When one is dedicated to surfing at a wave like Nazaré, taking a beating is inevitable. It’s not an if, but a when—and when the time comes that your number gets called, it’s likely to be one of the worst beatings in one’s surfing career. Take the one above, for example. Thiago Jacaré, a 35-year-old Brazilian big wave surfer, took off on the first wave of a set on December 14. As is usual at Nazaré, the face wasn’t exactly smooth, and he gets bucked off his board. That, however, isn’t the scary part. Instead, it’s what follows: Jacaré takes four waves of almost unimaginable size om the head. David Langer, his tow partner, heads into the maelstrom to pluck him from harm’s way, but there’s not enough time in between waves. Finally, after an agonizing amount of time, Sebastian Steudtner manages to pick him up.
“Thiago was safely taken to the beach where a paramedic team was already expecting him with full support,” explained Pedro Miranda, who shot the footage above. “Thiago managed to survive this incident without a scratch, although he was completely exhausted when he got to the beach, and he was immobilized and taken in by an ambulance as a safety measure.”
Later on that day, composure regained, Thiago spoke with Miranda about what just happened. “This was by far the worst wipeout of my life,” he said. “I barely got the chance to breathe between waves, when I got to the sand I was completely exhausted, to the point I couldn’t even move. I want to thank Sebastian Steudtner for the rescue and David Langer for the tow, I won’t ever forget this day!”