Surfing is popular on Portugal’s rougher west coast, but until now I’d never thought of it as a place where records are set. Nevertheless, Hawaiian surfer Garrett McNamara has the international surfer community buzzing with the news that he successfully surfed an estimated 90-foot wave (27.5 meters) off the Praia do Norte, near Nazaré. This smashes the previous record by 13 feet (4 meters).
In an interview with Surfer Today, McNamara’s companion Al Mennie said:
“Everything was perfect, the weather, the waves. Cotty and I surfed two big waves of about 60 feet and then, when Garrett was ready came a canyon wave of over 90 feet. The jet ski was the best place to see him riding the biggest wave I’ve ever seen. It was amazing. Most people would be scared, but Garrett was controlling everything in the critical part of the wave. It was an inspiring ride by an inspiring surfer.”
The “canyon wave” is a feature of this area, which produces massive waves due to the deep Nazaré Canyon running right up to the beach. Because the water remains so deep so close to shore, the incoming swells lose almost no speed or power until they suddenly rise up to break. McNamara calls them “probably the biggest waves of the world for a beach break.”
I had no idea! — but Nazaré just landed on my Places to Go list.