Event Guide: Oregon's Frigid Big Wave Stop

THE WAVE: Nelscott Reef is located near Lincoln City, Oregon, in frigid waters more than a quarter mile off the coast. Its remote location in the Pacific Northwest keeps the big wave spot relatively uncrowded. Contributing to the difficulty of surfing Nelscott is the outrageous beachbreak surfers must be negotiate before reaching the reef. Paddling through this maelstrom is virtually impossible on the big days, when a jet ski is essential for reaching the takeoff zone. The perfectly shaped triangular reef produces both rights and lefts, so there are options regardless of the shifting lineup.

Surfline Best Conditions
Best Swell: WSW to WNW
Best Swell Period: Long
Best Wind: SE, E
Best Tide: Low

Nelscott Reef in Oregon The 2013 trials at Nelscott Reef. - WSL

THE HISTORY: Monumental competition at Nelscott started as a tow-surfing event before evolving into the Oregon Challenge, a fixture of the elite Big Wave Tour. Due to its close proximity to the source of powerful Aleutian swells, it has proven to be consistently contestable over the years, producing some of the biggest contest waves on record. Alex Gray (USA) earned his spot in the lineup for the 2015/2016 season with his victory at the last event to run at Nelscott in 2014, the Dive N'Surf Oregon Pro. The event had another significant moment in history with the first-ever webcast of a women's big wave heat, which featured 11 of the top female Big Wave surfers.

THE TOWN: Lincoln City is a charming town, located at the coastal center in the state of Oregon. In contrast to the danger and intensity of the waves, it has a relaxing, small-town feel with shops and restaurants. The scenery alone is worth the trip, with local hospitality enhancing the experience.


WSL Big Wave Tour Top Ten Seeds
Makuakai Rothman (HAW)
Gabriel Villaran (PER)
Nic Lamb (USA)
Anthony Tashnick (USA)
Greg Long (USA)
Nathan Fletcher (USA)
Grant Baker (ZAF)
Natxo Gonzales (EUK)
Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Carlos Burle (BRA)

Injury Wildcard
Alex Gray (USA)

Video Invitees
James Taylor
Trevor Sven Carlson

Event Invitees
Rusty Long (USA)
Billy Kemper (HAW)
Cristian Merello (CHL)
Ramon Navarro (CHL)
Keith Galbraith
Tony Perez (USA)

BWT Invitees
Jamie Sterling (HAW)
Kealii Mamala (HAW)
Kohl Christensen (HAW)
Mark Mathews (AUS)
Will Skudin (USA)

Check the WSL website for the latest information regarding Big Wave Tour calls. Plus. Plus, download the WSL App and sign up to receive event alerts.