Nazaré's Praia do Norte has kicked off its 2016/2017 big wave surfing season with the first XXL showdown.
Winter is coming, but the giant killers came sooner, in the middle of Autumn. And those who have already visited Nazaré on a special day know how big it gets.
With the right wind speed and direction, and a solid Atlantic swell, the local canyon wakes up, and the big wave riders paddle out for what could be the most important day of their careers.
One of the first surfers to ride a bomb at Nazaré was Sebastian Steudtner. The surfer from Germany is on a mission to catch the biggest wave of all time. If Praia do Norte delivers, Steudtner will be there to break the Guinness World Record.
The iconic beach break attracted thousands of spectators, and there were more athletes trying their luck in the water, on this 24th October 2016. Hugo Vau, Alex Botelho, Lucas Chumbinho, Coco Nogales, and Jamie Mitchell were there to score, too.
"I love Portugal. The people are amazing, the food's amazing, and obviously it has one of the craziest waves in the world. It's been a really amazing trip," notes Mitchell.
You need to learn with Nazaré. You must try it, analyze it, and come back with your lesson learned. Garrett McNamara, the man who introduced Praia do Norte to the world still remembers the day he got a very special email.
"The first time I heard about Nazaré wave was in 2010. I got an email from Dino, a local bodyboarder. He dreamed of somebody riding the waves, knowing how big they were," explains McNamara.
"He wrote 'Hey Garrett, maybe you can come and ride my wave and if it's good, can you help me put a contest on?' That was it. But it took me five years to get here."
Garrett McNamara is the organizer behind the Mercedes-AMG Red Chargers, an event for surfers by surfers that honors the athletes who push limits to follow their dreams.
Praia do Norte will be extremely busy for the 2016/2017 winter season. The Nazaré Challenge will bring the world's best big wave surfers to town, as the Big Wave Tour makes its debut in Portuguese waters.
If you plan a visit to Nazaré, don't forget to visit the Surfer Wall, a special room in the Fort of São Miguel Arcanjo decorated with boards used by famous big wave surfers in the death-defying break.