Lucas Chianca Talks About His Biggest Nazaré Wave Ever (One That Might be 100-Feet Tall)

It was a big one. But how big? Photo: Cesinha Feliciano

The Inertia

On Monday, we reported that Lucas “Chumbo” Chianca rode a wave at Nazaré that may have eclipsed the current record of 26.21 m (86 feet), ridden by Sebastian Steudtner.

That process could take at least 12 months to ratify, but when the four-time Nazaré Tow Challenge Champion says it was the biggest wave of his life, you know it’s the real deal. After he had decompressed, I talked to the Brazilian about that wave and his potentially historic sessions. 

This swell didn’t have a whole lot of hype, how confident were you? 

Well, the swells looked solid, but the issue was the winds that looked strong and onshore. However, they weren’t as bad as we first thought, and as they swirled around the cliffs they went a little more cross-offshore and that made it surfable. 

Lucas Chianca Talks About His Biggest Nazaré Wave Ever (One That Might be 100-Feet Tall)

The man. Photo: Domenic Mosqueira//RB Content Pool

How many days did it last?

The first swell was mid-week. It wasn’t that big, but it was clean and perfect. I surfed one right-hander that was really, really tall. 

You tend to favor the lefts more, what was different about that one?

The right surprised me. I almost didn’t take off, and then had a look at the left, but I saw a big bowl on the right and just swung into it late. I was hoping that it would be one like the one I whipped Kai Lenny into in the tow competition in 2021. I delayed my bottom turn and looked up and saw it was pretty huge. But that was nothing compared to the two days on Friday and Saturday – that was huge and intense and something really different to what I had experienced before.

What were the conditions for those days?

The energy was great on the forecast, but the period wasn’t huge, like 15 or 16 seconds. So the size was there, but crucially with the right direction of swell we could tell there’d be some huge A-frames. We just hoped that the wind didn’t destroy those huge mountains of water. 

It looked fairly intense.

Those last days were pretty huge, and I’d really missed that feeling with the energy of the waves being 100-foot or whatever. It felt great to be part of the intensity. Those are the days we realize we still have so much to learn at Nazaré – and when we learn so much. 

Talk us through your biggest wave.

For the biggest one, Ian Conseza was driving. I told him I didn’t want to go all the way outside to the huge peaks, I wanted a massive bowl. With that wave, we came in from outside, but by the time he slung-shot me in, I was really close to the rocks. It was this giant wall, just a huge bowl, and I pushed as hard as I ever have and drove down the line.

And the million-dollar (or 100-foot) question; how big was it?

Maybe this wave could be a 100-foot wave, but who knows? I know a wave I caught in October 2020, which was the biggest wave of my life, came in close to 80 feet. This felt bigger, but I’ve never had a wave measured in my life, so I have no clue. I’m gathering all the footage and angles and will send it off. We’ll just let that play out and see what happens.

Lucas Chianca Talks About His Biggest Nazaré Wave Ever (One That Might be 100-Feet Tall)

The wave in question definitely went hollow. Photo: Cesinha Feliciano

And who was out in the water?

It was just two teams out there – myself and Sebastian Stuednter’s team. To have that lineup to ourselves was so crazy as we could choose any wave we wanted. If you wanted to go, you went. There were times when we didn’t see each other for a half hour, other times I’d see his wave as I was coming back out. 

On those days there just isn’t that many surfers who want to try and ride the biggest waves possible. I was feeling 100 percent ready, and watching Sebastian surf he must have felt the same. We just spent the day each trying to get the biggest waves of our lives. 

Anything else you’d like to add about that wave or that day? 

I’m just so proud to have that team. We had four rescue skis and one driver for me. To have all those incredible people working just for me to try to catch the biggest wave of my life is fairly humbling. I had Alemao de Maresias driving on the big days, with Lucas Fink, Ian Consenza and my friend Jose on safety. Plus spotters and a safety team on land. With support like that, it shows that anything is possible. Nazaré can provide the biggest waves of your life. You just need to be there, be prepared and let the ocean do the rest.


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