Nazare, about 90 minutes driving north from Lisbon is a tiny coastal village world famous for the fact that it is home to the biggest surf waves in the world. When the right tide, swell and wind conditions meat - generally in winter with the powerful assist of the North-Atlantic storms - 30-m water monsters tower above 'Praia do Norte' (The North Beach).
Nobody likes quiet giants
South Beach is always very cosy since the Giants of Nazare's visit is triggered by an underwater rock channel formation that systematically directs the water masses towards the northern side. That said, sometimes, the sea is very 'peaceful' with 3-4m waves that look like nothing once you've experienced the sight and sound of 2000 tons of water rushing past you repeatedly and relentlessly at eyesight on the 'Farol da Nazare' lighthouse viewpoint sitting at the location and height where the water masses break on big-wave day.
Although, it's very nice and pleasant, calm waters is usually not what people come to Nazare for. Impressions of one of these big-wave days are available in an October 2020 photo archive of mine when the biggest wave ever surfed was recorded.
Historically speaking, Nazare is a fishing village and recently exploded as a popular tourist destination with all the infrastructure, real estate and culture clash challenges that come with it. It's located on the west coast of Portugal less than two hours of driving from Lisbon roughly one third of the way between the capital and the other big city of the Portuguese nation, Porto. Why Nazare became so famous so quickly? Well, it turns out there are not only sickos in Poker. Nazare is home to the largest waves of the planet and some guys were like: Sure, why not surf them! Obviously, just like for the most prestigious card games in the world, one does not end up in a big-wave session by accident but unlike in Poker, skill, preparation and focus play a much more primordial role in your moves :-) Rule number one: Don't try to bluff the wave.
These huge waves attract surf pros from all over the world like high prize pools draw Poker sharks from everywhere. The village has a rich history dating back to pre-Roman times and was an important center of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages. Today, most of its economy is tied to the waves and all the visitors stopping by to enjoy one of the most violent shows nature has to offer. Very few try to face it.
Turns out, the DACHs are also among the sickos in the surf world. In 2022, 1985-Esslingen-born German, Sebastian Steudtner, made it into Guinness World Record in category 'Largest wave surfed - unlimited (male)â.
The giant wave was surfed on October 29, 2020 (I was there) when a historic swell hit the Atlantic coast of Portugal after two huge storms had merged up north in the stormy Atlantic producing among the biggest surfable waves ever recorded some 2000km to the south.
Rigorous measuring came up with the following numbers: 26.21 meters height.
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