After two days of adapting to our Fall and the jet lag, Garrett McNamara, extreme waterman and one of the most fearless and respected big wave riders of the world, was ready to watch with more attention the waves of Nazaré.
Along with the ex-tri-Portuguese surf champion José Gregório, his partner in this adventure, GMAC, as this 43 years old Hawaiian is also known, had the opportunity to see in person the waves that broke last Sunday and Monday in Nazaré, the first big swell this Fall, though not surfable due to the weather conditions.
But on Wednesday the pair (who joined the French Peyo Lizarazu, friend of both and other big wave surfer internationally respected) found perfect conditions, with waves at around six to seven meters, light wind and sunshine, which provided a first exploration session of Praia do Norte's waves. Of this tow-in surfing session (towed by jet skis) resulted images of some of the biggest waves ever surfed at Praia do Norte or even in Portugal.
"Heavy, very heavy! I'm deeply convinced that these were some of the heaviest waves that I ever caught", said McNamara. "I thought they were big, powerful and dangerous. Now I understand what Kelly [Slater] meant when he said that one mistake here could be our last!... We surfed three different peaks and I liked them all. We have three more weeks here, so I want to continue exploring, but I'm certain now that this is the perfect place to do one "Extreme Waterman Challenge", because these waves are serious", he concluded.
"Inside they didn't seem very large, because they were perfect, but after seeing the pictures I can say with no doubt that these were the biggest waves ever surfed at this beach", said José Gregório.
“The swell wasn’t the biggest, but the day was perfect and, with the phenomenon of expansion that the Nazaré’s Canyon do to the waves, they double in size at the breaking time. It was one of the best sessions I’ve had there, but I was worried at the end, when a big foam make my jet ski turn over. I was very close to the sand but, suddenly, the sea caught me and in seconds took me out again, and then dragged me to the rocks. I tried to float as much as possible, since I had the life jacket, and suddenly again I came back to the sand. It was scary, but fortunately all ended well. The sea rules, there’s no doubt”, he concluded.
The two surfers, who are working together for the first time, were last Tuesday at the Hydrographic Institute in Lisbon, where they listened the responsible for Monican – the project that studies in detail the Nazaré’s Canyon, and interchanged precious views, which are helping them a lot in this project.
This project is organized by Câmara Municipal da Nazaré, Clube de Desportos Alternativos da Nazaré and Nazaré Qualifica E.E.M., with the support of Turismo do Oeste, QREN, +Centro, Turismo de Portugal, Liberty Seguros, Lightning Bolt, GoPro – D’Maker, Filipemotoshow, Isuzu, Lena Automóveis, Peter Grimm, Noll, Instituto Hidrográfico Português, Tonic Gym, Surftotal, Surf Portugal, Antena 3, Surfer Rule and Surfspots-gps.com.