Nazare Wipeout Reel: “Jesus Lord Above, what the…hell?”

Three weeks of Portuguese choke-holds… 

Once, and not so long ago, Nazaré was famous as home base for the monstrous European tow-kook. Do you remember those early clips?

Brave crabs and courageous stink bugs zipping down fifty-foot burgers that didn’t break?

Of course, once fifty-foot turned into seventy-five and then a few lizards started paddling the joint, the game changed.

Shane Dorian visited a few years ago and described it as a graveyard for jetskis and said he was happy to ride two waves and get the hell out of there.

The skimboarder Brad Domke, who’s taken his finless Exile sled to Jaws and to Puerto Escondido, told me, “Its an ancient beast. It’s like there’s a monster in the water making the water move really strangely and scary. I don’t know why. You look at photos with these barreling waves and you’re, like, when our turn came on the wave it wouldn’t make sense. It feels so mutant and big.”

This three-minute reel is a joy to watch for it appears that every damn surfer is going straight to hell, in some form.

And those paddle takeoffs? Outrageous.

“Have you ever jumped off a 4 story tall building and landed face first in to a swimming pool?” says the filmmaker. “Well just a little bit what its like to wipeout here in Nazare. These are just the wipeout clips that I’ve filmed here in Nazare in the past three weeks!”

Watch Stephanie Gilmore lance Jeffrey’s Bay in “I feel I’ve hooked a train!”

Savage and beautiful. Like a car with most of the money spent on chrome.

This five-minute short of Stephanie Gilmore surfing Jeffrey’s Bay will seize you by the lapels of your robe and then jerk down your Superman pyjamas.

If I’m going to strike an honest tone, there’s no other surfer I care to watch these days, save for Filipe Toledo.

This little movie was shot by Stephanie’s long-time collaborator friend Morgan Maassen (he with the unblinking, wounded innocence) and organises the action to a plucky track called Captain of None by the French composer Cécile Schot.

Watch: (More) Assassin Whales Stalk Happy Families!

Who is the bigger son of a bitch? The Great White or the dang whale?

Earlier today, a gal pal showed me a wonderful video that has gone viral, I believe the expression is.

In the three-minute short, we see a man’s wife and family so dang terrified on their “boating adventure” she calls 911 to report that”three grey whales are underneath our boat.”

The daddy, who is the boat’s skipper, is thrilled.

“Look at this! He’s rolling! This is amazing guys! You’ll never get to see this again!”

His weeping family beg, “Let’s get out of here…you better turn the motor on…drive away Dad! Faster please! Drive away faster!”

To his little boy, the daddy says, “The worst thing that can happen is we go for a swim, dude.”

And so on.

It’s easy to laugh at the mammy who finds solace in lighting up an emergency call centre on land, but a little search finds no end of cantankerous whales.

Like here.

And who can forget the brave little children here?

Do you ever contemplate being eaten alive while you surf? Either by shark, whale or whatever else lurks in the depths, maybe a stingray barb through the heart?

Does it worry you? Does it occupy the majority of your thoughts when the sun goes down just a little or is yet to creep over the horizon? When a school of baitfish turns the water black?

Or are you an evolved human being who believes dying doing what you love would be the… etc… etc?

Watch Jaws-slayer Flick Palmateer in “Big gals don’t cry!”

She rides on the back of dinosaurs!

Four weeks or so ago, I was at the wedding of Vaughan Blakey, the noted Swellian, goon squad front-man and former editor of Surfing World magazine. To avoid drunken guests bouncing on their seats and playing with each others’ ding-dongs at the wedding, no drinks were served prior to the service.

This was a sound idea although three-thirty on a sunny Friday afternoon is, to me, an excellent time to disappear down a bottle, ideally combined with a face grinding against my pubic thicket.

Problem one, although not problem two, was solved when I bumped into the Western Australian big-wave surfer Felicity “Flick” Palmateer who owned, along with her boyfriend, four litres of well-hidden Ciroc vodka. Her kindness put me in her debt forever, I think.

This two-and-a-bit minute short is called Facing Fear, which Felicity is prone to do. Where big waves make my mouth so dry swallowing feels like I’m digesting a rat, Felicity punishes them for trying to hurt her.

This is the accompanying spiel.

“In 2016, I was omitted from the original invite list for the first-ever Big Wave Women’s Invitational at Jaws and I was devastated. Then, within days of the event running, I was awarded an alternate position and suddenly I was on plane to Hawaii and paddling out in the biggest surf I had ever seen. I was already scared shitless to say the least, plus my left knee was still far from 100%, after tearing the medial ligament earlier in the year.

“In 2017, better news. I was a definite starter but then weeks out from the call, surfing head-high waves on the Gold Coast – snap! I did a layback and it sounded like a carrot popping inside my right knee. Injured again. Tears walking up the beach, tears in the car and more tears on the way to the physio.

“Preparation really is the key to success, especially when it comes to life threatening conditions and convincing myself I could surf Jaws even though I was in pain walking, took some help!

“Of course, you can always wish for different circumstances. It’d be nice to have been 100% and I could wish I performed better at Jaws, but given the circumstances, I’m proud knowing how much I learned during those periods.

“I know by facing some of my own fears, I’ve become inspired to try harder. Fear is opportunity! Opportunity for growth. I hope I can inspire others to face their own fears and overcome the obstacles they might be facing in their lives. It can be a long road!”

Eli Hanneman in “I want to burst into flames and be transformed into an angel or explosion!”

Hoo-ee, Maui teen Eli Hanneman is something else ain't he? 

Is adolescence the only time we learn anything? The only rung of life, before the heat of adulthood, when our brains are clear, our limbs supple, our bones strong?

Eli Hanneman, who turned sixteen two weeks ago, is, I would suggest, the template for the next generation of surfer kids.

Julian and Jordy are about to disappear into their thirties.

Dane, gone.

John John? Twenty six.

Kelly? Shadowing fifty.

It’s instructive to see Eli as the template because, in three years or thereabouts, he’ll be the face of the tour. In this four-minute short, Eli is multi-textured, his surfboard ricocheting off lips like a pinball. 

Eli’s backside approach to the tube is contemplative and smart, cosmically in tune you might say.

The short is called 15, for obvious reasons.