As each round of the Nazaré Challenge ran, the deep, submarine canyon-powered beachbreak proved that it’s more than just a gargantuan mush-burgering straight-hander for world record-seeking adrenaline junkies to get their fix on. As light offshore wind groomed the 35-foot waves, and at times bigger, both a right and left were formed for 24 of the world’s hardest chargers to actually surf, not just race a huge crumbling wall while power-stancing for dear life.
During semifinal, heat two, Natxo Gonzalez pulled into a barrel, where he stayed for multiple sections before getting shot out for a perfect 10. “I was a little nervous in my first heat, but everything came together in my semi final, and to score a barrel out here today was amazing,” said Gonzalez said in a press release. “After I took off, I had to take a high line right away and when I came flying out I could not believe what just happened. I started crying on the jet ski on the way back out, it was a really emotional moment. There's so much pressure, so much adrenaline…” Gonzalez said about the wave.
Last year’s winner Lucas “Chumbo” Chianca also got tubed at Nazaré. Chumbo’s aggressive approach made his 10-FOOT gun look like a 5’10” thruster after laying down some grab-rail power carves in the final.
Ultimately, it was seasoned Big Wave Tour competitor Grant “Twiggy” Baker who took the win at the event. During the final, Twiggy managed to paddle into a bomb right at its peak. He grabbed his rail for a backside bottom turn and went left. He positioned himself right in the pocket of the wave for some committed, clean and all-around solid big-wave surfing. With a couple minutes left in the final to seal the deal, he did the exact same thing again, but only on a bigger wave that had a bonus inside bowl.
A surf contest at Nazaré would not be a surf contest at Nazaré with out a little bit of carnage. New York’s Will Skudin had a crazy wipeout. His drop-in-to-bodysurf to then being gobbled up by a hollow righthander bore striking resemblance to Bodhi’s final ride during the 5o Years Storm at the end of “Point Break.” To watch, click here.
Congrats to Twiggy, all the hard chargers that competed and the water patrol for keeping them safe during a great day of big-wave surfing.
2018/2019 Nazaré Challenge Final Results:
1 – Grant Baker (ZAF) 25.04
2 – Lucas Chianca (BRA) 23.31
3 – Natxo Gonzalez (EUK) 22.71
4 – Alex Botelho (PRT) 22.06
5 – Joao De Macedo (PRT) 20.87
6 – Russell Bierke (AUS) 18.89
Stay tuned to SURFER for more Nazaré coverage, as the surf will be even bigger throughout the next couple days and the conditions are looking ideal.
For the WSL’s Heat Analyzer of the event, click here.
For competitor Will Skudin’s photo gallery of the free surfs leading up to the event, click here.
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@granttwigbaker, as committed as they come on his way to a massive win at the Nazaré Challenge. Twiggy took top marks in some of the most picturesque conditions we've seen at the famed Portuguese big-wave break. Congratulations Twiggy! Stay tuned for a full recap and coverage of the monster swell through the weekend. Video: @wsl #SURFERmagazine
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