The fame is such that the place began to catch the attention of WSL, which, this year, decided to bring an event of the Big Wave Tour to Portuguese soil: the Nazaré Challenge.
This surfing competition has a slightly different format: with a waiting period from November to the end of February and only begins if certain conditions of sea size and wind force are met. It may even not get on its way.
The power of the Nazareth Challenge
But the day has come! On Tuesday, December 21, I went to Nazaré on the job to see the best big wave surfers in the world and to watch the first event of this circuit in Portugal.
On the freeway, the car’s thermometer read -2c (!) … well, “maybe you haven’t brought enough clothes…” I thought. As I arrived in Nazaré it was much better … 5ºc! 🙂
But the temperature raised as the morning progressed. I confess that I was one of the privileged ones to have access to the Fort of São Miguel (thanks Via Verde Portugal!), from where I had the opportunity to watch the championship from a higher position and was more protected from the cold wind that was blowing.
The competition lasted from 8:00 am to 2:00 p.m. and during that period, 24 surfers dropped waves whose size was about the equivalent of a 3rd to 5th floor of a building.
The courage of those men is incredible and being able to watch live this historical moment for Portuguese surfing (and even the world) was unbelievable.
The tension between those who were watching (and for sure those who were in the water) grew as we saw the waves forming in the Nazaré Cannon. And watching the surfers go down those masses of water is an impressive spectacle.
Of course the competition didn’t run 100% well for all of them, as some of the athletes left injured and with a stop at the nearest hospital.
But in the end, the event was remarkable for everyone and we can not wait for next year.
What did you think of the Nazaré Challenge? Would you be able to descend those waves? No? What if you were offered a million euros? …;)