November 2018 brought us what was arguably one of the best Big Wave events in Surfing history, the WSL Nazaré Challenge 2018 and conditions were even better than anticipated. A perfect swell with off-shore wind provided the absolute ideal setup to run this competition. Bombs, Barrels and even a 10 point ride all happened on Friday 16th November 2018. Then... just 3 days later and with many of the boys postponing their flights, Monday came with the “After Party”, and considering all the media attention on what had just gone down on Friday, this session went through relatively unnoticed.
Conditions were pretty much the same forecast for the event 3 days earlier, with the exception of a few variables that made it a bit more heavy and challenging for the boys. The rescue support infrastructure from the event (or the lack of it) was also a key difference during the After Party. By late morning our team counted 5 broken Guns and several physical injuries, the worst of them probably by Portuguese Big Wave Surfer João Guedes (02:01) who ended up in the Hospital with a hurt knee.
The Bomb of the day was indisputably scored by Nic Von Rupp, who went deeper than Lucas Chumbo on a massive left hander (01:31) with a vertical drop. Lucas is not used to having someone deeper than him when conditions are at that level, he probably didn’t notice Nic was there until both were fully committed, one for the books right there. Besides this double bomb with Chumbo, Nic also scored an impossible air drop (01:13) an hour later, making him one of the main standouts of the entire session. Both his waves are probable XXL entry material for this season awards.
Kai Lenny got involved in one of the most spectacular wipeouts (00:45), in what could have been one of the rides of the day. Luca Padua, 17 year old from Mavericks, also left his impression and showed us why he is a promise and blended with the Nazaré vibe like a champ. Grant “Twiggy” Baker who won the contest on Friday, (obviously) scored his share of bombs and even attracted a flock of drones (01:11) in one of his main waves. Tom Lowe also scored one of the best waves of the day, just before Nic’s second bomb, unfortunately we missed that shot from both drone and land, but it won’t be forgotten.
The boys had to deal with a difficult positioning strategy, where, in order to score the main bombs, they had to accept the possibility of being obliterated by the ocasional (but guaranteed) huge Clean Up Sets. The risk/reward ratio assessment was a key factor, besides having to overcome critical drops, bumps, many close outs and long hold downs.
Praia do Norte beach, near the fishing village of Nazaré, has become famous worldwide for huge waves in 2011, when Hawaiian surfer Garrett McNamara set a world-record for the largest wave ever surfed at 78-foot at the time, in 2017 that record was broken by Brazilian surfer Rodrigo Koxa, setting the bar at 80-foot, both tow-in waves, caught with the help of jet skis. Currently, and with growing attention, Nazaré is becoming a stage for Big Wave Paddle Surfing, with higher limits to overcome in the future.
Copyright © 2019, Máquina Voadora, all rights reserved
Produced by: Máquina Voadora
Drone Footage by: Máquina Voadora
Land Footage by: Pedro Miranda
Soundtrack by: Epicrecord
Featured Surfers: Kai Lenny, Luca Padua, Grant “Twiggy” Baker, Nic Von Rupp, Paulo Moura, Will Skudin, João Guedes, Cornelius Accoh, Francisco Porcella, Axi Muniain, Jojo Roper, Pat Shawghnessy, Trevor Carlson, Tom Butler, Bruno Santos, Lucas “ Chumbo” Chianca, Pedro Calado, Tom Lowe, Zac Haynes.
Date: All footage captured on November 19th, 2018
Location: Praia do Norte, Nazaré - Portugal
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