Lisbon, Home of the ‘World’s Worst Surfboards’

Don’t Trust Crooks and Surfers


f you happen to be planning a trip to Portugal anytime soon you probably are going to Lisbon, and if you happen to be going to Lisbon, then you probably have to stop into Crooks and Surfers in LX Factory. At this quaint little surf shop, you’ll find things you might not expect to find in a quaint little surf shop. Things such as a rubber chicken, some cringe-worthy art, knives with forks on them, a meditation chair, and some things you might expect—rad T-shirts and hats and a killer map of where to go and what to do according to some people whose opinions you’ll really care about. And, if you ask nicely, maybe they will even take you to their secret BYOB sunset spot, a sacred ritual amongst the team. Ask nicely though.

They openly admit to being surfers second after being crooks or maybe third after being drinkers.

While they emphasize that they are not surfers (despite, you know, all the surfing), they do feel a bit like your rebellious little brother who may have been sent to boarding school in Portugal (and, incidentally) got pretty good at riding a board on waves). A little rough around the edges, full of self-deprecating humor but warm-hearted and just doing what they love to do. While they openly admit to being surfers second after being crooks or maybe third after being drinkers, they love their beautiful happy city and can point you in all the right directions.

Toto, We’re Not in California Anymore

As the capital of a country that hosts WSL competitions, is home to the place where the record for the largest ever surfed wave was set and nearly 180 degrees-surrounded by breaks for every level—I was surprised by the lack of outright surf culture present. Lisbon is not really a surf city, relatively speaking.

Tell Lisboners your plan to surf during your stay you’ll be met with curiosity.

If you google, sure you’ll find schools and offers for lessons; however, even at the beaches, you won’t find shops set up with a varietal quiver, cars strapped with boards cruising around and when you tell Lisboners your plan to surf during your stay you’ll be met with curiosity (something like a dog’s head tilt). Which makes this non-surf-surf shop particularly stand out, particularly since it is located in the middle of Lisbon’s coolest market, particularly since it advertises itself as the makers “of the world’s worst surfboards.”

So, let’s say you happen to find yourself surfing just outside Lisbon, maybe Cascais or Carcavelos, you practically have to pass LX Factory (where you then must stop for great coffee, food, art and design) to get back to your accommodation downtown, so you might as well pop in. Besides, you probably need a shirt or hat that says “surfers are for suckers” or “kill surfers club,” or an “unlimited edition” recycled fin.

Maybe after you’ve consumed a couple charcuterie boards, some pastel de natas, and thrown back some fine Portuguese wine for a whopping 10 or maybe 13 euro (for that extra glass), head up the four flights of stairs to Crooks and Surfers.