A few visions of XXL Nazare dropped over a dodgy mobile internet connection by Tó Mané and José Pedro Gomes. It was a truly massive swell and here we have a brief wrap of our live(ish) coverage. Expect to see a lot more from this swell as the bones are picked over.
Word filtered out initially that the swell was bang on the forecast, meaning big and very dangerous crossed-up peaks shaking the spectator packed cliffs. Maximum heights from a buoy north of Nazare were reading 41ft out to sea, well before the local constructive interference which jacks up the size even more, so we are talking a size of... large.
Before this swell Andrew Cotton laughingly pointed that he expected this swell to be the biggest swell of the year – for the third time in a row. And big wave surfers are always seeking size, obviously, but claims of "biggest ever" well, they are like that boy who cried wolf, everyone stops listening.
When asked about how this swell fitted in his bookcase of Nazare swells, Cotty replied: "I'm just starting to understand how the canyon affects the swells from each direction combined with period etc. Today will go into the top five sessions for size, maybe even top three, but it's hard to know actually how big it is, there was a couple sets what were possibly the biggest mountains of water I've ever seen."
Interestingly in another round of Nazare red safety tape – and unique to here – surfers now have to operate in a rotating team of three: two skis to one surfer. "It is a good system" says Tom, knowing only too well the violence that the washing machine inside can dish up. Seeing as he's planning on paddling the more manageable swell tomorrow (Friday), he was happy to drive all day and will be owed a patient support crew.
Towing partner Ben Sancho, the duo went for a glorious top-to-bottom double-up on the inside. "Sancho almost got barrelled but we lost the board after the pick-up." Eric remembers "The craziest part of Nazare is the middle where it really can drown you and getting back into the lineup after that took a long time. It was windy when we returned and after another crazy aggressive double-up from Sancho, in which I thought he could die, because I lost him at the pick-up, finished our day."
If you can ID surfers, let us know... Magnifying glass anyone?