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The Inertia

If you are a Nazaré surfer — or any surfer, really — you expect to wipeout. For the average Joe, however, a wipeout isn’t something that could kill you. For a Nazaré surfer, when things get really big, it’s a different story. The men and women who surf there depend on their tow partners to pluck them from the angry seas if they fall. They’re literally entrusting their lives to their partners. There have been a few close calls, most notably Maya Gabiera’s leg-breaker and more recently Andrew Cotton’s experience with the cliff, but the teams who surf there are the best in the world. Pedro Calado recently put that to the test.

On January 8, a day that will certainly remain in the memory banks of every surfer who was there, Calado fell on a big one. The Brazilian popped up quickly, but was out of reach and sight of the ski pilots. After a few more on the head, Lucas Chumbo zipped in to pull him to safety. Everything worked out in the end, but it’s a stark reminder of just how important the rescue teams are when things get huge at Nazaré.

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