The Greatest Risks Reap the Greatest Rewards at Nazare

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The draw of Portugal's most famed big wave location was such that Californian big wave surfer David Langer upped sticks and pitched up right in front of it.

"I came here a couple of years ago and rented an apartment knowing I wanted to come back and stay," says David. "Six months later I came back and haven't left since so I've been here a year and a half."

I guess I trusted him more than he trusted himself.

Now with a pad within view of the waves he sits, wrapped in home comforts, waiting for his moment to strike. The exact moment he chooses to strike can define an entire swell.

"I ran for my jetski, racing to the marina, and when I got there I found Fabiano Tissot from Brazil, shaking off a beating to the beach before even catching a wave," he says. "I asked him if he wanted to partner up and he was keen so off we went. Ten minutes later I was getting ready to tow him into a wave and a set came, cleaned him up and sent his board in. We went in for it and ten minutes later went for it again, yet a little further out this time. I towed Tissot into a few nice ones and we switched."

Having just caught his breath after being cleaned up already, Fabiano didn't want to risk a repeat, stressing the fact he wasn't comfortable going too far inside on the ski with the danger of not getting back out.

"He asked me to not ride the waves too far and not go right into the rocks I think too," remembers David. "Yet that's exactly what I did. I guess I trusted him more than he trusted himself. He was sure I wasn't going right and therefore was nowhere to be found when the ride ended. It took a couple of waves before he came for me but he nailed it when he did."

From my side of things it was an opportunity to get barrelled at a risk that I was willing to take.

So what pushes a man to disregard his own safety in the face of massive waves in the shadow of towering cliffs?

"From my side of things it was an opportunity to get barrelled at a risk that I was willing to take," David continues. "The wave just seemed to be the one. Instead it just chased me and almost mowed me down with nowhere to go but straight to the rocks. Needless to say I was stoked to make it. But I had a whole new set of concerns as the current and incoming waves threatened to end me. Luckily Tissot came in and got me. If he hadn't I may have done the wrong thing and not gone straight in. It would be tempting to linger around and wait for help yet if the current took you out in front of the rocks and a wave came it could be the end."

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