December 2016 definitely marked big waves surfing. The Nazare Challenge, an event of the WSL world-wide big wave championship, held for the first time in Nazaré, showed that limits can be redefined, in this case the limit of the human body, when paddling to giant waves, and then enduring with all that solid beach break...
Watch this excellent video with images closer to surfers and waves, where you can calmly admire this spectacle of Nature, which are the giant waves of Nazaré - Portugal (Europe), as well as the high-level surfers who challenge them.
See the WSL report, with photos and analysis of what happened that day.
The day after the event, there was a greater swell, surfed by several worldwide surfers, some of them were still present due to WSL event. Not everyone dared to enter the water and saw from the lighthouse :) Lucas Chumbo caught a wave of another world, see the photos and the following video of Redbull, with a new perspective of the brutal wave:
Articles have come up to talk about the risk to surfers in Nazaré, calling into question the risk to profit. This is following several injured surfers, one with the cut ear, the other with ribs and lungs with problems and another that took first encounter with the jet ski... Fortunately they are all recovering well!
In the opinion of the NazareWaves site, this is to continue, with increasing waves, as João de Macedo (3rd place) said "the bigger the better", always pushing the limits. Certainly in 2017 there will be Nazare Challenge again in Nazare, Portugal.
All extreme sports put athletes at risk, see the example of motocross or snowboard for example, and that is not why they stop practicing these sports, the idea here is to minimize the risk and in the case of Nazaré is always put into operation a good security team that uses jet skis to rescue surfers, because unlike other big wave places like Mavericks or Jaws, Nazaré does not have a return channel to catch the waves again, because they break out all over the place, making it humanly impossible to return without resorting to jet skis, on days of biggest swells.
Read the interview of Jamie Mitchell (the winner of the Nazare Challenge) talking about this topic. Jamie Mitchel is a true "Water Man", winner of several extreme races of paddling, having a great advantage in Nazaré in this extreme sea. He also came to Nazare several times to learn this sea.
Nic Lamb despite suffering some injuries during the event, was very enthusiastic about Nazaré, and said that no one forced him to enter that sea, it is for each one and he will re-enter the next time again!
Read also this article where it is spoken of the misunderstanding in the declarations of Twiggy (Grant Baker), where it explains that there should be a boat with several boards not forcing to bring back the board after catching a wave, since it is enough complicated and dangerous, in the next competition must be done that way in Nazaré.
This article from surfbunker.com also deserves a reading, the author reports his amazement at seeing the giant waves of Nazaré for the first time, which filled him with all the senses, considering one of the wonders of the world. Enough to say to the "boys" who were surfing Pipeline at the time, "Come but here to surf serious waves" :)
In the early days of 2017 there are not expected to be big swells but certainly the first few months of the year are still going to bring big bombs! Stay tuned at NazareWaves.com, good year to everyone.