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Wintery Onslaught Welcomed by Big-Wave Crew at Nazaré

Jamie Mitchell, Ross Clarke Jones, Nic Lamb, Andrew Cotton, and João De Macedo were among the global contingent of surfers who converged on Nazaré, Wednesday, December 23, in order to brave the big stuff.

The multi-pronged strike mission evolved into an impressive mixed-use (tow and paddle-in) session two days into the official start of winter. And as expected Portugal's heaviest wave continues to deliver the goods. With months of storm activity ahead there's a good chance this is just an appetizer.

Ross Clarke Jones' December 23 strike mission on the Silver Coast of Portugal pays off with this bomb at Nazaré. Photo: Bruno Aleixo Ross Clarke Jones' December 23 strike mission on the Silver Coast of Portugal paid off with this bomb at Nazaré. Photo: Bruno Aleixo/WSL Big Wave Awards WSL

With El Niño already doing its thing in the North Pacific it's impact will also be felt with a more lively North Atlantic. The long range forecast is suggesting this year's WSL Big Wave Awards will be one of the most competitive in history.

Jamie Mitchell made his Nazaré debut on Wednesday, Dec 23, putting his legendary paddling skills to the test. Photo: Guilherme Soares/WSL Big Wave Jamie Mitchell made his Nazaré debut on Wednesday, Dec 23, putting his legendary paddling skills to the test. Photo: Guilherme Soares/WSL Big Wave Awards WSL / GUI

Mitchell, Jones, Lamb, and Andrew Cotton seemed to be preferring the right on Wednesday. That's likely to make things interesting as the season progresses as they push themselves deeper behind the massve A-frame. Mitchell was making his Nazaré debut. As predicted, the man who's widely considered the world's best waterman put in a damn impressive paddle-in performance.

Ross Clarke does his fair share of snowboarding in the winter months, so this Nazaré bomb was just a warm-up routine for his heel-side carves. Photo: Vitor Estrelinha/WSL Big Wave Awards Ross Clarke Jones does his fair share of snowboarding in winter, so this Nazaré bomb was just a warm-up routine for his heel-side carves. Photo: Vitor Estrelinha/WSL Big Wave Awards WSL / Vitor Estrelinha

Ross Clarke Jones, meanwhile, was hunting for some bombs behind a ski. At 49 years of age, the Australian charger is showing no signs of slowing. Whether the giant right he nabbed will put him in the running for the TAG Heuer Biggest Wave Award is TBD, but we're betting this isn't the last we'll hear from him or Nazaré.

Nic Lamb has taken his Maverick's act on the road, and it seems to be working in Portugal. While neither he or de Macedo rode this wave out, they both earned bonus points for the effort. Photo: Victor Estrelinha/WSL BIG WAVE Nic Lamb has taken his Maverick's act on the road, and it seems to be working in Portugal. While neither he nor De Macedo rode this wave out, they both earned bonus points for the effort. Photo: Vitor Estrelinha/WSL BIG WAVE WSL / Vitor Estrelinha

Meanwhile, Lamb, who began standing out at Maverick's as a 14-year-old grom from Santa Cruz and made the Semifinals of the recent Pe'ahi Challenge, joined the strike mission after departing from his new digs in Venice, California, where he's having a run at the acting thing.

Regardless of how that career pans out, Lamb's paddle-in credentials will keep him in the surfing world spotlight for years to come. At 20 years old, he's the youngest invitee to the Titans of Mavericks event this year.

The UK surfing legend put his big-wave surfing prowess on display once again on Wednesday. Photo: Bruno Aleixo/WSL Big Wave Awards UK surfing legend, Andrew Cotton, put his big-wave prowess on display again on Wednesday. Photo: Bruno Aleixo/WSL Big Wave Awards. WSL

For more swell updates check out Big Wave Awards Facebook page and check out all the submissions on the BWA site.

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