success meant all the other major surfbrands followed. There was 20 year period of incredible expansion, and even today, despite the global financial crisis, the industry is the area’s biggest employer.

Ruben Gonzalez, Ericeira. Photo: Ricardo Bravo

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