tudor mag

The TUDOR Nazaré Big Wave Challenge was Totally Tubular!

Watch fearless surfers conquer the biggest waves in the world with our full recap of the daring event.

After two long years, the Tudor Nazaré Big Wave Challenge came back in an absolutely glorious fashion with a day full of massive waves, TUDOR watches awarded to the winners, and of course, a few wipeouts. 

Nazaré was once a sleepy fishing town on the coast of Portugal like any other–but deep beneath the cyan surface it holds a unique feature that made it the focal point of the world's surfing community: Nazaré canyon. This deepwater canyon creates massive swells that build up energy offshore, and due to its unique undersea topography, all the energy of the waves is focused on a single point, Praia do Norte. This is where the biggest waves in the world have been recorded. 

And not only have the biggest waves been recorded there, they’ve been surfed there. While the massive swells have been a fixture of local surfing lore since the 1960s, it was only in the 2000s that it entered the world stage thanks to Garrett McNamara, a big wave surfer that popularized the spot when he surfed a 78-foot wave and set the record at the time for biggest wave ever surfed. McNamara has played an integral role in setting up the Tudor Nazaré Big Wave Challenge in the present era. 

On January 19th, the go-ahead was given by event officials, and competitors and fans had 72 hours to rush to Fort of São Miguel Arcanjo, the site of the competition. On January 22nd, the day of the event, McNamara carefully monitored the building swell and called the event on in the late morning. 

Nine teams of 2 surfers organized into three groups took to the water, where each group would surf two 40 minute heats. The big wave surfers compete for three prizes: Team Leaderboard, Men’s Leaderboard, and Women’s leaderboard. During the 40-minute window, one surfer tows the other using a jetski, and then they swap. TUDOR-sponsored local Nic Von Rupp paired up with Frenchman Clément Roseyro as a tow team. 

The moment of the day happened right at the end of the competition. With two enormous swells sending the crowd into a chaotic frenzy right before the horn blew and the judges convened to finalize the results. Although 50-foot waves had been forecasted, the swell never reached that figure, instead the competitors were treated to swells over 35 feet, still gigantic by anyone’s standards

Lucas Chianca caught the biggest wave of the day and scored a 7.83, earning him the top Men’s spot. He went on to earn the best Team Performance as well, alongside his partner Pedro Scooby. Additionally, Maya Gabeira took home the top spot in the Women’s category. TUDOR ambassador Nic Von Rupp slotted in 2nd place and rode the biggest wave of his heat.

And they didn’t just get the chance to lift up a Tudor Nazaré Big Wave Challenge Trophy. All three winners were presented with a TUDOR watch to mark their daring achievement. Congratulations to all the competitors!