The Azores have lots of nicknames. The “Hawai’i of Europe” is one of them. But the Archipelago is also referred to as the “Europe’s Weather Kitchen”. Sitting in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, they get almost any storm that travels from west to east.

Where weather is made.

The interplay between the high pressure Area more or less around the Azores (The Azores High) and the Icelandic low pressure area plays a large role in defining the direction of the path storms take over the Atlantic Ocean. Hurricanes for example tend to hit the Gulf of Mexico if the Azores High stays further to the south while they travel up the US west coast when it’s further north. The interaction between the two areas also defines where low pressure systems and therefore storms make landfall in Europe. The whole system is pretty complicated in fact, and Wikipedia is a good place to start if you have a deeper interest.

How it affects the islands and the surf.

Long story short, there is almost always something going on in the atmosphere during springtime. It’s what makes the difference: the mix between clouds and sun rays makes for intense colors. This applies especially for green and blue, so from water to vegetation, it’s pure eye candy. The often strong winds make it hard to find good surf sometimes as it’s often blown out. But if you’re not terrified by surfing in 50km/h offshore winds, you will almost always find a spot that’s working.

The first week on São Miguel was about getting into surfing mode and further explore the island. We expected pretty bad surf due to strong northeasterly winds, but were positively surprised as we surfed throughout the week. After hitting the beach break called “Populo” in Ponta Delgada we took our time to show our guest places and treat ourselves with good food.

Highly anticipated, been working on it for month and now we’re finally here. Last Wednesday we arrived on São Miguel island. The first days were meant to check out the island, see if everything is still in place and score a surf every now and then. Yesterday we moved into the house that will be our home for a month and we already love it!

While winter staged a comeback for the Easter holiday, we already quit and stored our snowboard gear in the cellar. For us, the end of the winter season has come. Somehow it was hard to miss two seemingly good powder days. But then, on the other hand, I was pretty ok with it as the rewards are quite nice. Two days left until we fly into another surf adventure. The Azores, São Miguel in particular, await us. 

There are tons of nice memories from our last trip to the Azores. Be it the perfect south swell we scored at Ribeira Quente “by accident” or the world-class surfing right in front of our eyes at the Azores Pro including a nice Jet Ski wipeout. Be it surfing naked at Santa Iria, wandering around the craters of Sete Sidade or just relaxing in the hot pools at Poça da Dona Beija. Want to know more about the Azores? Check out our destination page here.

How we happened to ride Maverick Snowboards.

We connected to Mats from Maverick Snowboards a while ago on Instagram and finally met in Stuben at the Longboard Classics where he allowed me to race one of his boards, the “177 Cheater”. His planned to visit friends in Sestriere, Italy after the event and we had some time and were keen to see some more of the Alps. So we joined, because after all, we never snowboarded in Italy so far. The fact that Sestriere was expecting a big dump was even more tempting. Maybe, this would be our first and only powderlapse-day this season and I think we really deserved it.

The local crew from the shoppe.

Maverick snowboards
PLP in the Kronicle Magazine.

In the morning the sky had cleared from the strom and we met up with Gionata, Ettore and their friends and family from the local snowboard shop “Surfshoppe Sestriere”. Those guys are going back to the roots, building their own powdersurfboards since 2012 unter the brand Peace Love & Powder. Those things are huge and heavy but at least as fast. Even with the “Cheater” I couldn’t manage to catch up. Was really nice to meet up and have an awesome shred day with them. Another nice thing about being on the mountain with locals is the car that suddenly picks you up when you end up on a random road and drops you right at the station in front of the queue so you’re the first one when the gondola opens at 10am.

The “Cheater”.

Maverick snowboards
Me hiding behind my “Cheater”.

Mats has two boards on offer, one of them is the “Pipeliner” at 185cm and the other one – my favourite – the “Cheater” at 177cm or 5’8″, respectively. It really holds what Mats promised: it pretty much flies above the powder and if you attack the groomers, this thing from another world. I’ve been riding quite agressive boards throughout the years, including the custom made full-carbon-core boardercross-machine. But nothing matches with the power of 140cm of effective edge. It just goes and it feels like snowboarding on rails. If the slopes are crowded though, it’s the wrong board. I’m really happy to call one of the “Cheaters” my own now and wonder how fast it can go. We’ll find out next winter.

Every year when spring comes around the corner it’s that time of the year when you have to work for untracked lines. We joined forces with Basecamp Andermatt to do so. Around Andermatt you’ll find tons of options for split boarding and the Gondola to the Gemsstock makes for easy access. We chose the “Winterhorn” which consist of a rather short ascent towards the “Gloggentürmli” ridge from where you can ride down to the road over the Gotthard pass, where the ascent towards the object of the starts.