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Congratulations @jamie_mitcho, winner of the 2016 #NazaréChallenge!! #DontCrackUnderPressure @tagheuer

A video posted by World Surf League (@wsl) on

It was a historic day for big wave surfing as the WSL held the first-ever, Big Wave Tour contest in 35-foot-plus surf in Nazaré, Portugal. A wave most often in the headlines after historic tow-in days, the first-ever paddle event was won by Australia’s Jamie Mitchell in a beefy final.

It’s the third event of the Big Wave Tour’s current schedule, following the Puerto Escondido Challenge and Pe’ahi Challenge, propelling Mitchell from 13th place to 5th in the tour standings. The rest of the top 5 now consists of Grant Baker, Pedro Calado, Greg Long and Carlos Burle, in that order. Todos Santos is the last stop remaining on the BWT’s Northern Hemisphere schedule.

“I got into a good rhythm at other events but lost it at some point, but this one I managed to keep it and it feels amazing,” Mitchell said. “I’m going to be here until Friday and it looks like there will be more giant waves coming, so I might just take a day to recover from today and try my luck again out there.”

Two local wildcards turned heads at the event by making the day’s final heat. Joao De Macedo eliminated Greg Long, Grant Baker and Aaron Gold en route to meeting fellow Nazaré local Antonio Silva in the final. “It feels amazing, just the camaraderie in the water and the way all of us were really pushing our limits today,” De Macedo said. “The amount of preparation that goes into paddling and surfing this size out there is huge, I’ve been training for months and it feels great. I hope everyone’s really stoked about this event and that we keep coming back, the performance levels were really inspiring. Those were some of the biggest waves that have been paddled into here I think, and to do a contest in those conditions is great.”

Historic day at the first ever #NazareChallenge #DontCrackUnderPressure @TAGHeuer

A video posted by World Surf League (@wsl) on


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