Surfing-Surfers take on giant waves in Nazare as extreme weather hits Europe

By Reuters

January 23, 2024 at 1:00 PM

NAZARE, Portugal (Reuters) - Brazilian surfer Lucas Chianca won the 2023 Nazare Big Wave Challenge on Monday as 35-foot-plus waves hit the Portuguese coast with extreme weather wreaking havoc around Europe.

After waiting for almost two months for a big swell in what has been a quiet season in Nazare, the competition started with 25-foot waves on Monday morning and wrapped up with 35-foot-plus walls late in the afternoon, but never reached the potential 50-foot swell that had been forecast.

Portugal's Nazare boasts arguably the biggest ridable waves in the world, magnified by an underwater canyon 5km (three miles) deep which ends where the North Atlantic meets the shoreline near the former fishing village.

Hawaiian Garrett McNamara put Nazare on the map in 2011 when he set a then world record for the biggest wave ever surfed at 78 feet (23.77 metres).

Brazilian Rodrigo Koxa bettered McNamara's mark in 2017, also at Nazare, and German Sebastian Steudtner broke the record again there in 2020, surfing an 86-feet (26.21-metre) wave.

On Monday, it was not the biggest Nazare can deliver, but Chianca put on a show with plenty of walls to work on and caught the best wave of the day, scoring 7.83 to become champion.

He also won the Best Team Performance alongside compatriot Pedro Scooby. Maya Gabeira beat Michelle des Bouillons to win the Women's Best Performance in another all-Brazilian showdown.

The competition is over but more waves are expected as extreme weather has been causing travel disruptions and power outages around Europe.

Hundreds of flights were delayed or cancelled in many European countries over the last few days, while snowstorms caused havoc on the roads in Spain and Austria.

Britain's rail network was disrupted, flights were cancelled and thousands of homes were left without power on Monday after the country was battered by Storm Isha overnight.

(Reporting by Fernando Kallas in Madrid, editing by Pritha Sarkar)


Reuters is a news agency owned by Thomson Reuters Corporation. It employs around 2,500 journalists and 600 photojournalists in about 200 locations worldwide. Reuters is one of the largest news agencies in the world.

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