Europe has no shortage of heaving slabs, nor does it lack the chargers to occupy them. Portugal's Nic Von Rupp is one of Europe's leading hellmen taking a familiarity with heavy water and shallow ledges to the next level.
The fourth instalment of the the My Road series has landed as Nic pays homage to the big wave slabs with a little help from Tom Lowe, Barry Mottershaead, João Macedo and more.
Fortunately Europe is swell rich and has some of the best rock formations for heavy slabs.
"I think you become a product of your environment," explains our protagonist. "Fortunately Europe is swell rich and has some of the best rock formations for heavy slabs – maybe some of the best in the world from Ireland to the Canaries."
It's this diversity within a relatively tight proximity Nic attributes his ease in the weighty stuff. "I guess I just got moulded to what we have over here," he continues. "If I'd grown up in Brazil maybe I'd be an aerialist."
Once a grom shit scared of rocks, he now charges perilously with a lack of consideration for personal safety.
In my eyes the closest we have to a Jaws or a Cloudbreak on steroids. It's a proper paddle big wave spot into a huge mutant barrel.According to Nic, it's all a natural progression. His first trip to Ireland he recalls was for slabs rather than big wave surfing. Hitting Mullaghmore was more a case of not being in a position to say no rather than personal desire. He now proves his worth there year in year out.
"Man, Mully has charisma of its own," he says. "It's just so raw, funky and unpredictable. But in my eyes the closest we have to a Jaws or a Cloudbreak on steroids. It's a proper paddle big wave spot into a huge mutant barrel."
Ireland's exposure to the North Atlantic however remains the biggest challenge of all. "Wind is a real factor over there, 50 knots most of the time which makes it hard to paddle," says Nic. "Once you get yourself over the ledge you gotta get ready to race that long barreling wall in front of you."
Despite the inevitable jet-setting of a professional surfer, home is always home and for Nic, Portugal equipped him with the toolset for a life of tackling slabs. "It's fickle, but it has its days that are just as good as anywhere in the world. But it needs right tide, right wind and right swell, which happen only rarely. But when it does come together IT'S ON."