With winter arriving in the Northern Hemisphere, the window for this season's WSL Big Wave Tour has begun. The first stop will run on November 16 in Praia do Norte, Portugal for the third edition of the Nazaré Challenge.
Nazaré is a beachbreak with unique underwater bottom contours that create the ideal conditions for big waves. A 130-mile-long canyon funnels swell into a headboard that is a half mile off shore, creating the possibility for upwards of 80+ foot wave faces and potentially 60-second hold downs.
Surfed since the 1960's, Nazaré made history on November 8th 2017 when Rodrigo Koxa (BRA) charged down the face of the biggest recorded wave ever surfed, an 80-footer (approx. 25 meters). This feat won Koxa the 2018 Quiksilver XXL Biggest Wave award and a listing in the Guiness Book of World Records.
Returning to Nazaré this year, past champions Jamie Mitchell (AUS) and Lucas Chianca (BRA) -- the 2016 and 2017 winners respectively -- will battle it out for the chance to be the first two-time Nazaré Challenge title winner.
Asked what it is like surfing big waves a Nazaré, Mitchell remarked, "Nazaré is a crazy wave. You don't ride it, it's rides you."
"We've officially issued a Green Alert to run the Nazaré Challenge on Friday, November 16," said Mike Parsons, WSL Big Wave Tour Commissioner. "The conditions we've been closely tracking still look favorable for Friday. We hope to see epic waves for the surfers to paddle into in the 25-35 foot face range. The swell and the winds are forecast to all come together and be very clean to kick off the Big Wave Tour season."
The WSL Nazaré Challenge will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com and the WSL's Facebook page. Also, check local listings for coverage from the WSL's broadcast partners.