Top 5 things you should know about Nazaré
1. Nazaré is a very typical fisherman village located 140 km from Cascais, Portugal. It is said that first fishing was done in mid 1600, but only in the beginning of 1800 people decided to establish in the area.
If you have been to Portugal before, you might have noticed that most towns look very similar: white houses with brick roofs that seems to be designed by the same group of architects. Nazaré is not the exception but has a particular charm that makes it so special: big waves phenomenon!
2. What generates these waves? The answer involves several aspects. The existence of a canyon within a few km from the coast and with 5.000 metres depth contributes without any doubts, but it is also needed certain swell, current and wind conditions in order to make this big wave work perfectly.
Perfect conditions will include a long period swell coming from North/North-west and some East/North-east wind. The swell coming from the ocean will face the canyon (with a big difference in depth compared to the continental platform) and generate a ¨barrier¨ effect that will end in a bigger wave. Watercourses will lead the huge mass of water from north to south helping the generation of this great phenomenon to happen!
3. Am I able to see big waves in Nazaré all year round? Because the big waves existence will depend on the swell & wind conditions it is more likely to see them during winter. Portugal receives swells all year round but they are normally bigger during winter when lots of storms are generated in the middle/north of the Atlantic Ocean and arrive to the Portuguese cost with all the power. This does not mean the phenomenon cannot occur during spring/summer/autumn, in fact Nazaré receives thousands of tourist all year round who try to witness the show. But the probability of huger conditions increases between November/March.
4. Surfing in Nazaré does not discriminate gender or nationality. Pro athletes from all over the world (including men and women) come during the big wave season to train their abilities and face all the fear that surfing these kinds of waves can generate.
They are super well trained and prepared, not only physically but also mentally, A LAST-MINUTE REGRET CAN BE DEADLY! Holding the breath, increasing the amount of air the lungs can contain, control nervousness, are aspect that can be trained with activities like yoga, pilates, meditation, etc. It is essential surfers do not panic with wipe-outs, learn how to fall from a big wave and do not fight against white-water in order not to lose more oxygen and energy.
Furthermore, during competitions, all big riders are provided with safety equipment as inflatable vests that will bring them to the surface in a super-fast way. There are also rescue teams with jet-ski to guarantee safety conditions, remember in Nazaré you do not only need to worry about the big amount of mass water falling but also the rocks that surround the area.
5. Did you know that waves can be higher than 20 metres high? Incredible right? In addition, Nazaré has an official Guinness Word Record for the ¨Largest Wave Surfed¨ which measured 24.38 metres. Who was the crazy surfer? Rodrigo Koxa – Brazilian professional big rider.
Would you ever think about giving it a try? Maybe just from the outside, like us :)