Re: Portuguese Surf
Hey, I was in Portugal last September and had a great time surfing Arrafana where there are some great little waves even if you may have to wait a little between sets sometimes.
We also checked out Carrapatera (spelling prob not great) which is definately a bigger and more powerful wave. However, paddling out to the back is not easy and depnding on your fitness and surfing ability you may struggle a little. I've surfed there three times and it was kind of hard work.
I definately suggest checking out both, but personally much prefer Arrafana. We had some excellent days there with beatifully clean 3ft+ sets just peeling off. Can get quite busy though especially when the tides out when it's at it's best.
Both beaches are 30-45mins away from Lagos, not that far north of Sagres, with Arrafana the furthest north.
You may struggle to hire equipment. You definately cant at Arrafana. Your best bet is too stay in Lagos where you can hire gear and there's a really good youth hostel, and go up daily, either hire a car or hitch a ride with one of the surf schools (they usually only go to Carapetere tho). If not get a board bag and some roof straps for the hire car and take your board on the plane and stay closer.
I'd definately suggest staying in Lagos where if you go to the bus station there's always a whole herd of old woman waiting to put you up in there house for very cheap. An excellent way to experience the true Portuguese way of life - grilled sardines and all.
Don't know why you want to avoid Lagos. It's one of my favourite places on earth with a real traveller and surfy vibe (even if the surf is crap there). I went through there and ended up staying 2 months. There's great bars open all night with great music and hot, hot girls! The nightlife can kind of get in the way of surfing but.
Anyway happy travels!