Every swell that rips to shore brings with it some defining moments. Think about Jaws this year and Francisco Porcella's back side barrel. Nazare in January 2018 and Sebastian Steudtner whipping into insane-o territory. For this past swell that rumbled Europe a couple of days ago, we must have seen 750 plus images. But right here, we feel as if these are the moments that made it an event to remember, as told by the surfers who scored and the photographers who immortalised it.
Surfer, Jayce Robinson: "Got a couple of solid ones. It was inconsistent, but the odd bomb. A bit hard on a 5'4"." And why a 5'4"?! "Just like a challenge. Always liked riding smaller boards but it was way too warpy for it to be honest."
Photographer, Tom Vaughan: “I was set up on the cliffs for a few hours in the morning. I kept changing spots, trying to find a different and unique perspective to really capture the size of these sets that were rolling through. One giant clean up set got the line up scratching for their lives as the crowds on the cliffs simultaneously screamed and laughed.
“The weather definitely added to the atmosphere. The light offshore wind made it seemingly quiet, especially as the long period swell meant a decent wait for sets to break the silence.
“There was so much mizzle in the air which made shooting that bit more challenging, especially when shooting something far away. It did give the images a more moody, foggy effect but made it harder to get a crisp image at distance.
“My eyes kept getting drawn further down the coast where you could see guys dropping in on these absolute bombs and I was having success capturing it with the pulled back approach with my 70-200mm lens.
“Although I was happy with a few images I knew I could maybe get something special and then that wave rolled through and stole the show, only for me to find out later on it was Jayce Robinson. I didn’t actually look at the image on the back of the camera until I got back to the car, I was pretty stoked with it and thought it represented this swell!”
Full feature, HERE.
Surfer, Huck New: This was the second session of the day, and unplanned. A group of us turned up to check it, looked big but nothing special. We decided to watch with a pasty, ended up in the pub.
"After I sat down I could see the stillness on the water, knew the swell was building into the eve and that we had a little light left. So, jumping up, I told Woods (Huck's twin) I was getting in, he kinda looked at his pint, but still met me at the car for our gear.
"We jumped off the pier together and paddled out. We got to the point just as a set came through, which amped us up. Woody got some bangers early on, getting me too exited and I paddled for any wave that came through, so was out of place for all the good ones.
"This wave was later in the eve, it was a wide one I had to turn and take off late, the guy at the peak backed out. The drop felt pretty intense, especially as I hadn’t had a wave in a while and my arms hurt. I pulled up into it with a load of speed from the bottom turn, wasn’t particularly deep, but still felt wicked to hold on to it. A bogged grab rail cutty after, and I was in the white water. A nice refresher to winter."
Ed's note: After seeing this image, we initially thought it was Huck's twin Woody, to which Huck said: "The shot could have gone both ways as being me or my brother. I thought it was Woods at first, but he couldn’t remember the wave. Pretty surprised at the size really, looks bigger than I thought, a nice surprise though."
Photographer, Mike Newman: “It was getting too dark to shoot at the end of a grey day, but the swell continued to pump as the incoming tide pushed and the crowd had thinned out.
“Even through the gloomy light, it was easy to pick out the confidence and style of Woody's lines. But that big peak came through and it was Huck who was positioned to go left. But he went right and hit the bottom of this wave super deep and at full speed. Power, speed and flow is what judges look for, there was plenty of that in this wave!”
Surfer, Nic Von Rupp: "Yeah this was a great morning, great waves at Nazare. Back-to-back swells, lots of tow paddling, it was crazy and honestly, this one was pretty wild. Sick image!”
Photographer, Helio Antonio: “This is my first season at Nazare owning a drone so it opens a lot of possibilities for some new angles that I've always wanted to try out there.
“On this specific morning I loved how the cliff and the lighthouse were backlit revealing their iconic silhouette and also how the fog on the village gave the whole image a mystic mood.
“These conditions wouldn't last long so to get the picture I had visualised I was really hoping for a nice wave. Finally, something built up on the first peak and it was none other than Portuguese charger Nic Von Rupp riding it. At first the wave wasn't amazing but once it hit the inside it started barrelling and gaining the shape we love. Nic drew the perfect line, surfing as close as possible to the critical part and the picture was done. I was super happy with it right on the spot (doesn't happen often) and couldn't wait to show everyone.”
Watch the full session, HERE.
Photographer, Darragh Gorman: "Having spent the better part of the day surfing, I was keen to get up the road before dark to check out the action in the main arena.
"With the short days, it's hard to surf and shoot while there's still light, but I managed to get a few hours' worth of quality viewing at this slab. Not many waves came through and even less were makeable but a solid crew made the most of what was on offer.
"Conor [Maguire] had the most crazy airdrop and Taz Knight went full Houdini and made an impossible section. As always, trying to show the power and intensity of this wave is the challenge, the deep emerald green of the lips suggests the intense nature of the beast, the rest is up to your imagination."
See HERE for the full feature.