Big Wave Updates
Historic opening celebration at Nazaré kicks off season window
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 16 October, 2016 - The world’s best big wave surfers are back on call as the second half of the 2016/17 World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave Tour (BWT) season officially opens today.
With a window running from October 15, 2016 to February 28, 2017, the Northern Hemisphere has the potential to run at three of the most treacherous waves on the planet -- Nazaré in Portugal, Pe’ahi in Hawaii and Todos Santos in Mexico.
In honor of the arrival of the high surf season, an historic gathering was held today at the iconic lighthouse fortress Farol de Nazaré in Portugal, with big wave surfing elite from around the globe joining local royalty to celebrate the arrival of an all-new event on the WSL Big Wave Tour -- the highly-anticipated Nazaré Challenge.
The first paddle-in event to take place at the venue that put Portugal on the map as a big wave haven, the Nazaré Challenge festivities included speeches from WSL BWT Commissioner Peter Mel; Gary Linden, Vice President and Founder of the BWT; and the Mayor of Nazaré, Walter Chicarro.
Conference © WSL / Estrelinha
The highlight of the proceedings was a traditional paddle out circle formed by BWT competitors offshore of Praia do Norte, the ultra-powerful beach break in the shadow of the picturesque Nazaré headland.
The paddle out was led by Garrett McNamara, the Hawaiian surfer whose pioneering tow-in exploits at Nazaré garnered global media recognition and a world record for the biggest wave yet ridden. McNamara, a wildcard invitee to the competition, took the opportunity to recount for his fellow competitors of the seafaring history of the region, noting that the very seas they sat upon were notorious as a place of death for fisherman for generations, yet now gives surfers a way to celebrate life.
Celebration © WSL/Estrelinha
WSL Big Wave Tour officials will be monitoring swell producing storms for the next four-and-a-half months, watching for the precise conditions that will produce waves in the 30-60 foot range at all three locations. Once the call is made, competitors will have 72 hours notice to be ready to compete.
Another exciting addition to this year’s winter season includes an exclusive Women's Championship Big Wave event. The Women’s Championship Big Wave event will witness a diverse lineup of the leading waterwomen take on either Pe’ahi or Todos Santos, depending on the conditions. Two Semifinals of 6 women in each heat will narrow the field, with 3 moving on from each Semifinal to the Final.