Jamie Mitchell won the Nazaré Challenge, Big Wave Tour’s Stop Number 3. The inaugural Nazaré Challenge at Praia do Norte went down, Tuesday in 30-to-40-foot surf. The veteran surfer skillfully treaded through the tricky lineups, clearly showing no fear from the massive waves. His outstanding performance earned him his very first Big Wave Tour win.
Veteran Surfer Carlos Burlé of Brazil has posted as a big threat, but Mitchell used a trademark rail-grab off the bottom of a huge left to maintain control to secure his backup score. He got ejected at the end of the ride and was able to pop up just in time, narrowly avoiding a two-wave hold down.
Nazaré conditions made it even more difficult for the surfers where there’s almost no workable channels, distinct peaks, and manageable shoulders for a quick exit. The waves were brutal and violent and the temperatures were close to freezing. A moderate-to-solid, long-period Atlantic swell delivered massive waves with faces up to 30-to-40-feet, making way for a historic day of big-wave competition.
The Final had a mix of young and experienced surfers in the lineup. Pedro Calado, who’s just 20 years of age, but made it to every Final on the Big Wave Tour in 2016, was the youngest in the Final. Carlos Burlé, the 2009 Big Wave World Champion who’ll be turning 50 next year, was on the other end of the age range. Joao De Macedo, Jamie Mitchell, Antonio Silva and Nic Lamb, were in between the range.
A replay of the final heat:
Nic Lamb took the worst of the beatings from Nazaré. His wipeouts in the Final sent him back to shore to regroup. He was shaken, but he was determined to pursue the challenge. In the early exchanges of the Final, it has almost become a wipeout contest. Joao de Macedo got his board broken, then later toward the end of the Final, he was again hurled to the beach by a savage wave. Jamie Mitchell, on the contrast, took on the challenge as a measured risk-taker and maintained his composure and endurance throughout the contest.
The contest saw some unfortunate mishaps. Tom Butler of England, got tangled up on a nasty lip and he had to retire midway through his heat. Damien Hobgood didn’t even make it past the shorebreak to compete in his Semifinal heat, he lost his board off the ski on his ride out. It proved costly to try retrieving the board, the ski rolled and Hobgood got injured and couldn’t continue. Nic Lamb almost did not make it to the podium, due to a concussion he sustained from the brutal beating in the Final.
It was a tough battle for everyone in the contest, and the day ended with the most composed man in the field receiving the title at the podium. This was the first-ever Big Wave Tour event to run at Nazaré, and the very first win for Jamie Mitchell, and this made the event a momentous day of competitive Big Wave surfing history.