While a couple of days ago certainly was the last XXL session to fill into Nazare this season, there was always this smaller, yet cleaner, swell bump on the cards for yesterday too – and not only did it deliver, but it was quite possibly the glassiest, most flawless session seen over the past six months.
You see, this northerly swell ripped into the offshore canyon at Nazare and helped create some incredibly peaky, super groomed perfection. It may not have been the voluminous liquid 70, 80ft mountains we adore seeing out there but that almost doesn't matter, because Nazare without a drop of water out of place, is a damn fine spectacle. Glassy A-frames pounding to shore and a frothing crew who knew this was the last time they could take a swing at it, is a potent mix.
Live cam: Nazare
Portugal's big wave aficionado Joao de Macdeo spent six hours in the water, and ended up paddling towards the end of the session. “It was incredible to paddle out there,” he told MSW. “It's been an up and down season, but just felt incredible to get the gun out.
It was Nazare in its best shape and form
“There were a couple of other people paddling out there too – that was special. The waves were so glassy and the last swell of the season, it had the perfect direction and everyone was having a good time, was fantastic. One of those magical surfing days."
Our man on the ground Helio Antonio, who has covered every single swell in Nazare this season for MSW (and the season before that, and the season before that...) said: “Today was amazing. Best waves I've seen this season, lots of barrels, peaky a-frames all over the beach. It was the perfect combination of wind and swell direction.
“It was Nazare in its best shape and form, only the size wasn't how we wished. With a bigger swell or wave period, it would be, for sure, the session of the season.
“Still, it was such a joy to watch how dreamy the water surface was and then these multiple a-frames coming out of nowhere. My favourite day of the season, when we're talking about wave quality and aesthetics.”
And about the forecast for this one, MSW forecaster Tony Butt said: “The system that generated the swell originated from the remnants of a low over Canada that moved out into the open Atlantic, combined with a second centre that developed east of Newfoundland on Friday 26.
“The double-centred system intensified southwest of Iceland on Saturday 27, with a strong westerly fetch on its southern flank generating a pulse of large, long-period swell. The system quickly weakened on Sunday and Monday, leaving the swell to propagate cleanly towards Biscay and Portugal, with virtually no locally-generated short-period swell within a radius of at least 500 miles. Local conditions on the coast were good throughout Tuesday, with very weak pressure gradients over the Iberian Peninsula.
“At Nazaré, the first long-period forerunners arrived on Monday afternoon, superimposed on the remains of the previous swell. By early Tuesday, the old swell was practically gone, and the swell persisted all day with wave heights hitting 15 feet or more and very clean conditions in light to moderate easterlies.”
Now, Nazare is likely to go into hibernation until the autumn. We may see a couple of spring swells fill in, but it is rare we get those proper XXL sessions this time of year. Hopefully, by the time Nazare rears its head, we'll see a reduction in the restrictions, no 1pm curfew and things returning to some form of normality.
BONUS! Nic Von Rupp scored a bit further south in Portugal