Finding Solace – Matchu Lopes


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When flights to and from Cape Verde became as scarce as rain, Matchu Lopes and photographer Claudio Cabral resorted to traditional ocean trading routes for escape last winter

Words and photos by @fningasurfkultura

Matchu Lopes finding solace

‘What am I doing here?’ is a question that often crosses our minds during moments of mundane activity in this brief adventure we call life. They never come when we’re in a dynamic ocean, in moments that take our breath away.

As a photographer I’ve sorely missed these uplifting opportunities when working with the world’s best surfers and kiters. Winter is usually the time that I feel thrilled to be part of the scene and, coupled with having the chance to surf at Ponta Preta on Sal, Cape Verde, is all I can ask for. This year though, the lack of travel left me lost.

matchu getting barelled in finding solace

A rider like Matchu Lopes thrives on adventure, exploring new places and new spots. I texted him proposing a trip. He responded quickly with a yes, but realistically we didn’t want to be stuck somewhere due to the rapid increase in Covid-19, unable to get home.

We planned to go to a secret location that he’d visited earlier in the winter. The forecast was promising, but there were logistical challenges. Border controls, Covid restrictions… but also flights, which had became as scarce as the rain.

This is also what pushed so many people away from these islands, leaving on whale or cargo boats. Over time, generations of Cape Verdeans have chosen a life in the ocean and it’s almost impossible to find a family example without such a story. These connections are what saved us back in the early days before Cape Verde became such a popular commercial holiday destination, and it’s what helped our mission, too.

“How could we get there?” Matchu asked. “By boat.” I said.

Click here to continue reading the article and see more of Matchu’s incredible barrels in sequence


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