The world's best big wave athletes are returning to Portugal for the Nazaré Tow Surfing Challenge presented by Jogos Santa Casa, which will take place some time between November 15 2021 and March 31 2022.
Event officials will monitor swell-producing storms, watching for the precise conditions that will produce waves in the competition range. Once the call is made by the event officials, competitors will have 72-hours notice to be ready to compete.
The Nazaré Tow Surfing Challenge presented by Jogos Santa Casa will stream LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com and the WSL app.
The one-day men's and women's competition will host tow teams made up from the best male and female big wave surfers in the world. A call will be made for a "Green Alert" 48 hours prior to competition starting, based on the conditions.
The format breakdown will be announced at the start of the window on November 15th.
Nazare, a beach break, is one of the best tow-surfing big wave venues in the world thanks to an 130-mile-long underwater canyon which funnels swell into a headboard that is a half mile off shore. This concentrates the energy of the swells, producing some of the largest, most intense waves on the planet. At its deepest point, the canyon reaches over 16,000 feet (5000 meters) deep
The best season for Atlantic ocean Nazare swells is from October through March, although earlier the better as Winter brings colder and stormier conditions which make it challenging to tackle the giant waves.
You can't talk about the history of surfing giant Nazare without mentioning Hawaii's Garret McNamara. Before he began towing out there, Nazare was just a sleepy fishing village on the radar of a select crew of bodyboarders and surfers.
McNamara first surfed Praia do Norte or North Beach at Nazare in 2010, and the next year he rode a 78ft wave which was entered the Guinness World Records. To put this -- and other outlandish performances that have gone down since -- into perspective, a 70 foot wave there is estimated to weigh 1,000 tons.
Nazare has since become a hub for big wave surfing. In fact, Nazare and Jaws in Maui can fairly be described as twin poles of the big wave world. There are other spots producing giant, quality surf but these two locations are hard to beat when it comes to consistency and intensity.
While Jaws in recent years has shifted from a tow-in wave to a paddle wave (unless it's too windy) Nazare is predominantly only a tow spot when it gets really big; the waves move too fast and break across too wide a field to be safely paddled.