Considered the best Portuguese surfer, Tiago “Saca” Pires is among the best athletes in the world. Despite being modest, he is an obvious ambassador for Portugal and the Ericeira World Surfing Reserve, having also lent his face to the 7 Wonders – Beaches of Portugal.
A constant presence on the World Circuit, Tiago “Saca” Pires was only 13 years old when he made his debut in competitions. This was in 1993 and three years later he was at the final of the National Surf Circuit. This was when he met José Seabra, who assumed the roles of mentor and trainer. The dream of reaching world surfing began to take shape. And it was the beginning of the Portuguese surfer’s international career.
Since then, he has been increasingly and constantly progressing. In 1997, at 17 years of age, he won the European juniors in Hossegar, qualifying for the Junior World Circuit the following year in Australia. Famous names participated in the competition, such as Andy Irons, Taj Burrow and C.J Hobgood. The Portuguese surfer was launched and has never stopped. Competition after competition, Tiago “Saca” Pires won the respect and recognition of surf fans and the public in general. It is no coincidence that in 2001 the American magazine Surfer put “Saca” in third place among the best juniors in the world. The culmination of his career occurred in 2007 when, recovering from an injury that had affected him for five years, he obtained fifth place in the WQS ranking and entered the WCT. Three years later he got the best classification ever, 21st place.
Professional life means you have to travel. What was the most foreign/exotic destination where you had to go to?
I think that the most exotic destination where I have already been to was the island of Moorea in Tahiti. A relative small and incomparably beautiful island. One of those places where we do not mind losing ourselves and spending a few more weeks there!
What is your dream destination? And why?
I think my dream destination is yet to be discovered. All the places, however much of a paradise they are, always have their strong points and their weak points. What motivates me to continue, to seek out and to travel is precisely that thought.
Are airports a source of pleasure or a point of departure?
They are more a point of departure. It is obvious that nowadays there are airports that look very much like shopping centres and sometimes even more developed than them, this is why our lives have been made a lot easier!
What services/products would you like this place to have?
More vegetarian restaurants and healthier food. I always think that there is a lack of toilets and places where people can relax if they do not have access to lounges.
What must you have in your suitcase?
I really like taking an iPad with me. You can do practically everything with the small and light device.
Have you ever had to do some last-minute shopping at the airport?
Yes. Once I was abroad and I was invited to a gala in Portugal and I had to buy a complete outfit. Fortunately I was in a very large airport that had shops for all tastes!
Tiago Pires has ended up being a promoter for Portugal. How do you advertise the country?
I simply describe the country I adore speaking sincerely from the bottom of my heart. I am someone who has already seen many things and I still think that Portugal is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. We have a relationship between our history, culture and nature which makes us a very attractive product.
If you had to choose five symbols of Portugal, what would you choose?
Pastéis de Belém (custard tarts); Fernando Pessoa; Vasco da Gama; Amália Rodrigues and Cristiano Ronaldo.