"I didn't go out there expecting to catch the biggest wave of my life," says Kai Lenny in Red Bull's latest Surf Sessions episode. The Hawaiian waterman was referring to a wave caught in the Nazare Tow Surfing Challenge that earned him the Wave of the Day award.
Having just caught a left, some quick thinking by Lenny's partner Lucas Chianca saw him being whipped into a 20ish-metre high righthander. Instead of taking a relatively safe high line the natural footer arcs a huge bottom turn at the base of the wave and somehow escapes the avalanche of water behind him.
"It felt big, but when you are riding waves out here, you don't look behind you," said Lenny with a smile. Director Alex Laurent gained some fresh angles and exclusive behind-the-scenes footage from the competition day and other freesurfing sessions.
The initial pulled back shot of Kai's ride shows the scale of the wave compared to the height of the cliff in the foreground and adds a real perspective to the size of and power of Praia de Norte. Apart from Lenny's memorable wave there is also great footage of Lucas Chianca, Justine Dupont and Maya Gabeira catching some huge bombs. Dupont rides some massive Praia do Norte lefts on the way to securing the Women's Wave of the Day honours.
Chianca, otherwise known as Chumbo, also stands out. After being evaporated on one early left he continues to surf the giant waves as if they were six foot beachbreaks. In fact it is the rapid progression of big wave surfing that is one of the key takeaways from the footage.
"You know maybe if I was deeper I could even got a barrel," says Lenny. So despite catching the biggest wave of his life, he is immediately thinking what he could have done differently and, by extension, how he could go harder and faster in the future. It seems this might just be the start.
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