We are based in 2 different areas Santa Cruz and Baleal – Peniche.
Let me give you a small description of both places, only around 40km far.
Santa Cruz is a lovely small town, with few restaurants and beach bars, but with around 20km of coast draw in a straight line, from Santa Rita to Praia Azul.
End of July and August is the highest season and full of people everywhere, but still quieter than Baleal. In Santa Cruz, local people have the habit of going home to lunch, so at the middle of the day, we can very often find the beach almost empty until 3 to 4 pm start to full up again. The coast is totally turned to West, with few cuts, which makes the sea and waves, sometimes rough even during Summer. For Surf, for beginners, It’s always possible, we only have the limitation of the tide. The classes will always have to be close to low tide schedule. So if someone is trying to sell you a twice a day Beginners Surf Camp, glup, almost impossible…
Baleal has a lot more tourists everywhere, but also a lot more services. You breathe a kind of new distorted Surf Culture everywhere although a lot of fake people selling unrealistic experiences. Lots of illegal foreigner in each corner, coming to Portugal only during this season to work with tourists. But a wonderful wonderful place with its own characteristic. White thin sandy beaches, red earth to the north, a bay, an island, and so many cuts that if the wind changes, you can walk and change Surf Spot and keep surfing offshore conditions.
For the Surf, the sea is a lot easier in Baleal, but what can be a problem is the disrespectful crowd, packing all and every little place where the waves move.
Baleal has an Islan and Peniche works like a peninsula, and in between this 2 the bay, so we have in an area of less than 2000m coast, cuts that make it possible to Surf 360 days year around!
For us, as an academy, you can choose one or the other. We have every day one class at Lower tide in Santa Cruz (The only schedule possible, according to the conditions of the beach) and 2 or 3 schedules available at mid tides or even in high tide if the waves are smaller.
I personally deliver many of the classes, and drive both ways almost every Summer day, and will do my best and use all my academic knowledge and 20 years of sports teacher experience to make sure you have a great experience.
So, hot potato back at you! Which would you choose?