And the jaws were left on the floor!
What a 24 hours of professional surfing! Pipeline wowed up until the final few heats wherein announcer Ron Blakey said it “fizzed.” Still. A new Pipeline Master was gifted the world and he looked the part, strong and bronze.
Zeke Lau jumped onto next year’s main card and Kanoa Igarashi showed that he will someday win it all.
Across the Pacific, continental USA, Atlantic Nazare picked up the juice that the North Shore left behind and ooolala! Can you imagine paddling out in those waves? I cannot but I can imagine Jamie Mitchell doing it! Remember when I spent some minutes on a boat with him in Tahiti? He changed my mind about SUPs! That’s how impressive he is.
And Jamie did it so well that he smashed the entire field! Beat everyone to a pulp!
Let’s examine the press release:
Today’s Final opened with an exciting first exchange between tour veteran Carlos Burle (BRA) and newcomer Pedro Calado (BRA), Burle taking the nod and an early lead with a clean lefthander on his backhand and a 6.50.
Nic Lamb (USA) followed in dramatic fashion with two of the most horrific wipeouts seen all all season. Local wildcard Joao De Macedo (PRT) struggled as well, air-dropping unsuccessfully into a monstrous set wave.
Halfway through the Final, Jamie Mitchell (AUS) committed to an incredibly late drop on a lefthander, grabbing the rail of his board to engage into a bottom turn before being eaten by the mountain of white water behind him. Mitchell later surfaced with his equipment and was rewarded an excellent 8.67 for his effort, stealing the lead from Burle. The Australian quickly put a second score on the board to cement his lead and hold throughout the remainder of the Final.
The Australian walked away with his maiden Big Wave Tour victory at the Nazaré Challenge, a result earning 12,500 ranking points and rocketing him from 13th to 5th on the tour rankings.
“I got into a good rhythm at other events but lost it at some point, but this one I managed to keep it and it feels amazing,” he continued. “I’m going to be here until Friday and it looks like there will be more giant waves coming, so I might just take a day to recover from today and try my luck again out there.”
Long-time competitor and 2009 Big Wave Tour Champion Carlos Burle (BRA) placed Runner-Up in this inaugural Nazare Challenge, courtesy of his early efforts in the final this afternoon. Burle managed to fence off numerous assaults from the new guard on his way to the final and will flew the Brazilian flag high in Portugal.
“I’m super proud of my body, it was a tough event all-around in this cold weather, dropping huge waves and getting pounded all-day long,” an emotional Burle said. “I made the final and came close to winning, against the best guys in the world. This is my last season as a competitor but I will keep this great memory and hopefully leave a legacy for the next generation, and I hope they will do their best like I did every day of my life. Nazare is an amazing wave and it was just a matter of time before people recognized that. I’m super happy to have been part of this event as I feel there will be much more to come.”
Making waves among the big wave community were local wildcards today, with Portugal’s Joao De Macedo and Antonio Silva reaching the final in Nazare. De Macedo was the giant killer of this event, eliminating reigning Big Wave Tour Champion Greg Long (USA) in the first round, as well as current BWT leader Grant Baker (ZAF) and Aaron Gold (HAW) in the semis. De Macedo’s amazing run culminated with a third place in the final.
“It feels amazing, just the camaraderie in the water and the way all of us were really pushing our limits today,” De Macedo explained. “The amount of preparation that goes into paddling and surfing this size out there is huge, I’ve been training for months and it feels great. I hope everyone’s really stoked about this event and that we keep coming back, the performance levels were really inspiring. Those were some of the biggest waves that have been paddled into here I think, and to do a contest in those conditions is great. The water patrol guys are so great, they make us feel so confident and allow us push ourselves further.”
Recent winner of the Pe’ahi Challenge, Billy Kemper (HAW) suffered a shock elimination in the opening round of competition, narrowly defeated by local wildcard Silva in a tight battle for third place alongside Kai Lenny (HAW).
Watch the semis here!
And the final here!
Nazaré Challenge 2016 |
1. Jamie Mitchell (AUS), 23.94
2. Carlos Burle (BRA), 13.00
3. Joao de Macedo (POR), 10.84
4. Pedro Calado (POR), 9,34
5. Nic Lamb (USA), 3.00
6. António Silva (POR), 0.20