The fearsome arena

The Nazaré event has been called on with Andrew Cotton and Tom Butler in the starting line up… Looks like Tuesday is the first possible day. Fingers crossed the local wind cooperates.


Today, the World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave Tour (BWT) is placing the Nazaré Challenge in Nazaré, Portugal, on Green Alert to commence on Tuesday, December 20, 2016. With a a series of major swells heading towards the region, all eyes will be on the world’s best big wave surfers as they take on the waves of Praia do Norte (North Beach), a break notorious for its powerful waves and dangerous whitewater speeds.

“We are excited to call the inaugural Nazaré Challenge on,” said Peter Mel, WSL Big Wave Tour Commissioner. “We have been closely tracking the WNW North Atlantic swell and see that everything should align for a Tuesday start. The waves are projected to be 35-45-foot-plus with favorable winds. We are all eager to see how the world’s best big wave surfers push the boundaries with the debut of this event.”

The highly-anticipated Nazaré Challenge is an all-new event on the WSL Big Wave Tour and will be the first paddle-in event to take place at the venue that put Portugal on the map as a big wave haven. The event will be contested by 24 of the best big wave surfers, led by BWT ratings leader Grant “Twiggy” Baker (ZAF), 2015/16 BWT Champion Greg Long (USA), as well as regional event wildcards Alex Botelho (PRT) and Andrew Cotton (GBR).

Surfline, official forecaster for the WSL, are calling for:

Significant storm activity in the North Atlantic in the next few days will deliver a series of XL to possibly XXL swells for Nazaré for most of next week. The first of these swells, which will arrive on Tuesday, is currently expected to produce waves of 30-40’ on the face, with the largest sets potentially hitting 50’ if the storm behaves as forecast in the next couple days. A similar size swell looks possible for Thursday before fading Friday. Local wind will be variable for much of next week, although does look favorable Tuesday morning, Wednesday morning and potentially all of Thursday and Friday. 

While the competition is scheduled to start early in the morning Portugal time on Tuesday, December 20, organizers are also keeping the option open of competition days on Wednesday, December 21 and Thursday, December 22, should the local weather conditions call for it.

The Nazare Challenge will be webcast LIVE at and on the WSL app.

The total prize purse for the Nazare Challenge is $100,000.

Nazaré Challenge Competitors:
Greg Long (USA)
Billy Kemper (HAW)
Nic Lamb (USA)
Carlos Burle (BRA)
Damien Hobgood (USA)
Cristian Merello (CHL)
Ramon Navarro (CHL)
Gabriel Villaran (PER)
Grant Baker (CHL)
Trevor Carlson (HAW)
Koa Rothman (HAW)
Jamie Mitchell (AUS)
Aaron Gold (HAW)
Kai Lenny (HAW)
Pedro Calado (BRA)
Will Skudin (USA)
Kealii Mamala (HAW)
Kohl Christensen (HAW)
Alex Botelho (PRT)
Hugo Vau (PRT)
Joao de Macedo (PRT)
Antonio Silva (PRT)
Andrew Cotton (GBR)
Tom Butler (GBR)