Duuude, one of the things we were stoked to shred ever since we arrived in Portugal is to go see Nazaré, the home of numerous gnarly surfing records due to the bitchin’ size of the waves that seemingly loom over the entire town. But we had just never gotten a round tuit. Then we found one under the couch!
And so with tuit in hand and spurred on by news reports that the waves were crashing big, we knew surfers from around the world would be descending upon Nazaré like QAnon nutjobs invading Washington DC. So we set off on the two hour drive to see the biggest surfable waves in the world on what was a beautiful, sunny Saturday.
Visitors to the Nazaré beach are greeted by this surf monument that surely leaves many people wondering. But there’s a legendary back story behind it (click on “back story” to see the short article describing all of it), dating all the way back- and I kid you not- to Jesus’ father, Joseph the Carpenter. Of course, it’s a well known fact that Jesus was a big surfer dude; apparently he didn’t even need a surfboard. Or waves.
Because Portuguese is based in Latin, it’s often pretty easy for us to figure out certain Portuguese words and phrases. For instance, take this sign… please! No, I kid, it’s a great sign. Anyway, we already know that “antes” means “before,” (poker teaches us that- an ante is put in before the hands are played) so we can then figure out that this sign is telling us that the TWL gig happened before all of this, because “gig-before,” means the gig happened before (remember, in Portuguese the adjectives come after the noun). So voila! See how easy this language stuff is? The fact that I’m not any closer to understanding almost any bit of anything is irrelevant… it’s the system, you see? We’ve got this stuff down pat! Down Pat! Down Pat! Crazy dog. Oh, and don’t ask me who TWL is. It stands for The Wacky Linguist for all I know. Of course, “gigantes” could have something to do with being really big, how should I know? I don’t even know Latin!
The police keep watch over the waves to make sure they don’t trespass on the crowds. Fun fact: since their coats say “policia” means that on the other side of those bodies are four female breasts, because in Portuguese the feminine ends with an “a,” and the masculine ends with an “o.” Ergo, if those had been men, then their coats would say “policio.” Unless they’re cross-dressing cops, but I’m not sure that’s allowed. Anyway, a coupla tough-looking broads there, let me tell ya.
It was a little misty due to all the waves, but I think mostly because there were lots of water droplets in the air. In the distance is the town of Nazaré, as seen from the base of the lighthouse tower thingee that juts into the midst of all those waves. Speaking of poker, is that a great face for poker or what?
This is the same view without the big galoot in the middle of it and after we vacuumed all the water droplets out of the air.
The geography that creates all these waves means that the whole process is a bit haphazard. Huge waves come crashing in from the side as the water barrels through an underwater canyon, oftentimes looking like God put an invisible blender in the water and accidentally left it plugged in while he tended to the mess on the planet Foogeroe. Those damn Foogeroans are always causing trouble.
It looked to me that the amount of time you’d actually spend successfully surfing one of the waves is maybe 10-20 seconds. Afterward, you may need to hold your breath for up to four minutes, all while your body is being tossed about like a Raggedy Ann doll in a clothes dryer. Except nothing is dry, including deep inside whatever orifices you have. Fun fact: enemas were invented at Nazaré.
In fact, sometime on or about the time we were there, a surfer wiped out very gnarilly (yeah shut up spell checker, I can make up words if I want) and ended up in the hospital. Fortunately, and amazingly, given the treacherous conditions, no surfer has died at Nazaré. Yet. (Unlike most of the other fun facts here that one is actually true, thank goodness.)
Okay, I know you want to see the waves. So without further ado, here follows a gallery of pictures of the waves we saw. Wave everyone!
So that should give you some idea as to what was going on in Nazaré. In the bottom-most picture above you can gauge the size of these smaller waves by noting the little black dots on the water- those are the jet skis that tow the surfers out and save their lives when they crash.
A pano shot of the area above it all.
But be careful of the unstable Cliffs!
In order to make videos appear on this site, I have to convert them to a gif. The other videos we had didn’t really work very well in that regard, so this is the best live action shot I can post. It’s actually not the part of the beach anyone surfs on, but even a small wave is a kind wave.
Yeah I wish I took this picture, but I didn’t. And we didn’t see anything like it. However, this photo does give me an appreciation for camera angles and photography skill, because even though the wave here is big, they don’t really loom over the lighthouse quite like the photos would have you believe. Still, they are the biggest waves on the planet, so there’s that.
This animal was standing around making an ass out of himself. They even had an ass-hat sitting on the ground with a sign asking for donations. Assk and you shall receive, I guess.
In the end (no pun intended), I suppose I might’ve been better off just posting this video. This is the day we were there. We didn’t quite see things like this really… guess next time I’ll ride in a drone! And become a better photographer!
And now back to our irregularly unscheduled program.