Surfer, vocalist and artist, Ithaka (Ithaka Darin Pappas) at Madeira Island, Portugal. Photograph: João Valente - Surf Portugal Magazine.
Surfing first started in the Portuguese island of Madeira in the 1970s off the villages of Paul do Mar, Jardim do Mar and Punta Pequena. Almost every surfspot is rocky and powerful. No waves seem to break under six feet in the winter months. Madeira did not really come to the attention of foreign surfers until articles in surfing magazines in the mid-1990s. Since 1996, top Portuguese surfers from the mainland compete in the Madeira regional edition of the 'Billabong' Challenge.
In 2001, the World Big Wave Championships were held in Madeira.
One of the more memorable sessions in the history of Madeira surfing occurred on January 25, 1995 at Jardim Do Mar. Portuguese big wave legend José Seabra and the Californian artist/rapper/surfer Ithaka rode absolutely flawless waves up to eight meters on the face by themselves with no other surfers in the water. Photographs of the session by João Valente have appeared in publications around the world including the cover of Surf Portugal Magazine. The conditions which were some of the cleanest and glassiest ever recorded at the classic big wave point break, inspired Ithaka to write the song Seabra Is Mad  about Seabra's courageous performance on that day. The song was released on Ithaka's 2nd album Stellafly (1997) and was later awarded both "Song Of The Year" and "Video Of The Year" by the prestigious national newspaper, Público (Portugal)  as well a being nominated for "Song Of The Year" at that year's annual Premios Blitz (the Portuguese equivalent of The Grammy Awards). Ithaka also wrote two other songs inspired by surfing in Madeira, "Eden By The Sea" (also from the album, Stellafly and "Been Four Years" (album Flowers And The Color Of Paint). In 2012, Paul Mandaca, a Brazilian Blues rock performer used a version of Eden By The Sea as the title track of his debut album.
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