This was written as the editorial for Carve issue 158… Now the XXL Award ceremony has been and gone makes sense to give it a run with Nazare winning biggest wave and wipeout categories.
Here’s a question.
You know the XXL Awards, the worldwide annual contest for the biggest wave ridden and the ride of the year and all that?
Hasn’t Nazare kind of buggered it?
It’s a simple fact that the wedging lumps of Atlantic armageddon that unload on the unassuming stretch of sand are way bigger, way crazier and on a whole other messed up scale than anything Pe’ahi, Mavericks, Mullaghmore and co can muster. Sancho’s wave from this winter was so off the chain it’s hard to imagine how he didn’t drown when he fell off. Thankfully he didn’t. You know a wave is mega-huge when you struggle to make out the dot that is the surfer on the face (vid of his winning beating below).
But it renders the ‘Biggest Wave’ aspect of the event pointless. The category needs to be renamed ‘Biggest Nazare Wave’. Plus side the odds of a Brit or, the next best thing, one of our Euro brethren winning it is that much stronger. So Cotty, Butters, Seb and Sancho are in with a good shout (psychic me: Seb won).
As for ride of the year that might as well just be renamed the Dorian Being Dorian Gong. Can anyone top his effortless, paddle in mastery of mahoosive Jaws barrels?
It’s weird how the dynamic has shifted. Big wave surfing was totally Pacific-centric before. All Mavericks, Pe’ahi and stuff. Now Nazare, Belharra and the vicious pit-bull in the corner: Mullaghmore, garner as much, if not more, coverage.
Mullaghmore is genuinely one of the most terrifying waves in the world. Being that rarest of beasts: a legit big wave slab. A boil afflicted, ledgey, barrel of doom that one day is going to deliver the craziest wave ever ridden. Fact.
It’s about time Dorian* came and gave it a shot to prove once and for all if it is really paddleable at its biggest, because whilst Ferg, Lowey, Butters and co have paddled it big and mad no one has managed to paddled it when the dial is cranked up to 11. It’s humbled all that have tried including some official international ’big wave’ men. As much as arm power is back in vogue, and we think this is a good thing, our Euro big wave megastars: Naz and Mully both defy the basic physics of paddling. Naz is just too ruddy big, too shifty and Mullaghmore, like Teahupo’o is just too fricking nuts once it goes code red. With persistence, perfect conditions and big slice of luck maybe they can be paddled at max size. We look forward to whatever our homegrown superhuman heroes like Cotty and the Toms do … however they propel themselves over the ledge.
Anyhoose. The thought that was burning a hole in my grey matter is now off my chest. On that biologically confused note I’ll sign off. Enjoy the issue pards.
*Dorian did make it to Ireland recently but not for a Mully swell…
Photo credit: Seb at Nazare by Mike Jones