Tips for Paddlers

When to visit

The Algarve is a year-round paddling destination and the best site for comparing the weather with what you’re used to is Weatherspark.

For British paddlers, an Algarve winter will be pleasantly warm, with accommodation prices much lower than summer rates, and quiet beaches. The autumn sea temperatures will be higher than those in the spring. Depending on your hardiness, in winter or spring you may want to bring a light wetsuit, or rent one from Decathlon with your boat. If you bring your own inflatable boat, Ryanair will fly it to Faro Airport as sports equipment.

I have accommodation in Lagos and would love to have it filled by paddlers. Have a look at my accommodation list: Here.

Safety and Legalities

Regular unlicensed kayaks and SUPs should not go further than 300m from the shore, and should keep away from lifeguarded swimming zones except to launch or land. You can’t fish without a licence.

The website author, yours truly in some winter surf

If the waves are extremely big some local ports will close, so you cannot use their entry channels. Of course you would be free to join daredevil surfers risking their lives on remote beaches.
The HBO documentary “100 Foot Wave” shows how big the waves get in Portugal. They never get that big in the Algarve, but the sea still should be treated with the utmost respect in bad conditions.

SUPs and wind

The Western Algarve is windier than the Eastern side, which can be enough to regularly put off SUP paddlers, who are more vulnerable to the wind than kayakers. In the summer, the heat on the land can cause a strong wind to blow from the North later in the day (the “Nortada”) so early morning larks are better served than afternoon paddlers. The glorious cliffs in the Western Algarve may serve to shelter SUPpers from this wind as long as they hug the coast. However, beaches can get exposed, so kayaks and SUPs should check the forecast on . Don’t risk being blown to Africa. Good safety precautions are to keep a mobile phone with you to call 112 for help if necessary, and use a board leash. There is good mobile phone reception all down the coast. If the winds reach a level which is more than you feel you can cope with, sit down to paddle, lie down in a swimming stance to paddle, or as a last resort call for help and assume the SUP braking position described here:

Happy and safe paddling for all! – incident in the Eastern Algarve.