The Medronho

The Medronho

The tiny glass in front of me was suddenly full again and moved expectantly towards me. I picked it up and took a hesitant sip of the strong liquor. I was sitting next to Eurico and Brek at a street side table outside a bar. The kind of bar that attracts the old men prolonging their trip home from work. The kind of bar where the owner brings the bottle to the table to have a chat. It was cold out but the liquor burned. It was late, I was feeling a little tight and trying to remember the events leading up the present. We were in a coastal town in Algarve. The tiny glass was full again. We were drinking a liquor called Medronho. It’s made from a local fruit and is rumoured to have slight hallucinogenic effects in large doses. But as far as I could tell it just made you feel good. It was our fourth day there and we had finally found some good waves.

Back in Eurico’s home town of Figueira Da Foz we had grown tired of waiting for winds to switch and the sand to move back into place. Much had changed since hurricane Leslie hit. Work had slowed and we were feeling trapped. Our friend João “Brek” Bracourt told us about the warmer weather and fun waves he was enjoying down south. We arrived later that night.

The first few days were slow moving and it seemed the bad weather had followed us south. We decided to spend some time wandering the windy streets and alleys stopping here or there for a coffee or a beer. The harboUr was full of bobbing fishing boats that seemed as dismayed with the weather as we were. We explored the red cliffs and caves that lined the beach. Finally one morning we awoke to sunshine and a warm breeze. Brek said he knew a spot so we followed him there. There was a tiny weak right breaking off of a jetty. It was unconvincing but it was empty so we watched on. Then a green lump showed up at the end of the jetty and lined up into a chest high runner. And then another one broke. And then another. “Is this real,” we thought, “or is it the Medronho?”

Words by Sean Cusick
Photography by
Joao Bracourt
Eurico Romaguera & Sean Cusick