Natxo González is no stranger to Nazaré. It’s likely that you remember him not for his big-wave exploits, but for his discovery of a freakishly perfect wave at the edge of the desert. And although he shines in waves of any size, when things get giant, Natxo goes next-level.
Earlier this year, at the ripe old age of 22, Natxo earned himself a spot on the Big Wave World Tour. This is his second go at it—back in 2015, when he was 18, he proved his mettle for the first time. “When I was on tour for the first time (at) 18, I had so little experience,” he said in March. “I had to compete against guys like Carlos (Burle) with 20 years more experience than me… I’m feeling a lot more confident now.”
That confidence paid off in spades. Tubes at giant Nazaré are a rare thing, but Natxo, with his intimate knowledge of the place, found himself slotted in a house-sized barrel at one of the heaviest waves on earth. The judges took one look and threw down tens across the board, making Natxo the first person to ever to earn a perfect score at Nazaré. He finished third at the WSL Nazaré Challenge and won the Most Committed Award.
“The whole day was like a dream,” Gonzalez said. “The waves were amazing and the vibe in the water was incredible. I was a little nervous in my first heat, but everything came together in my semi-final and to score a barrel out here today was amazing. After I took off, I had to take a high line right away and when I came flying out I could not believe what just happened. I started crying on the jet ski on the way back out. It was a really emotional moment.”
Although Grant Baker won the event, something Natxo said back in March shows just how committed he is. “[This season] will be a crazy year again and I will try to learn as much as possible,” he said. “Then try to become World Champion. I can’t wait.”