NAZARE, Portugal, already an October XXL candidate is forecast to receive a second more powerful swell this weekend.
It was October 17th, less than two weeks ago that Garrett McNamara and CJ Macias towed a Billabong XXL nomination at Nazare -- in some of the largest surf ever ridden in Portugal. These were definitely the biggest waves seen this year as part of the ZON North Canyon Show 2011, a forward thinking project by the local city hall aiming to promote Nazare as a surf destination for the slightly unhinged.
Off the coast here lies the Nazare Canyon, a rare geomorphological phenomenon, the biggest in Europe and one of the largest in the world. A 170km gap in the continental shelf some 5km deep focussing Atlantic energy right on the beach of Praia do Norte and creator of abnormally sized waves in comparison to the rest of the Portuguese coast.
Garrett was towing with CJ on the first big swell of the project. The swell had been building since Sunday and peaked on Monday. McNamara towed into the biggest wave ridden here this year, the biggest wave of the three day swell and a classic start to the North Atlantic big wave season.
Monday the 17th also saw largest wave ever paddled into in Portugal. The duo were towing when McNamara decided to paddle into a few with his trusted 11'1 Rusty Waimea Gun.
"This beach is so challenging. You really need to make sure you are in the right spot. I did my best to position myself and then just went for it. I had no idea how big the wave was, I was just so excited to finally paddle into a wave at Praia do Norte. Can't wait for the next swell so we can go for it again", said Garrett.
CJ Macias caught the biggest waves of his life during this three day swell. From 2 foot Florida to 40ft Praia do Norte.
"It was by far the most power I have ever felt in the ocean and the fastest I have ever screamed down the face of the wave. It was a dream come true having Garrett whip me into the perfect spot on so many waves!" said CJ.
Garrett said "CJ was fading so deep, he was scaring me. On one I swear he could of stretched out his long arms and touched the rocks.
This isn't your usual big wave reef out to sea, it's a beachbreak.
"They are probably the biggest waves in the world with this kind of bottom", reckons GMAC.
"Last year I came to Nazaré without any expectations. Now I know the potential and I am looking forward to riding the biggest waves ever!"
This is the second edition of a three year exploration that will end with a Big Wave event in 2012 - The Xtreme Waterman Challenge. It's a serious commitment from a local council and will come as a surprise to many used to seeing PWC use in big surf heavily restricted by their local politicians.
Also out there was Brit, Andrew Cotton, arriving a day behind the peak of the swell from the wilds of Scotland.
"On this I wave was trying to avoid the whole being stuck inside beach scenario which I'd gone through about six times already this session, it's a nightmare." Said Cotton
"Instead I pretty much launched myself 20ft high landing face first onto what felt like concrete, knocking the wind out of myself, not being able to breathe then having to go get my board from the beach anyway. You live and learn and next time I'll man up and just pull in, it's way easier."