The Nazaré Tow Surfing Challenge pres. By Jogos Santa Casa at Nazaré ran yesterday in massive waves and provided non-stop action for six hours straight, showcasing the best Big Wave riders in the world at the unique arena of Praia do Norte, in Nazaré, Portugal.
“This event has almost been a lifetime in the making,” Bill Sharp, Big Wave Tour General Manager said. “It’s just fantastic to experience with a completely different format, essentially a day-long expression session without worrying about advancing or giving a score before a certain amount of time. Everything has come together and today was one of the best days in big wave surfing’s history.”
Justine Dupont Wins Women’s Wave of the Day
“I was so lucky I had a really nice wave at the beginning of the heat so then we felt pretty comfortable out there,” Dupont said. “I’m really happy, Fred and I had a good rhythm and Clement was there to pick me up after all the waves. All the work that we’ve done this past year has really paid off. There were some really big waves, maybe not giant, but altogether the conditions were perfect for competition.”
Kai Lenny Claims Men’s Wave of the Day
“I wouldn’t have been able to ride this wave without Lucas so it’s as much his award as it is mine,” Lenny said. “That’s what is cool about tow-in surfing, I’ve spent the last couple of years competing against him in paddling events and it was great to finally get to team up and have the camaraderie to do it. He whipped me into that right just as we were riding back out, that wave just looked like it was going to wedge and it turned out way bigger than I thought it would be.”
Lenny and Lucas Chianca Crowned Team Champions
Team Young Guns, composed of Kai Lenny (HAW) and Lucas Chianca (BRA) won the team distinction for their collaborative efforts towing into some of the biggest waves of the day and drawing effortless, unique lines in the massive walls of Nazaré. Both surfers looked more comfortable in the 40+Ft faces than most surfers in head-high surf, giving all the fans an unrealistic feeling of ease while their rides were simply extraordinary.
“We haven’t had that much training together, only a couple of sessions,” Chianca said. “But when I see Kai perform I think it just matches perfectly with the way I like to ride as well. We drive for each other like we really want and it feels really comfortable.”
Water Safety Team Receives Jogos Santa Casa Commitment Award
“Those 19 surfers involved are 19 of the best water safety rescue people in the world,” Bill Sharp described. “So for the athlete riding a wave, your driver is your first line of defense. Each team also has their own back-up rescue operator, then we have a third layer which is a WSL crew in case someone is missed by the first two. Finally, we have the medical response on the beach with doctors and on boats.”
“Every wave has its own set of challenges,” Scott Eggers, Water Safety Director added. “There is so much chaos out there that it’s very unpredictable. This wave just happens to get big, very very big.”
Massive Crowds Watch Over Big Wave Specialists in Nazaré
If any swell brings dozens or hundreds of people out on the cliffs of Nazare, this particular one and the fact that 19 of the best Big Wave athletes on the planet were on the case, brought out crowds in the thousands. An exciting day of surfing unfolded as crowds clapped, whistled and held their breath as surfers took on the unruly conditions.
“Nazare has gone from a sleepy fishing village that was a vacation destination for a few in summer to now one of the most famous big-wave surfing spots on the planet,” Sharp added. “People come here by the hundreds of thousands every year to check out the fort and the amazing waves of Praia do Norte. It’s amazing to think that waves have been breaking here since the beginning of time but it wasn’t until a few years ago that surfers were able to get out there and surf them. And now the amount of people that come to watch them both here in Nazare and online is unprecedented.”
For more information, please visit worldsurfleague.com.