This raw footage shows Australian big wave surfer Russell Bierke charging one of the biggest waves of Nazaré’s XXL Wednesday. Bierke managed to ride the most critical part of the wave but couldn’t outrun the massive avalanche of whitewash crashing down behind him, enduring a heavy hold down before resurfacing for a quick breath and another wave rushing through the impact zone to drag him around some more. This wave was the highlight of Nazaré’s biggest day of the season so far, with waves exceeding 60 feet on the face.
“This was by far my longest hold down ever,” said Bierke, who has extensive experience in heavy waves and nasty wipeouts. “I barely got a breath before the second wave landed on me. Feeling pretty sore today, got a good whiplash when I skipped in front of the wave, but no injuries, which is good.”
Russell Bierke is one of the most respected young talents in the big wave world, having won the mythical Red Bull Cape Fear event in 2016 at just 19 years old. This, however, was the first time Bierke surfed Nazaré. The locals applauded his “go for it” attitude after this wave, and jokingly remarked, “Welcome to Naza, Russell Bierke.” It’s kind of a tradition for big wave surfers to take a huge beating during their first session at Nazaré, which is actually regarded as a good luck sign.