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Alex Botelho suffered a horrific wipeout at the first-ever Nazaré Tow Surfing Challenge. After he was rescued by his partner in the event, Hugo Vau, they were unable to outrun a mountain of whitewater behind them. Things went from bad to worse when another wave appeared behind them. The ski pilot and Botelho, who was clinging to the rescue sled, were sent flying high in the air.

Botelho was washed into shore unconscious, where rescuers were quickly able to get him to the sand. While not much is known at the time of reporting, the WSL recently gave an update on Botelho’s condition. “Currently, he is stable and conscious,” they wrote. “He will stay at the hospital for further evaluation.”

Both Botelho and Vau are staples in the tight-knit big wave community, and like any close call, it brought things into stark relief: “Today I was confronted with the reality of our sport,” wrote Nic Von Rupp on Instagram. “Heartbreaking watching my brother @alex_botelho between life and death right in front of the eyes of the world. Honestly, very few would have survived, just a beast of a human like Alex to pull through… not only because of the strong human he is, but mostly for the love many people have for him praying to pull through.”

We’ll have more as this story develops, but for now, we’re sending our best wishes to Botelho for a quick and full recovery.


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