As the window for Nazaré looms, we decided to take a look back at this compilation featuring the biggest waves ever surfed at the spot.
Nazare is a little fishing village in Portugal, situated North of Lisbon. Just off its coast sits a unique ocean floor topography- a 16,000 foot deep canyon which magnifies approaching swell. As such, on any given day the waves can be double, triple or quadruple the size than they are on those breaking along the rest of the coastline.
The spot hit international headlines for the first time in 2011, when Garett McNamara rode a record breaking 78 foot wave at the town’s Pria De Norte. Since then the wave has been the location of what are claimed (and disputed) to be the four biggest waves ever surfed; with Mcnamara riding another in 2013, followed by Brazils Carlos Burle later that year and our very own Andrew Cotton (dubbed the plumber who rides 10o foot waves by the mainstream media) the following year.
However the wave hasn’t received as much adulation within the big wave community as it has from the mainstream media, with many claiming that it is not a proper breaking wave, as it lacks a peak and a trough and doesn’t break top to bottom. Greg Long even went so far as to call it a ‘novelty wave’ saying that ‘it stands up for half a second then it’s over.’ Accordingly some surfers attention has turned away from those big maxing tow-in days, towards cleaner, more paddle friendly sessions, where there are often barrels for the taking. However for many the focus is still on catching the biggest wave out there, with UK charger Tom Butler signifying he is very much part of this contingent, recently posting the following on instagram:
‘Who’s going to catch the biggest wave @ #Nazare this season? One things for sure opportunity to take the biggest wave of your life is presented to you every month on this beach…. It’s all down to your head space, preparation and desire! Right off out the door to train’
Whatever the critics say there is no doubt that it is a difficult and dangerous wave to surf, and an absolute visual spectacle to watch. This clips features: Andrew Cotton, Antonio Silva, Axi Muniain, Benjamin Sanchis, Carlos Burle, Cliff Skudin, Eric Rebiere, Felipé Cesarano, Garrett McNamara, Hugo Vau, Kealii Mamala, Pedro Scooby, Ross Clarke-Jones, Sebastian Steudtner and Tom Butler.