Nazaré, Portugal, October 24, 2016.
Before Praia do Norte and before the realization of Nazaré, many of the big wave awards nominations, including Billabong Ride of the Year and TAG Heuer Wipeout of the Year Awards, were selected from Jaws, and lesser awards from places like Teahupo'o, Maverick's and Waimea. Now that the world has seen what is happening in Portugal, Nazaré has started snagging the lion's share of the WSL Big Wave Awards. Two nominees in the TAG Heuer Big Wave Awards shows just how crazy this place can get.
Rafael Tapia, from Santiago, Chile, has no doubt had plenty of big-wave experience from riding the giant left of Punta de Lobos, near Pichilemu, the most famous big-wave spot in the country. The lefts of Lobos are world famous, and the venue was the location for the Quiksilver Ceremonial Big Wave Tour event in past years.
Still, not much would have been able to prepare the goofyfooter for this intense wipeout. It's a massive wave, with an incredibly long way down across the strong chatter. He's fighting for control from the start of the wave, and with the fight against gravity combined with the chatter and a little bit of understandable speed wobble, it all becomes too much, and he succumbs to the intense speed of the wave.
It eats him, alive, and justifiably got him a nod straight into the top five wipeouts of the year.