Today, the World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave Tour (BWT) has issued a Green Alert for the Nazaré Tow Surfing Challenge pres. By Jogos Santa Casa at Nazaré, Portugal to run on Tuesday, February 11, 2020. The first call will be made at 8 a.m. local time (GMT) on Tuesday.
“We have been tracking this weather system for a few days and conditions seem to keep improving with very large swell and light winds,” Bill Sharp, Big Wave Tour General Manager said. “This looks to be the best opportunity in the season so we have decided to call the Green Alert.”
“There has been so much progression in tow-surfing these last few years that it is great to finally have a format that really suits it,” Sharp added. “Everybody will surf several times and at the end of the day will get together to decide the winners, this is really exciting!”
Tow Teams: A Unique New Format
The first-ever event of its kind, the Nazaré Tow Surfing Challenge will feature 10 teams comprised of two athletes, alternating between surfing and driving the team’s ski. Each team will compete twice in an hour-long heat with a priority system to ensure all riders get their shot at some of the best and biggest waves on the day.
The event will be captured from multiple angles and broadcast LIVE, with Big Wave legends Peter Mel and Garrett McNamara calling all the action. When the competition wraps, a nominating panel will examine the video evidence and select the biggest, best-ridden waves of the day as finalists. At an awards ceremony later in the day the athletes themselves, along with a group of expert judges, will review the nominated rides and place their votes in an assortment of categories including Men’s Wave of the Day, Women’s Wave of the Day, Team Champions and the Jogos Santa Casa Commitment Award with the winners being crowned at that time.
Maya Gabeira and Justine Dupont Make History at Nazare
For the first time, two female big wave chargers will compete at Nazare among the best surfers in the world. Gabeira will compete as Team World alongside Sebastian Steudtner, while Dupont is the only rider on her team, driven by her companion Fred David on the ski.
Here is the full list of competitors:
Team World: Sebastian Steudtner (DEU) & Maya Gabeira (BRA)
Team Brazil: Rodrigo Koxa (BRA) & Pedro Scooby (BRA)
Team Great Britain: Andrew Cotton (GBR) & Tom Butler (GBR)
Team Australia: Ross Clarke-Jones (AUS) & Mick Corbett (AUS)
Team Portugal: Alex Botelho (PRT) & Hugo Vau (PRT)
Team Young Bulls: Lucas Chianca (BRA) & Kai Lenny (HAW)
Team Europe: Nic von Rupp (PRT) & Francisco Porcella (ITA)
Team France: Benjamin Sanchis (FRA) & Eric Rebiere (FRA)
Team Atlantic: Grant Baker (ZAF) & Antonio Silva (PRT)
Team Justine: Justine Dupont (FRA) surfer only/Fred David driver only
Surfline Forecast for the Nazaré Tow Surfing Challenge
A very active storm pattern in the North Atlantic will set up a series of XXL swells for Nazare during the next week or more, with Tuesday and possibly Wednesday likely the best days of the bunch.
Thanks to a storm now rapidly strengthening off the US East Coast, we expect a solid northwest swell to build Monday night and peak into the early morning hours on Tuesday with 40-to 50-foot faces expected. Local wind looks good to excellent Tuesday morning with light and variable to possibly light offshore wind, before trending lightly onshore for the afternoon.
A reinforcing, long-period northwest swell is expected to build late Tuesday and peak early Wednesday morning from a potentially hurricane-force low that should develop off Greenland late this weekend. Similar size surf should continue Wednesday morning, although we may see an increase in the side-shore northerly wind on Wednesday.
For more information, please visit worldsurfleague.com
The Nazaré Tow Surfing Challenge presented by Jogos Santa Casa is organized by Ocean Events with the support Visit Portugal / Portuguese Waves, West Tourism, Nazaré City Council, Jogos Santa Casa, MEO, Corona and Hertz.
Tom Lowe sending it for the UK crew. Photo by Keoki Saguibo/WSL
Overnight (UK time that is) Paige Alms (HAW) and Billy Kemper (HAW) won the World Surf League (WSL) cbdMD Jaws Big Wave Championships in 30-to-50 foot (9 – 15 meter) waves at the famed Pe’ahi surf break on the north shore of Maui, Hawaii.
Paige Alms of Hawaii winning the 2019 cbdMD Jaws Big Wave Championships for the third time in her career at Peah’i. Photo by Keoki Saguibo/WSL
The Maui natives swept the event for a second time in their respective careers with Alms earning a historic third victory and Kemper an unprecedented fourth Jaws Challenge title – defending his 2018 win.
“I’m so happy and stoked – pretty excited for a cocktail (laughs),” said Alms. “It was some super challenging conditions today. As soon as I paddled out in my first heat the wind was here and I knew the Maui glass was on. To do it three times is all a blur and I’m pretty baffled at the moment. I try to make smart decisions out here and I obviously got pretty beat up at the end of that first wave. I try and pick the good ones, I’m not out there to prove anything to anyone except myself. It’s the ultimate feeling being on a giant wave, it’s when I feel the most alive and so it’s the double-edged sword. You’re putting your body and life on the line to ride these wave but when you successfully ride one nothing beats it.”
The ocean came to life after a slow 20-minute start that Maui’s Alms was able to scratch into and drop down the critical face before being swallowed by a mountain of white water. The 2016 and 2017 Jaws Challenge victor sustained a hamstring injury in the process but grabbed a backup jersey and returned back to the lineup. Fellow Maui native and one of the crowd favorites Annie Reickert made her incredible Big Wave debut at just age 18 and stunned those in attendance to earn a third-place finish behind runner-up Felicity Palmateer (AUS) who threw herself over the ledge into death-defying drops to put on a showcase throughout her performances.
“I think (showing up early) is partially a good thing and partially a bad thing,” said Reickert. “I showed up and had hours to watch and study the surf and get advice from everybody. But the more you’re out here the more the nerves get to you and get into your head so it was all just about paying attention to what the sets are doing and mentally staying prepared for what you’re about to go do.
“I’m honored to be out here. I didn’t know what to expect and of course my goal was to make it to the Final and just give it my all as well as share the water with these inspirational people like Paige (Alms) who’ve I’ve always looked up to.”
Felicity Palmateer. Photo by Keoki Saguibo/WSL
The men’s side also proved historic as Maui’s own Kemper claimed an unprecedented fourth victory, going back-to-back once more, at his home break of Pe’ahi – winning the event in 2015, 2016 and 2018 previously. The 29-year-old put on a showcase at the Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons and carried that momentum into a dominant performance with the day’s highest heat total, a 21.26 (out of a possible 30), in the Final to defend his title.
Billy Kemper. Photo by Cait Miers/WSL
“I feel so amazing right now, I’m over the moon,” said Kemper. “It felt like such a tough dogfight leading all the way to the Final. Every morning I wake up early and I work hard and every sacrifice, time I’ve taken away from my wife and kids, it’s all for this right here. This is my pride and joy. I leave blood, sweat and tears out at Jaws. This is my backyard and I’m very territorial (laughs).
“I bring my mom everywhere I go, I brought her out there with me today and she kept me safe and my brother Eric I love you guys. I wouldn’t be who I am today without them. This is a really special one after the dogfight. I had a rough Triple Crown after I felt like I performed really well but was just let down in the way things went but what can I say, I did what I wanted to do and this was just my day. I told myself when I went out there in this Final there’s no way I was coming home with second place.”
Kemper heaved himself over the ledge of the Final’s first set and locked into a massive barrel which he was able to find an exit from to earn a 7.83. But, he had fellow Maui natives, former Jaws Challenge winner Ian Walsh (HAW) and three-time Finalist Kai Lenny, along with big wave chargers Makuakai Rothman (HAW), Nathan Florence (HAW) and Lucas Chianca (BRA). Lenny stole the lead from Kemper momentarily with his signature power carves on the massive canvas of Pe’ahi’s wave face before Kemper’s near-barrel make earned him a 5.60 for his commitment and wave size. Walsh’s last effort witnessed the island native make an incredible drop down a steep face and narrowly escape a cascading wave behind him to earn a 7.00, just 1.23 short of the requirement.
Ian Walsh. Photo by Cait Miers/WSL
“Once the clock starts it’s definitely a different mindset and for me it’s just being on the mental page of ready to send it,” said cbdMD Jaws Challenge Big Wave Championships runner-up Walsh. “Just try to focus on your positioning give yourself an opportunity to make the wave. I think toward the end I start talking to Jaws and asking for a big, black barrel but other than that I’m just staying in the moment and being ready for whatever happens right then. Some of them weren’t approachable and it’s more of the wave catching you than you catching the wave.”
The cbdMD Jaws Big Wave Championships is proudly supported by cbdMD, Michelob Ultra, Red Bull, and Alexander & Baldwin.
Russell Bierke opened the day strong in heat 1. Photo by Cait Miers/WSL
Winter isn’t coming, at least not in the ocean, we are done. So now the 6mms and jet skis can be put back in storage it’s time to celebrate the women and men who ride giants. Congrats to our own Tom Butler for his Nazaré behemoth, it is indeed a whopper. There are plenty of doozies in there this year and it’s dominated by our end of the world with the northern hemisphere killing it with Jaws and Naz being the main players; Mully is strangely absent for once. Anyhoose, have a gander below and see the full selections HERE.
***BWA RELEASE AND SHOTS BELOW***
The 2019 World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave Awards (BWA) nominees are officially locked in. Top honors will be awarded across eight categories: Ride of the Year, Women’s XXL Biggest Wave, Men’s XXL Biggest Wave, Women’s Biggest Paddle, Men’s Biggest Paddle, Wipeout of the Year, Men’s Best Overall Performance of the Year, and Hydro Flask Women’s Best Overall Performance of the Year. The WSL’s official BWA Nominee page is now live HERE: worldsurfleague.com/bigwaveawards/nominees.
The 19th Annual WSL BWA competition window came to an end on March 20, 2019, and spanned the previous 12 months of the world’s greatest big wave surfers taking on the biggest swell in that timeframe. Every wave ridden at every big wave break around the world in this period was eligible for consideration across the eight categories. A panel of judges chose the best rides in each of the categories based on photographic and video evidence.
The winners will be crowned at a celebration open to the public in Redondo Beach, California, on Thursday, May 2, 2019. For the first time, general admission tickets can be purchased to watch the awards from the comfort of beach seating at the BeachLife Festival stage hosting this year’s awards. Viewers are also invited to watch a live broadcast of this year’s awards via WorldSurfLeague.com and the WSL’s Facebook page.
This year’s nominees include a global population of big wave surfers representing countries as diverse as Germany, Australia, Chile, England, Brazil, the United States, and France. With the Northern Hemisphere triggering massive swells this year, the majority of the nominated rides come from the infamous big wave breaks of Nazaré in Portugal, Pe’ahi (a.k.a. “Jaws”) in Maui, Hawaii, USA, and Mavericks, California, USA.
The nominees for 2019, in alphabetical order:
RIDE OF THE YEAR AWARD NOMINEES Surfer prizes total $102,000 – Videographer prizes total $12,000
The Ride of the Year is the top-line category of the event and is awarded to the surfer who demonstrates the most advanced and committed level of big wave surfing during a successful ride, as judged by available video-footage. While raw size is taken into consideration, it is ultimately the level of performance that is rewarded. First Place: $65,000; Second Place: $17,000; Third Place: $10,000; Fourth Place: $6,000; Fifth Place: $4,000; First Place Videographer: $5,000; Second Place Videographer: $2,500; Third Place Videographer: $2,000; Fourth Place Videographer: $1,500; Fifth Place Videographer: $1,000
Grant Baker (Durban, South Africa) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii, on November 26, 2018 (Video by Carlo Carbajal)
Naxto Gonzalez (Basque Country, Spain) at Nazaré, Portugal, on November 16, 2018 (Video by Jon Aspuru)
Billy Kemper (Maui, Hawaii) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on November 26, 2018 (Video by Johnny Decesare)
Kai Lenny (Maui, Hawaii) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on November 26, 2018 (Video by Ryan Johnson)
Ramon Navarro (Pichimelu, Chile) at Cloudbreak on May 22, 2018 (Video by Taylor Curran)
MEN’S XXL BIGGEST WAVE AWARD NOMINEES Surfer 1st place prize $20,000 – Photographer 1st place prize $5,000
Anthony Tashnick, Mavs.
Carlos Burle, Jaws.
Kai Lenny, Jaws.
Seb Steudtner, Naz.
Tom Butler, Naz.
The XXL Biggest Wave Awards goes to the male and female surfers who, by any means available, catch and ride the biggest wave of the year. The winners will receive a $20,000 prize and the photographers of the rides will receive an $8,000 prize.
Carlos Burle (Rio De Janeiro, Brazil) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on November 26, 2018 (Photos by Martin Caprile, Dooma Photos, Aaron Lynton and Randy Sorrow. Video by Carlo Carbajal)
Tom Butler (Newquay, United Kingdom) at Nazaré, Portugal, on December 14, 2018 (Photos by Pedro Cruz, Jorge Leal, Manuel Ricardo and Rafael G. Riancho. Video by Jorge Leal)
Kai Lenny (Maui, Hawaii) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on November 26, 2018 (Photos by Martin Caprile, Mike Coots, Ryan Craig, Robin Ernst, Aaron Lynton and Randy Sarrow. Video by Marcus Rodrigues)
Sebastian Steudtner (Nuremburg, Germany) at Nazaré, Portugal on February 7, 2019 (Photo by Pedro Miranda. Video by Pedro Miranda)
Anthony Tashnick (Santa Cruz, California) at Mavericks, California, on December 17, 2018 (Photos by Fred Pompermayer and Frank Quirarte. Video by Benjamin Ginsberg)
WOMEN’S XXL BIGGEST WAVE AWARD NOMINEES Surfer 1st place prize $20,000 – Photographer 1st place prize $5,000
Justine Dupont, Naz.
Nicole Pacelli, Jaws.
Justine Dupont (Segnoisse, France) at Nazaré, Portugal, on November 9, 2018 (Photos by Mike Jones and Pedro Vilela. Video by Antione Chicoye)
Justine Dupont (Segnoisse, France) at Nazaré, Portugal on November 18, 2018 (Photos by Rafael G. Riancho and Shannon Reporting. Video by the WSL Team)
Nicole Pacelli (Guarujá, Brazil) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii, on January 12, 2019 (Video by Marcus Rodrigues)
MEN’S BIGGEST PADDLE AWARD NOMINEES Surfer 1st Place prize $20,000 – Photographer 1st place prize $5,000
Billy Kemper, Jaws.
Grant Baker, Jaws.
Grant Baker, Mavs.
Nate Florence, Mavs.
The Paddle Awards go to the male and female surfers who paddle into and successfully ride the biggest waves of the year. The winning surfers will receive a $20,000 prize and a $5,000 prize will go to the photographers who captured the ride. This year’s nominees showcased fearless displays of big wave surfing with rides at Jaws in Hawaii and Nazaré in Portugal and Mavericks in California.
Grant Baker (Durban, South Africa) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii, on November 26, 2018 (Photos by Adam Carbajal, Dooma Photos, Robin Ernst, Richard Hallman, Aaron Lynton and Kenny Morris)
Grant Baker (Durban, South Africa) at Mavericks, California, on December 17, 2018 (Photos by Tony Canadas, Elijah Crowell and Benjamin Ginsberg)
Pedro Calado (Rio De Janeiro, Brazil) at Nazaré, Portugal, on November 18, 2018 (Video by Laurent Pujol)
Nathan Florence (Oahu, Hawaii) at Mavericks, California, on December 17, 2018 (Photos by Elijah Crowell, Benjamin Ginsberg and Todd Turner. Video by Elijah Crowell)
Billy Kemper (Maui, Hawaii) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii, on November 26, 2018 (Erik Aeder, Matin Caprile, Ryan Craig, Robin Ernst and Aaron Lynton. Video by WSL Team)
WOMEN’S BIGGEST PADDLE WORLD RECORD CONTENDERS Surfer 1st place prize $20,000 – Photographer 1st place prize $5,000
Paige Alms, Jaws.
Justine Dupont, Jaws.
Andrea Moller, Jaws.
Paige Alms (Haiku, Hawaii) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on October 9, 2012 (Photos by Erik Aeder and Fred Pompermayer. Video by Elliot Leboe)
Justine Dupont (Segnoisse, France) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on November 26, 2018 (Photos by Ryan Craig, Dooma Photos and Richard Hallman. Video by Antione Chicoye.)
Andrea Moller (Ilhabelha, Brazil) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on January 16, 2016 (Photos by Keale Lemos and Fred Pompermayer. Video by Elliot Leboe)
WIPEOUT OF THE YEAR AWARD NOMINEES Surfer 1st place prize $3,000 – Videographer 1st place prize $3,000
While the performance categories salute the most successful rides of the past year, the Wipeout division presents the most amazing unsuccessful rides for online review. Video of surfing’s greatest aquatic mishaps has become a popular viral staple among surfing fans worldwide, often attracting millions of views and taking its place as a good-natured fixture in the Big Wave Awards. Truly epitomizing the courage needed for big wave surfing, the surfers nominated for this accolade show no shortage of heart and commitment. The winner of this award will receive $3,000 and the videographer who captured the wipeout will receive $3,000.
Russell Bierke (Ulladulla, Australia) at Nazaré, Portugal, on January 26, 2019 (Video by Antione Chicoye)
Alex Botelho (Lagos, Portugal) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii, on November 26, 2018 (Video by WSL Team)
Trevor Carlson (Haleiwa, Oahu, Hawaii) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on November 27, 2018 (Video by Marcus Rodrigues)
Lucas Chianca (Rio De Janeiro, Brazil) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on November 26, 2018 (Video by Marcus Rodrigues)
Makua Rothman (Oahu, Hawaii) at Cloudbreak, Fiji on May 22, 2018 (Video by Taylor Curran)
The men and women receiving nominations for the Men’s Overall Performance Award and Hydro Flask Women’s Best Overall Performance Award are still under review and will be announced in the coming weeks. The performance awards acknowledge the top surfers over the course of the last 12 months based on every ride captured on video or still images all around the world. These categories are regarded as among the most prestigious and important in the event and winners will be seeded into every WSL Big Wave Tour competition for the coming season.
The Big Awards are made possible by Hydro Flask, Barefoot, Redbull, Michelob Ultra, and BeachLife.
Nazaré lived up to the hype today with a class day of action from the big wave elite. All eyes are now on Sunday’s biggest, cleanest ever swell… Eeeeek.
Two-time Big Wave Tour Champion Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker (ZAF) won the World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave Tour (BWT) Nazaré Challenge today in the incredible 25-to-40-foot surf at the infamous Portuguese big-wave venue of Praia do Norte, Nazaré.
The event launched early this morning in glassy conditions with 25-foot-plus wave-faces around the high tide mark and as the tide dropped conditions got heavier and heavier to culminate with large surf in the 35-to-40-foot range, with occasional larger sets. Mike Parsons, Big Wave Tour commissioner has granted this event a Silver coefficient, meaning results in Nazaré will carry a 10% increase in points (e.g. 11,000 points for the winner).
A relatively discrete surfer in the opening round and the Semifinal, advancing in third place in both heats, the South African from Durban peaked at the exact right time to pull off some of the most incredible drops and rides seen all day in Nazaré during the Final. The tall and powerful regular foot went both to his forehand and backhand in the Final to score an incredible 8.67 and 7.70 on his way to a first victory in Portugal.
“I don’t believe it, this is insane,” Baker stated. “These kids were going so hard today and I can’t believe I’ve still got that in me. That 8.67 was the wave I’d been waiting for, it came right to me and I ended up being super late, it was a crazy big section. What a day, just perfect, perfect Nazaré, it’s a dream. Lucas (Chianca) was the man to beat and Natxo (Gonzalez) got that crazy barrel in the semis, somehow I got lucky and I got out on top!”
The 2013 and 2016 Big Wave Tour Champion, Baker has time and time again proven to be a threat in all conditions when the waves hit maximum heights. Today he came out on top of one of the best days of big wave professional surfing ever seen.
The Final got underway quickly with good rides from most surfers, but undoubtedly Lucas Chianca (BRA), the defending event champion in Nazaré, got the better of the early exchanges. The young Brasilian posted a 7.17 and 6.23 to take a strong lead early on and continued to play with the massive lefts he’d been dominating since early this morning. His ability to drop late into the steep walls impressed as he navigated some of the best waves of the day.
Baker answered with good lefts at first, going back up into the wall to score turns on the shoulders for his first two scores. He then switched to the rights, to pull two huge drops into shorter rides to continue to build momentum.
Natxo Gonzalez (EUK) places third
Natxo Gonzalez (EUK) waited 30 minutes to start on his first wave, but his patience paid off as he launched into one of the most critical rides of the Final to post an 8.17 and position himself in second position. João De Macedo (PRT), Russell Bierke (AUS) and Alex Botelho (PRT) had a slower start to their heat and kept chasing waves.
Gonzalez moved into the lead with a second left quickly after, but Baker replied with a huge wave on his backhand, threading the face in a perfect line to post an excellent 8.67 and move ahead of the Basque surfer, relegating Chianca to third. The Brasilian found an excellent wave of his own to move into second with an 8.07.
The last three surfers started getting better waves in the 6s and 7s to stay in fighting distance of the lead while Baker, Chianca and Gonzalez continued to surf their own heat. But as time ran out, the situation remained unchanged and Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker walked away with the win, closely followed by Chianca and Gonzalez. Botelho claimed fourth place, De Macedo fourth and Bierke fifth in his first-ever Big Wave Tour event.
Lucas Chianca (BRA) placed 1st in Heat 1 of Round 1 of Nazaré Challenge 2018
In his second year on the Big Wave Tour, Lucas ‘Chumbo’ Chianca (BRA) dominated his first two heats to qualify for the Final, and score the second-best single score of the day, a near-perfect 9.60 for a backhand barrel in Semifinal 1. Unfortunately, the Brasilian couldn’t quite find the same opportunities for massive scores in the Final heat and placed runner-up behind Baker.
“I’m super stoked but I didn’t fully accomplish what I came here to do,” Chianca said. “It was a perfect day and everyone was stoked to see these waves break. It’s a great way to start the season and I’m incredibly excited about the rest of the season. Twiggy is such a legend and a real idol I’ve looked up to when I was younger so to compete with these guys now I’m stoked.”
Third place finisher Natxo Gonzalez (EUK) had previously ridden the wave of his life in Semifinal 2, locking in a deep barrel with a high line on an impressive lefthander that came up abruptly next to the cliffs. The Basque surfer is building himself a solid profile on the big wave scene and will be one to watch as he takes on his first full season on the tour.
“After getting that 10 my day was pretty much over, I didn’t really care about anything else to be honest,” Gonzalez said. “I got one of the best waves of my life, in front of thousands of people including my friends and family so things don’t get much better than that.”
Russel Bierke (AUS) finishes sixth
Competition reached a climactic high in the Semifinals as waves started opening up, giving surfers a rare opportunity to get barreled at Nazaré when the waves are that big. Portuguese surfer João De Macedo was the first to capitalize with an impressive 9.20, Chianca followed with a 9.60 and Gonzalez pulled off the impossible with his perfect 10 point ride in the following heat.
Last year’s Big Wave Tour Champion Billy Kemper (HAW) bowed out in Semifinal 1 alongside compatriots Nathan Florence (HAW) and Ian Walsh (HAW).
Tom Lowe (GBR) placed 4th in Heat 2 of Round 1 of Nazaré Challenge 2018
2018/2019 Nazaré Challenge Final Results:
1 – Grant Baker (ZAF) 25.04
2 – Lucas Chianca (BRA) 23.31
3 – Natxo Gonzalez (EUK) 22.71
4 – Alex Botelho (PRT) 22.06
5 – Joao De Macedo (PRT) 20.87
6 – Russell Bierke (AUS) 18.89
Nathan Florence (HAW) placed 3rd in Heat 1 of Round 1 of Nazaré Challenge 2018
2018/2019 Nazaré Challenge Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Lucas Chianca (BRA) 25.63, João De Macedo (PRT) 25.40, Russell Bierke (AUS) 21.47, Nathan Florence (HAW) 20.76, Billy Kemper (HAW) 18.23, Ian Walsh (HAW) 18.00
SF 2: Alex Botelho (PRT) 26.33, Natxo Gonzalez (EUK) 26.03, Grant Baker (ZAF) 21.60, Kai Lenny (HAW) 20.33, Nick Lamb (USA) 14.00, Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 2.50
2018/2019 Nazaré Challenge Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Lucas Chianca (BRA) 22.31, Billy Kemper (HAW) 17.23, Nathan Florence (HAW) 16.91, Francisco Porcella (ITA) 14.63, Greg Long (USA) 13.77, Antonia Silva (PRT) 8.36
Heat 2: Ian Walsh (HAW) 24.34, Russell Bierke (AUS) 14.86, João De Macedo (PRT) 13.84, Tom Lowe (GBR) 12.16, Rodrigo Koxa (BRA) 9.36, Will Skudin (USA) 3.80
Heat 3: Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 19.57, Kai Lenny (HAW) 16.83, Natxo Gonzalez (EUK) 16.26, Jojo Roper (USA) 14.71, Pedro Calado (BRA) 14.20, Andrew Cotton (GBR) 13.73
Heat 4: Alex Botelho (PRT) 20.37, Nic Lamb (USA) 19.43, Grant Baker (ZAF) 18.13, Makuakai Rothman (HAW) 15.33, João Guedes (PRT) 10.16, Nic von Rupp (PRT) 9.70
The 2018/2019 Big Wave Tour hosts three events: the Nazaré Challenge, the Jaws Challenge, and the Mavericks Challenge. All holding periods for this season are now open and will await the biggest waves until the season’s close on March 31, 2019. For the Jaws Challenge and Mavericks Challenge, the world’s best male and female big wave surfers will await conditions that will produce waves in the 30-to-60-foot range. Once the decision is made to run the event, a “Green Alert” is issued and competitors will have 48 hours’ notice to be ready to compete.
The WSL Big Wave Tour is proudly supported by Surfline, and Corona, with a special thanks to Nazaré Challenge partners Jogos Santa Casa, Visit Portugal, Portuguese Waves, The City of Nazaré, MEO, Hertz, and Praia do Norte.
Ian Walsh ( HAW) placed 1st in Heat 2 of Round 1 of Nazaré Challenge 2018
The world’s best big wave surfers gathered in Santa Monica tonight for the 2018 World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave Awards. The show at the Red Bull Headquarters awarded the best rides of the past year, including a new World Record from Brazil’s Rodrigo Koxa.
Rodrigo Koxa, BRA, at the 2018 WSL Big Wave Awards in Santa Monica, CA, USA today 28 April 2018
Rodrigo Koxa is now the official World Record holder for the biggest wave ever surfed in history after being awarded the Quiksilver XXL Biggest Wave award tonight. The judging panel for the Big Wave Awards concluded that the record-breaking wave surfed by Koxa at Nazaré, Portugal on November 8, 2017 was 80 feet (24.38 meters) overtaking Garrett McNamara’s record, whose wave was marked at 78 feet (23.77 meters) in 2011. The Quiksilver XXL Biggest Wave Award goes to the surfer who, by any means available, catches the biggest wave of the year. Not only did Koxa win this year’s honor, but he now holds the Guinness World Record for the biggest wave surfed.
“I try to surf big waves all my life and I had a huge experience in 2014 where I almost died at Nazaré,” Koxa said. “Four months later, I had bad dreams, I didn’t travel, I got scared, and my wife helped me psychologically. Now, I’m just so happy and this is the best day of my life. Thank you to WSL, it’s a dream come true.”
Ian Walsh, USA, at the 2018 WSL Big Wave Awards in Santa Monica, CA, USA today 28 April 2018
The Ride of the Year showcases the most remarkable big-wave imagery of surfers racing down giant waves, and Ian Walsh’s incredible barrel ride at the 2018 Pe’ahi Challenge earned him this year’s award. Walsh also earned the Tube of the Year Award for the same wave.
“For this wave, I feel like in a lot of ways more than catching this wave, this wave caught me,” Walsh said. “It’s a great snapshot of the comradery of our sport and I feel like we all rode this wave together as a unit. Congratulations to all the other outstanding nominees who are helping progress this sport, and the water safety that’s progressed with us to allow us to do that. I thank all the surfers before us, all the surfers right now, and all the kids that will surely take this sport to unprecedented heights. Let’s all do our part to keep the oceans clean and the beaches better than we found them.”
Paige Alms, USA, at the 2018 WSL Big Wave Awards in Santa Monica, CA, USA today 28 April 2018
Paige Alms earned the Hydro Flask Women’s Best Performance of the Year Award for the third time in her career. In addition to celebrating the back-to-back win, Alms was also honored for defending her Big Wave Tour Crown after winning the Pe’ahi Challenge again this season. The first women’s WSL Big Wave competition was held in 2017, and Alms has dominated the big wave surfing scene since. Next season, Alms will battle to defend her Big Wave Title for an unprecedented third-straight win as the tour sees competitions at Pe’ahi in Hawaii and Mavericks in California.
“I just want to say thank you to all the nominees, this is a really fun platform to show our sport,” said Alms. “Congratulations to all the female nominees tonight, I feel like you all push me to be a better surfer and a better person. I really like being able to call all of you my friends. You’re all so inspiring. I’d also like to thank all the photographers and videographers who are putting this spotlight on us out of the pure joy they have for the sport.”
Up-and-comer Lucas “Chumbo” Chianca earned the Men’s Best Overall Performance Award after showcasing incredible surfing this season, including his win at the Nazaré Challenge earlier this year. The 22-year-old will undoubtedly be one to watch in the upcoming season as he joins the Big Wave Tour full-time.
2016 Paddle Award winner Aaron Gold dominated the Paddle category again this year for his wave at Pe’ahi on January 14, 2018. Gold still holds the record for the biggest paddle-in wave ever surfed at 63 feet (19.2 meters) from 2016. This year’s award-winning wave was measured at 55 feet (16.76 meters).
Andrew Cotton (GBR) winning the best wipeout award at the 2018 WSL Big Wave Awards in Santa Monica, CA, USA today 28 April 2018
Andrew Cotton, the standout big wave surfer representing the United Kingdom, took home one of the night’s most anticipated awards, the Wipeout of the Year Award. Unfortunately, Cotton’s gut-wrenching fall at Nazaré led to a broken l2 vertebrae and sidelined the big wave charger for six months. Cotton has been recovering since the accident and is working to return to the water to earn the Ride of the Year and Biggest Wave awards next season.
“I’d like to thank the Nazaré crew, the Mayor, and the community there,” said Cotton. “They’ve become like a family to me. Can’t thank my own family enough for putting up with all the last minute travels and schedule they deal with, it’s incredible. Since that day of the injury, I’ve progressed more each day and now I’m just looking to get back out there on the waves I love to surf. This is the dream of any big wave surfer is to be in the XXL Awards and to get on tour, but for me, it’s always been about Biggest Wave or Ride of the Year. It’s amazing to be up there in front of your heroes after being out for over six months and my goal is to be back out there in the summer or by October to really start charging again.”
Breaking your spine is heavy no matter where you do it. In the middle of this maelstrom is unthinkable. Thankfully Cotty will fully recover. One of the all time heaviest wipeouts rightfully acknowledged.
TUBE OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNER Ian Walsh (Haiku, Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on October 28, 2017.
(Photo by Richard Hallman.)
WIPEOUT OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNER Andrew Cotton (Braunton, Devon, United Kingdom) at Nazaré, Portugal on November 8, 2017.
(Video by Pedro Miranda.)
BIGGEST PADDLE AWARD WINNER Aaron Gold (Haleiwa, Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on January 14, 2018.
(Photo by Brent Broza.)
QUIKSILVER XXL BIGGEST WAVE AWARD WINNER Rodrigo Koxa (Guarujá, SP, Brazil) at Nazaré, Portugal on November 8, 2017.
(Photo by Pedro Cruz.)
RIDE OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNER
Ian Walsh (Haiku, Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on October 28, 2017.
(Video by Dan Norkunas.)
HYDRO FLASK WOMEN’S BEST PERFORMANCE AWARD WINNERS
1 – Paige Alms (Haiku, Hawaii, USA)
2 – Justine Dupont (Seignosse, France)
3 – Maya Gabeira (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
4 – Keala Kennelly (Haleiwa, Hawaii, USA)
5 – Bianca Valenti (Mill Valley, California, USA)
MEN’S BEST OVERALL PERFORMANCE AWARD NOMINEES
1 – Lucas Chianca (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
2 – Kai Lenny (Haiku, Hawaii, USA)
3 – Grant Baker (Durban, South Africa)– 2018/2019 BWT Qualifier
4 – Billy Kemper (Haiku, Hawaii, USA)
5 – Ian Walsh (Haiku, Hawaii, USA)
6 – Nathan Florence (Haleiwa, Hawaii, USA) – 2018/2019 BWT Qualifier
7 – Jojo Roper (San Diego, California, USA) – 2018/2019 BWT Qualifier
8 – Jamie Mitchell (Burleigh Heads, Queensland, Australia)
9 – Russell Bierke (Ulladulla, New South Wales, Australia) – 2018/2019 BWT Qualifier
10 – Ryan Hipwood (Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia) – 2018/2019 BWT First Alternate
Paige Alms of Hawaii wins the women’s 2017 wsl Pe’ahi challenge
Paige Alms (HAW) and Ian Walsh (HAW) have won the World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave Tour (BWT) Pe’ahi Challenge today in towering 30-to-40 foot-plus conditions at the world famous Pe‘ahi in Haiku, Maui, Hawaii.
The second event of the 2017/2018 BWT season tested the top big wave chargers as a solid swell delivered massive surf over two days at Pe’ahi with wave faces exceeding 45 feet. Event officials have rated this year’s Pe’ahi Challenge a Gold coefficient, the highest possible BWT rating, which will allocate 15,625 points to first place.
2016 Women’s Big Wave Champion Alms successfully defended her event title today after defeating a stacked field of competitors in the Final. Alms, who became the first ever Women’s Big Wave Champion at Pe’ahi last season, made history once again with her unprecedented big wave victory.
“I feel so grateful to be able to sit out in an empty lineup at firing, perfect Jaws,” Alms said. “It doesn’t get much better than that. Every single one of the women today sent it on a bomb. There were big waves out there and I was kind of kicking myself for not going on one set, but I just feel super stoked and honored.”
The Women’s Pe’ahi Challenge saw all six competitors charge monstrous set waves in the 60-minute Final. Alms stayed selective throughout the Final, utilizing her local knowledge to take off on two gigantic waves for the winning score, an excellent 21.23 combined score (out of a possible 30).
“Anyone that says they’re not scared of this place, I think they’re lying,” continued Alms. “I think it’s the most powerful and intimidating big wave anywhere in the world, by far. I definitely look up to Ian (Walsh) and I’m super stoked that he won it. We couldn’t have asked for anything more – it definitely put on a show so thanks Pe’ahi!”
Line up for the Pe’ahi Challenge
Big wave veteran Keala Kennelly (HAW) earned second place in the women’s event with four fearless attempts. Kennelly turned in a 17.21 heat score, including an impressive completion for a 7.17 single-wave score. Justine Dupont (FRA) looked in great form with three big attempts and took the third place result. Bianca Valenti (USA), Andrea Moller (BRA) and Felicity Palmateer (AUS) also charged the epic conditions to earn fourth, fifth and sixth place, respectively.
Ian Walsh of Hawaii wins the 2017 WSL Pe’ahi Challenge
Walsh earned his career-first BWT victory after dominating his Round 1 heat and the Final series. The 34-year-old, who was invited to compete as an event wildcard, capitalized on his opportunity to earn first place at his home break in Haiku and vault up to third place on the BWT rankings.
“This is a really big honor and I’m stoked that I can follow Billy (Kemper) and keep this thing on Maui,” said Walsh. “It was an incredible couple days of surfing, some challenging lulls but everyone here surfed really, really well and it was a pleasure to be in the water with them. It was fun to watch each heat almost, our sport progress as the waves got bigger and better. It feels just like those big free surf days, so I’m really honored and stoked.”
The men’s Final saw heated battles amongst the top six competitors. 2014/15 BWT Champion Makuakai Rothman (HAW) gained an early lead with a 5.60, but the field quickly battled back with big attempts. Two-time Pe’ahi Challenge winner Billy Kemper (HAW) opened his campaign with a committed 5.43 and maintained his do-or-die mentality after taking off impossibly deep on an enormous wave for a 6.57 backup score.
Ian Walsh of Hawaii advances to the finals after scoring a perfect 10 and placing third in the semifinal heat 2 of the 2017 WSL Pe’ahi Challenge
Kai Lenny (HAW), winner of the Puerto Escondido Challenge and BWT rankings frontrunner ahead of Maui, narrowly missed a collision with Ryan Hipwood (AUS) in the Final after committing to an under-the-ledge late drop into a 35-foot wave. Lenny managed to successfully ride out his first wave and stamp out a rail-carve for a 6.93 from the judges, then found a 4.40 backup score to finish fourth in the event. Lenny’s result strengthens his lead on the BWT with Kemper following closely behind and Walsh moving up to third.
Big wave veteran and Pe‘ahi professional Greg Long (USA) displayed good control throughout the event and maintained deep positioning in the lineup during the Final. En route to a fifth-place finish, Long took a high-line approach on his first wave in a barrel-hunt attempt and completed two rides to the channel for a combined heat score of 14.67.
The men’s second Semifinal saw event-best performances from both Walsh and Hipwood. Both surfers dropped Perfect 10’s for navigating steep takeoffs and cavernous barrels, with Walsh flying through two tube sections prior to winning the event.
Ahead of his runner-up result, Kemper narrowly got the edge over Danilo Couto (BRA) and Mark Healey (HAW) in Semifinal 1. Knowing Healey’s capabilities at Pe‘ahi, Kemper stayed close to the 35-year-old waterman in order to secure his position in the Final. Couto kept busy on the left-hand breaks, but fell just 0.57 points short of advancing through to the Final and will exit in Equal 7th place.
Highlights from the Pe’ahi Challenge can be found at WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL app and on the WSL’s Facebook page.
The 2017/2018 WSL Big Wave Tour season is divided into Southern Hemisphere and Northern Hemisphere components. The Southern Hemisphere window saw the completion of the Puerto Escondido Challenge earlier this year. The Northern Hemisphere window opened on October 15 and will run through February 28, 2018, with the potential to run the Nazaré Challenge in Portugal and the Mavericks Challenge in California.
WSL Big Wave Tour officials will monitor swell producing storms for the next four months and watch for the conditions that will produce waves in the 30-to-60-foot range for the remaining Northern Hemisphere events. Once the call is made, competitors will have 72 hours notice to be ready to compete.
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