Night Surfing and Human Chains at Cortegaça Beach

Night Surfing and Human Chains at Cortegaça Beach

It took about an hour and a lot of coaxing from the DJs and coordinators but the human chain was finally formed at Cortegaça beach, just north of Aveiro at about 7pm on Sunday, 14th August.

Bikinied bodies of all shapes and sizes stood hand in hand with weekend surfers and residents in a bid to raise awareness of the danger of coastal erosion and hopefully persuade the authorities to put their hands in their pockets and do something to combat it before the beach disappears into the Atlantic.

They’ll have to hurry; it looks as though a giant digger has been munching away at the land and only a few metres of grass and a flimsy fence appear to be preventing the campsite from falling into its mouth.

It’s not just property owners who are concerned; Cortegaça beach is popular with surfers and home to the annual Surf at Night festival. With spotlights beaming onto the waves from the jetty adding to the effect of the full moon, surfers don’t need to hang up their wetsuits at sunset during the three nights of the festival. DJs and beer stands keep surfing spectators happy while the warm up bands do their thing on the main stage.

Olive Tree Dance at Cortegaça beach
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An impromptu performance by Olive Tree Dance at the Surf at Night Festival 2011.

A three-day pass is only 25€ and includes free camping but if you’re not staying the night and not used to festival timings in Portugal, be warned – the headline band don’t start until around midnight and it was almost 3am before Olive Tree Dance made their appearance on Sunday. Luckily for us, they made an impromptu appearance on the beach earlier in the evening.

As festivals go, this is small-scale and aside from a few artisan stalls there’s not a lot going on but who needs it when you’ve got the beach to catch up on sleep and while away the day on?