We called this one days, weeks ago. A series of events led up to the perfect boiling pit of conditions for Nazare to go colossal today [Thursday October 29] and yesterday -- perhaps the biggest swell seen since January 2018 and maybe, just maybe, we have two world record contenders on our hands.
Before we get into it though, you're probably wondering what causes monsters like this to rumble the shores of Portugal? Well, this is something special. Hurricane Epsilon had to take a very specific path from its tour of the US east coast and hurtle towards Greenland, where it eventually met with a mother system and generated a colossal blob of black swell, making a bee-line straight for Europe. On its way, it set off Ireland, see HERE, Mundaka (coming tomorrow) and France (dropping tomorrow too), plus myriad of spots around the UK. And the past two days at Nazare have been as you'd expect, equal parts chaos, mixed with flecks of brilliance.
Live cam: Nazare
Even before that though, on Monday, a smaller storm sent Nazare into over drive, marking the opening day of the season. Check HERE for how that compares to this feature.
While yesterday the swell was still building (though, yes, it was in the XXL range), today was absolutely staggering in size and by far the main event of this week in Nazare. By first light, 50, 60, 70ft waves were peeling from the horizon and detonating over Praia do Norte's deep water canyon -- the key factor in what creates those classically terrifying liquid mountains.
If you've been following along on our Facebook livestream, you'll know exactly what we mean. If not, you can click over there real quick and relive all the glory, thrills, spills and damn heart-in-throat moments. This may not have been the 100ft day we're all holding out for, but it sure will go down as one of the biggest and most memorable sessions of the past few years.
Of course, Kai Lenny and Lucas Chumbo turned up. Mr Lenny did very good Kai Lenny things yesterday, as evidenced in the vid above. And Chumbo hucked into one of the biggest waves of the day today, straight after a monster from Cotty - and that was just two hours after sun up. Do you think either of these could be a world record contender? Scroll down for Cotty’s insane effort.
Andrew Cotton said: "I got a couple waves, today was pretty crazy. Not sure it was the biggest ever but there was so much water moving and energy, waves were moving so fast."
We asked Cotty if this swell lived up to the hype. "I’m not sure, it was fucking massive," he said. "But the hype was big, I try not to get caught up in it as it breaks me mentally [laughs]. It was an amazing swell for sure, really special." Expect more from Cotty this season as he's stationed at Nazare for the season.
The jury's going to be out for some time on whether the record's been toppled. But others in the water acknowledged the magnitude of today and that it met and even exceeded expectations.
As Nic Von Rupp says: "It was insane today, just, insane. Some crazy waves were ridden today. I don't know how it compares to other session, there's probably been bigger days but I've never seen it so clean in my life. That session was messed up [laughs].
"100 per cent lived up to the expectations, man, some of the biggest, most clean waves I've ever seen in my life. Thing about Nazare, it doesn't need to be huge. I don't know if records were broken but... sometimes more on the inside, when it's concentrated, it's gnarlier. That's how it got at the end and where I got my best waves at the end, more on the inside."
One of the other standouts of the session though was Sebastian Steudtner: "It was fun, heavy," he said. "The sandbanks are really wide and it was heavy in the white water. It wasn't that 100ft day we're all looking for. It was challenging, a lot of energy. Got a couple of good waves, one solid wipeout. Had that white water triangle fall on me for the first time. Which was...an interesting experience [laughs]. Lots of action."
Did you expect to see world champ Italo Ferreira turn up to a colossal XXL death blob of a swell? Italo's been putting in more and more time at Nazare over the past few sessions, the lad's not short on confidence, but is busy dialling in his big wave equipment. As you can see from the shot below, this is his biggest wave to date at Nazare and now he's got a taste for it, who knows where Italo will set his big wave scale in the future.
This swell capped out at a staggering 16ft@19secs, from the NNW on Thursday, with a light easterly wind in the morning. Compared to the January 2018 swell, which topped 20ft@20secs, albeit from a less favourable angle to hit the Nazare canyon.
The best thing? The season has only just opened, let that sink in. We've still got months left, into 2021, until we even think about the season ending. Expect to see the likes of Sebastian Steudtner, Lenny, Chumbo, Maya, Justine Dupont, Cotty, Nic Von Rupp, Scooby and many more as this year rolls through. Also, stay tuned as we dig into the data for this one and compare it to January 2018 and Rodrio Koxa's record breaking wave in November 2017. Feature will be dropping in the next few days.