@testo_Dani Bruch

The Cape Verde islands are thought to have been officially first discovered in 1456 by the Portuguese, but there are suggestions that the islands had already been discovered previously to this. However, there is no evidence to back this up, and it is instead based on the probability of such a scenario.The islands were all discovered at different times, and have all played different roles throughout the history of Cape Verde. Sal was discovered in 1460, along with Boavista, Santiago and Maio. Indeed, the exportation of salt was the biggest business for the island before tourism came along. São Vicente was also discovered early on in 1462, but it was only in the 19th century that it began to be significantly populated.

Long ago Sal was discovered by some windsurfers and they were so surprise of the incredible long, barreling perfect waves with wind off shore winds they find there.

From that moment till now, Sal  was slowly getting recognize all around the world as one of the best place for wave sailing and surfing.

Still a lot  to discover about cape verde islands and undiscovered waves, we decided to go for the adventure of searching for those waves in the other islands.

All the breaks we found were long and hollow waves with really light cross off shore winds.
Some waves were far from the shore where was pretty scary as we were in the middle of nowhere and some others breaking barrelling straight to the reef with dark water, look like really sharky place where we had to be a bit careful on pushing to much because if get injury the closer  harbor was like 3 hours sailing with the boat.

After 3 years going to Cabo Verde, being for the PWA  comp, or for training periods before the events, one of my illusions had always been to do a boat trip again, like I had done at my first visit for the photoshoot for F2, around those almost virgin islands. The experience was so great that I had to do it again.

The Captain…
A good friend of mine from Tenerife, also an ex-PWA competitor, Yoann Kerherve, made his choice a couple of years ago, to leave Tenerife to start a new experience in life a few Km down south the Atlantic, at Boa-Vista, Cape Verde. He started a business and got settled there pretty fast. Everything was growing quickly around him and it seemed that the move was made for him to be established, have a wife, childs and get old…but no! Adventure is in us all Windsurfers and we cant stop searching were to go next, to rip some sick waves….and sitting on one single island is too limited, specially when you know that there are breaks out there, perfect and waiting to be surfed. That’s why Yoann decided to quit it all and buy himself a Catamaran, to live his personal dream; cruise around the Cape Verde islands and go were ever he wants to discover a new break.

Since he has been down there, at every visit to Tenerife, he brought insane pictures of waves and landscapes, that made me always really jealous. So when he came last time around May, I warned him, that this time, after the PWA event in November, I would visit him. I spoke with my good friend Bart David about it, also ex-PWA competitor, local at El Cabezo, Medano and also a regular Judge now at the PWA wave events and of course, a good friend of Yoann too, to finalize the invitations, with another Tour-mate and friend, Dario Ojeda. There was not much to talk…we are down there already, season is over by then and the only plan on the schedule was to go sailing, surfing, fishing and relax….so it was on!

Comp over, boarding time…
After a “great” competition with no wind and hardly any waves, we all were desperate to jump on the boat, to leave behind the land and to disconnect. Competition without any conditions is way worse than if it is on, as the tension get’s higher and higher as soon as the days passes and nothing happens…and at this comp it was even worse cause we were trying to run the comp in something that was just not there…anyway…

Thanks to a fisherman’s boat and 500 Escudos(5€) for the journey, we could pack everything at one at the harbor in Palmeira, where the Catamaran was parked. Smiles were big meanwhile we were loading all the toys…finally! After choosing cabins and setting everything up, we decided to depart immediately, to be next to the spot for the following morning, to not loose a minute for the morning surf. It took a couple of hours to get used to the no-stress and calm live on the ocean…but it’s an incredible feeling. Peace invades you!

Finally parked at Punta Preta, and as Murphy’s Law is, the next day of the comp, waking up with the first sun light, we could finally hear the “terrible noise” of waves breaking on the shore…let’s go!!! The boat was awake in a few minutes, coffee, breakky and man over board! The surf was great! Light off-shore wind, 6 foot and barreling! A dream come trough! We all surfed until we could hardly paddle anymore, had some lunch to jump back in the water a couple of hours later. Wow, what else can you ask for?? Enough wind maybe to finalize the day with a windsurfing session? Yooo!!! Let’s rig and go! INSANE! What a great day! We had like another 2 hours of sailing on top of the surf, with a rising swell that was growing more and more…perfect timing for our trip!

Quality is big at Punta Preta and all of us being desperate to get more waves, we decided to see what God Neptune had prepared for us for the next day…no comment!!! At first light we all were ready to go and checking the sets…ugh…there were 10 to 16 foot sets rolling trough…with a light off-shore breeze…insane! That day I surfed for 11 hours! Yeah 11 hours! 5 hours in the morning, from 07 to 12 and another 6 hours after lunch till dark, from 13:30 to 18:30!! I was the happiest man on planet earth! Quite a lot of the guys from the tour were still around too, as there were some plane issues, so it was great to share with all of them such amazing good waves! I think all of us out there will remember this day with no doubt!

Time to explore…
Unfortunately swells in Cape Verde come and go pretty fast, so the next day it had gone down pretty much, so it was time to get moving. After a quick surf and a spear fish session, were I got the biggest fish I have ever caught so far, we decided to take the Ankara up and leave Sal. Forecasts were not that great anymore for any of the islands, but still we thought it would be nice to see a bit of the other islands. We visited BoaVista for some days, were we had a massive swell that came trough, but with some southerly winds that made the whole coast have onshore chop destroying the potential option to score some big clean waves…we still found a rideable spot on an outside reef a few km up the harbor of BoaVista, but no way we could catch those waves…and trust me, normally I am the first one out to at least try it out…its hard to say exactly how big it was, as we had no reference…but of my big wave experiences so far, and measuring it more to little than to exaggerated, I would say we had some triple mast high monsters falling in parts! Massive! We were tempted to try to sail it, as the breeze was kinda off shore port tack, but ey, one mistake there…don’t know…did not wanted to figure out what could have happened…way to risky…maybe with a ski near by and knowing that a good hospital was around…could have made our day…but not like that in the middle of no were with no rescue options.

After couple of days chilling in BoaVista we thought to do another trip to San Nicolao. I remembered that I had surfed a wave there with no swell at all, during the F2 photoshoot a couple of years ago…and wanted to have another close look at it. We got there and scored it directly. Nothing epic, but with hardly any swell, some really nice and clean barreling right-handers came trough, lots of fun. A bit scary though, as arriving to the bay, 2 pretty big hammer sharks were making there rounds around us and we were not sure if they might had followed us to the spot…but the surf was calling, so we tried to ignore that fact. 🙂

The sharky experience…
Beeing half way trough the islands, we decided to go even more north, to look at San Antao. Another beautiful island, pretty green, with super deep waters. I remember that we wanted to have a rest near the coast and hit the Ankara, but for ilke 50km we were sailing 15 meters next to the shore and depth was not getting less than the 50m…incredible. It was finally, at a kinda outside reef with 15m depth, we could have a stop. It was good for a change, to go for a swim and a bit more spear fishing, were I am not that sure if I would do it again. We were at the furthest north coast of the whole Cape Verdian archipelago, with really deep water around us, in the middle of the Atlantic…ok, spear fishing there was amazing. Fish all around you, they were almost in you’re way and not swimming away when you approached them, really weird but amazingly nice….until 2 friends came to visit me at my adventure…first time ever I saw sharks under water! I think I have never swam so fast in my whole life! I left my buoy with the fish behind and went to the boat that was like 150m away from me…I was shitting my self! But in a funny way, I realized that they did not care about me at all. So I went back with Bart on the dingy, to get the buoy and to see if they were still around…after I saw they were gone, I was just so tempted to get some more fish, that I had to give it another go. It obviously did not took long until they were back. I guess me shooting around with the spear was causing their attention. The most impressive of all this was when one of them, found a half dead fish, that I had lost previously. He ate that poor thing in such an aggressive way…I was at the surface stunning at those images, as I were seeing a National Geographic chapter…amazing nature! In any case, my natural TV session would not last for long, as I did not feel that great watching too long…so I went back to the boat with a totally fricking experience…crazy!

Praia…time to go home…
The time had come to initiate our return. We still had the last visit in front of us, Praia. We got to Tarrafal de Praia and again, insane scenery of beautiful green valleys, bays and waves…nothing big, but a fun head high surf on our own to finish this unique trip. We just had so much fun during the whole trip. It was the best to chill and relax, to charge up batteries for the upcoming season. I can only recommend a boat trip. At least once you have to do it, there is nothing similar than being with some mates on a boat, to just windsurf, surf, fish and have fun. I will definitely schedule a boat trip in my plans for each year…cant wait to repeat! Yoann’s plans are to change his home for the next year, to initiate his personal trip around the World, so we all agreed already, that once a year we would visit him, were ever he is based at that moment! So trust in more news from us next year…from some where…:-)

In any case, if anyone would like to do his boat trip soon, don’t hesitate to contact Yoann and propose him you’re intention of what you’re dreams are, for sure he is keen to take you around the oceans beauties, where ever he is based! He already got quite a few offers on his web for charter tours…Check his website on: www.esperantosoulsurfing.com