Bloodlines Camp in Portugal scores big time
The future generation of European surf stars were recently bought together for a week long Billabong Bloodlines camp in Portugal. Joao Maria Mendonça (10) and Joaquim Chaves (12) from Portugal, Kepa Housset Esponza (12), Luan Nogues (12), Dorian Gomez (14), Loic Blouin (13) from France and Edoardo Papa (15) from Italy met up at Portugal’s Porto Covo, about a 90 minute drive south of Lisbon. The groms were then spent five days of intense coaching under International Junior Development Coach Richard “Dog” Marsh.
“With pumping waves, no crowds and plenty of sun, it was the perfect set up to help make technical improvements to their surfing,” said Marsh. “We surfed three times a day, every day. And after each session we’d go back through the footage, analyze it, and be ready to work on it immediately in the next sesh.”
The groms were clocking hundreds of waves each day, motoring through sessions, eating their bodyweight in Portuguese seafood to refuel and then attacking the rip bowls and powerful shoreys of the isolated and beautiful coastline of Porto Covo.
“Each surfer was surfing far better by the end of the camp,” says Marsh. “Crucially, they were all surfing how they want to surf. That’s the first question we always ask as it’s the most important.”
“I was so impressed with the level of surfing and the kids’ focus too,” said legendary Portugal lensman Carlos Pintos, who was on hand to document the froth. “There is some real talent between these small humans.”
The groms were also joined by Portuguese surfers Teresa Bonvalot and Luis Perlorio, who both were fresh from impressive final performances at the first event of the 2016 WSL European Junior Series. Aged 16 and 17 they played a mentoring role to the groms, as well as ripping apart the powerful beachies.
“It was an epic week of non-stop surfing,” said Marsh. “These are easily of some of Europe’s most gifted young surfers, as good as I have seen anywhere in the world. They surfed their brains out, but also listened and really made huge steps. And, for once, they were pretty bloody quiet on the way home.”