The Nazaré Challenge was nothing short of incredible. Hard not to be in a place like that–the great thing about the BWT is that you’re guaranteed giant waves. If they’re not up to par, the event won’t run. Jamie Mitchell took the inaugural big wave event, and he did so in stunning fashion.
For a long time, Nazaré was the black sheep of the big wave world. Many didn’t consider it to be a “real” big wave, but that didn’t stop a select few (most notably Garrett McNamara) from pushing the limits as far as they could. On its biggest days, though, it simply isn’t a wave where paddling is an option. The boundaries of what is possible are being pushed to limits no one ever expected a few years ago.
The day, though, wasn’t without more than a few scary moments. Tom Butler, for instance, ended up in the hospital after getting hung up in a very, very large wave. After making it to the bottom, the lip landed square on his head. Here’s a quick edit the WSL put together… and it hurts just to watch.
Grant Baker had a few thoughts about the place–including the fact that it might be a little too dangerous–which he told the world on Instagram:
“Yesterday was pretty unique in my surfing life, riding a 20ft double up shore break where you have to catch 2 waves in an hour for a @wsl event was insane,” he wrote. “Nazare as a wave is a phenom, as challenging and beautiful as any big wave I’ve surfed but the dangers involved seem to out way the rewards. Those 20 minutes during each heat, on the back of a ski, holding on with all your strength while jumping 10ft foamies, were some of the most terrifying experiences of my life and something I can’t see myself repeating? The water safety team did a fantastic job and special thanks to them. Of course @jamie_mitcho the maddest dog won and hoping all the guys with injuries recover soon.”