The world's best big wave athletes are returning to Portugal in 2022 for the TUDOR Nazaré Tow Surfing Challenge presented by Jogos Santa Casa. A Green Alert has been issued for Thursday, February 10. Red Bull is the official broadcast partner for the event, which will be broadcast LIVE on Red Bull TV and WorldSurfLeague.com.
This will be a one-day, specialty event with tow-in surfing teams. There will be nine teams made up of two competitors in each team. The teams will be divided into three groups with three teams in each group.
The competition will have a total of six 60-minute heats, where each group will participate in two heats, with each team alternating between surfing and driving the team's jet ski.
A surfer's best two waves after surfing both heats will count to an individual total score, with the best wave counting as double points. In total, a surfer's maximum individual score will be 30 points, as each wave is scored from 1-10 points. Surfers will be awarded across multiple categories at the end of the competition day.
TUDOR Nazaré Tow Surfing Challenge pres. by Jogos Santa Casa Invitees:
Team Red: Lucas Chianca (BRA), Nic Von Rupp (PRT)
Team Cyan Blue: Justine Dupont (FRA), Antonio Laureano (PRT)
Team Brown: Andrew Cotton (GBR), Will Skudin (USA)
Team Pink: Rodrigo Koxa (BRA), Eric Rebiere (FRA)
Team Green: Axi Muniain (EUK), Francisco Porcella (ITA)
Team Blue: Michelle Bouillons (BRA), Ian Cosenza (PRT)
Team Yellow: Rafael Tapia (CHL), Jaime Mitchell (AUS)
Team Purple: Joao de Macedo (PRT), Antonio Silva (PRT)
Team Black: Maya Gabeira (BRA), Pierre Caley (FRA)
Four awards will be distributed at the end of the day:
- Men's Best Performance: Male surfer with the highest 2 scoring waves
- Women's Best Performance: Female surfer with the highest 2 scoring waves
- Best Team Performance: Total of best two scoring rides of both team riders
- Jogos Santa Casa Most Committed Award: Awarded to the surfer who shows the most commitment throughout the day
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.