This is how to prepare for take off at Nazaré
© Alex Papis
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"I was all or nothing," British big-wave surfer Andrew Cotton says of his wipeout heard around the world on November 8, 2017. "I just had this weightless feeling for what seemed like way too long." It was indeed way too long. The wave in question was nowhere near the biggest wave Cotton had ever surfed at Nazaré, but the wipeout was like no one had ever seen before in all the years the world's bravest men and women have been charging the peaks at the famed Portuguese big wave spot.
It's safe to say that any time one of these chargers goes over the ledge at Nazaré, it's a momentous feat of human skill and bravery. And, over the years, there have been countless drops, barrels and huge wipeouts that have stunned viewers around the world. But the three moments featured in this short documentary, by longtime Nazaré filmer Alex Laurel, will go down in the history books.
As it turned out, on the same day that Cotton went weightlessly into legend, Brazilian charger Lucas 'Chumbo' Chianca was also gearing up for a historical trip over the Nazaré falls, but not after swooping into one of the biggest barrels ever attempted at the feared Portuguese peak. "It was the biggest barrel of my life, for sure," Chumbo says in the film. Wanting more, he was right back out there, whipping in even deeper on a beast that was even bigger. What unfolded can be seen in the video above.
I'll 100 percent be surfing Nazaré in October
Two months later, it was longtime Nazaré charger Hugo Vau's turn to make history. For years, Vau and his team have talked about catching what they call the Big Mama: a massive, outer-shelf set wave that pushes ever closer to the illusive 100ft (30m) mark. "It was 6.4 metres at 20 seconds," Vau says of the swell that day. "At the end of the day, the waves got like I've never seen before." Sure enough, the Big Mama loomed on the horizon. Vau had waited all his big-wave surfing career for this so when he was in position to go, that's exactly what he did.
These three epic moments from the 2017–18 season at Nazaré were arguably the most memorable. What awaits these three men, as well as the others who right now are prepping for those big lines to start marching from the horizon again, is anyone's guess. Whatever happens, we’ll be on it, beaming the incredible footage back to you. Stay tuned and welcome back to bomb season at Nazaré.