Dr Jess was invited to give a keynote presentation at the 8th International Tourism Congress in Peniche, Portugal in late November. Peniche, about an hour drive north or Lisbon is a beautiful old fishing town on a small peninsula and home to the famous surf break Super Tubes which hosts a world championship tour contest in late October. The character and economy of Peniche has been transformed by surfing over the past decade and there was enormous interest in the kind of research being undertaken by the Center for Surf Research in potentially helping to guide surf tourism development. The Mayor of Peniche was in attendance and many questions from the local community were concerned with preserving the character of Peniche and the surfing experience of local people in the face of exploding surf tourism popularity in the region (Nazare is just up the road).
The hospitality of the host institution was almost overwhelming. Joao Vasconcelos and Joao Costa made sure that Jess was well looked after and set up post conference meetings with stakeholders in Portugal’s network of surfing high performance centers. Dr Joao Costa also operated as surf guide for two days, making sure the best possible conditions were surfed, though the swell only really kicked in the days after Jess’ departure. Despite this Ponting still claimed “I did get one little barrel at Super Tubes” though this has not been verified by local sources.