Josh Kerr Tests Out Nazaré

On a borrowed gun and a useless inflation vest

In the few weeks since Josh Kerr subtly announced his retirement from the ‘CT, some have speculated Kerr’s energy will be put toward the Big-Wave Tour, where he already has a win at the 2016 Todos Santos Challenge. So we weren’t surprised that he made the hour-long drive from Peniche after he was ousted in last year’s MEO Rip Curl Pro to give Nazaré a try — on a borrowed gun and with a borrowed inflation vest that didn’t really work. Here’s Kerr himself on what happened:

“It's classic when you come through the town and you hit the road that goes over the headland, and you just see the ocean and these huge wedges just peaking up. I've been there before when it's been monstrous and howling onshore. You’re standing on that cliff, looking down in awe of the power that place can carry through its water. It's definitely a phenomenon there where the deep trench just sucks in all the energy of the swell. You can't mess with that place.”

“I surfed Nazare for the first time last year when it was pretty big. I just lost out on my heat at Supertubos and the swell was pretty solid, and I was like, 'There's got to be waves at Nazare.' I had nothing other than a wetsuit and a 5'10", which wasn't going to work. So I drove up there with a buddy hoping I [would] see some friends there. Sure enough, I bumped into a few of the big-wave guys and I lent a board off Tommy Butler.”

“And then, I don't know who the guy was, but he came in from the surf and I grabbed his inflation vest. He was just a local charger and he hooked me up. I rocked up just with my wetsuit, and I got to go for a fun surf. It was, like, perfect 15 feet, and I was riding a 10' board. That wave is pretty scary. It's very intimidating. It felt like it was 20-foot-plus. It was definitely a humbling experience, being out there. That place is mesmerizing and scary and everything, all in one. It will humble you real quick. I'm not interested in surfing it much bigger than what I did, to be honest [Laughs].”