For a long time, Nazaré was the black sheep of big waves. “It’s not a real wave,” people said. “It has no trough, and it’s too slopey.” But a handful of dedicated people–Carlos Burle, Garrett McNamara, Andrew Cotton, and Maya Gabeira (who nearly died there a few years ago), to name a few–made sure that they were there for every massive swell. With each one, it became more and more obvious that Nazaré was indeed a freak of nature; a powerhouse of a wave unlike any other.
Soon, the trickle of big wave surfers willing to give it a shot became a flood, and just like that, the perception of the place changed. Now it’s got a spot on the Big Wave Tour, and the green light has been turned on for a possible Tuesday start. Of course, on those truly massive days–the ones we’ve all seen photos of ad nauseam–it isn’t a paddle wave. As the limits of paddle-in surfing are pushed, though along with the safety side of things, it has become clear that Nazaré truly is something special.
With huge waves, as expected, the Portuguese public appeared in mass and from early it was predictable that they would attend a special event. It’s the newest stop on the Big Wave Tour, and marked the first ever BWT paddle-in event at Praia do Norte, Nazaré.