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Beasts of the Oregon Coast

An international contingent of big-wave chargers head to the Pacific Northwest for an XXL swell

There are a plenty of places around the world that are warmer, more easily accessible and generally more hospitable than Oregon’s heaviest breaks. But when a long period NW swell formed over Thanksgiving weekend, a group of international chargers set their gaze firmly on this specific strand of the Pacific Northwest.

“This was an opportunity for the [Nelscott Reef Pro-Am] contest promoters to bring everyone out together and do a dry-run with some of the competitors, and give everyone a chance to get a session out there in pretty decent swell,” explains photographer Jason Murray, whose images from the swell are featured above.

“For Nelscott, the conditions were decent,” says Murray. “It's fickle, as far as trying to get all the variables to align. The swell peaked early in the morning, and it was a touch inconstant, coupled with a pretty high tide. It wasn't hitting the reef like we were hoping it would. A couple good waves came through. Nic Lamb probably got the wave of the day, size-wise. Kai [Lenny] was ripping, riding all different kinds of craft. He caught a lot of waves on his big-wave paddleboard. Then he spent the afternoon session foiling and putting on a clinic, riding some swell from the south reef at Nelscott.”

In the photos above, you’ll see big-wave surfers like Lenny, Lamb, Paige Alms, Kohl Christensen and more take on two oversized waves over the two days of maxing swell. And if the images are any indication, dealing with the flights, cold water and thick neoprene were a small price to pay for Oregon’s best big waves.