Surfing Nazare – The Big Wave Raw Ocean Power Show (Photo&Video)

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Nazare was always a ‘known’ big wave spot but it took someone like Garrett McNamara to surf the biggest waves this spot can produce and turn the big wave world and general public limelight onto this sleepy fishing town in Portugal. The came out party for the Nazare behemoth wave was held in November of 2011 and since then there were a few more ‘historic’ and ‘the biggest wave ever ridden’ days, like the 28.1.2013

On 28th of October same year Carlos Burle from Brazil again made the ‘Is Portugal’s Nazare wave the biggest ever surfed?’ headlines possibly breaking the mythical 100ft limit while his countrywoman Maya Gaberia almost drowned surfing at Praia do Norte.

All that publicity kind of turned the town upside down. It became a popular Sunday trip destination for Portuguese, not just surfers but everyone from young children to elderly couples. People who don’t surf turn up and ask where is that ‘beach with big waves, I want to see them’ even when there is no swell and the ocean is flat.

This xmas was no exception. A semi nice day, when you don’t have to go to work is a great day to visit Nazare. A long row of cars slowly winded towards the lighthouse above Praia do Norte. Fortunately there was a 25ft at 15seconds swell heading towards the beach, unfortunately it was accompanied by strong almost gale force winds that came hand in hand with all possible weather combinations from sun to rain. There was no surfing on this day but the raw power of Atlantic ocean was even more evident. A sick day all in all…

Here are a few photos that I’ve made, they are all 1600px wide so click them and the waves will grow bigger :)

Big wave in Nazare and the lighthouse

That’s the famous “Nazare view”.

Fishing boat in Nazare, Portugal

Just to make sure we are in the right place – yes, it’s Nazare:)

Breaking wave

You climb a little hill behind the lighthouse to get that ‘wave breaking onto the lighthouse look’.

Nazare lighthouse

Unfortunately there was a strong onshore wind that prevented waves from reaching their maximum size.

three wave set on the way to Praia do Norte

Still, the size of the waves heading towards the Praia do Norte was impressive.

breaking wave

Huge walls of water. I would need a longer lens to imitate the famous lighthouse shot.

People visiting the big wave beach in Nazare

Lighthouse above Praia do Norte sits on top of the cliff protruding into the sea.

Traffic in Nazare

There is a long line of cars slowly moving towards the lighthouse. There are like 10 parking spaces there. Waiting in the car seems to beat a 10min walk. WTF?

Wave smashing into the rocks

Just below the cliffs there are a few rocks. This is how it looks when a ‘smaller’ wave meets them.

Ocean spray off the rock.

The bigger the rock the bigger the spray.

People watching big waves

And off course – the spectators. Nobody lasted that long on the edge of the cliff with strong wind and occasional rain coming from all possible directions.

ocean foam for miles

A few rare sunny moments and the sea of white. The foam was going crazy, mixing and splashing from all possible directions. Paddle out anyone? Am, tnx, I’ll pass.

people watching waves in Nazare

A stone pathway on the right side of the lighthouse brings you to the closest ‘vista’ point. Then it’s time to pull out your camera and ask the closest person to snap your picture.

waves and peaks and huge whitevater

Three peaks.

huge whitewater

Whitewater mayhem.

set of waves heading towards the cliff

Another set on the way.

Nazare beach and waves

This is the main beach in Nazare. Praia do Norte lies a bit north from the town. Surprisingly:)

sandy beach and whitewater

A tiny human watching the waves. Not so tiny waves.

man on a sandy beach from above

I love winter photography. Sun is always low on the horizon and you get longer shades and better contrasts and clearer air and colder fingers. Still Nazare, still main beach.

whitewater from above

OK, that’s the last one.

On the way to Nazare

This photo is the most borrrrring so it deserves to be last. Just to make sure this really was Nazare.

I also took a few moment and made a short video of how the massive hills of water and a sea of foam look like.

All photos: Klemen Surk

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