Where is the biggest wave in the world? Could you answer this question? Surely Hawaii or Teahupo'o comes to mind. If you were thinking of one of these two, you are wrong. We have the biggest wave in the world much closer than you think. It is in Portugal, specifically in the municipality of Nazaré. Nazaré is a town made up of 10,100 inhabitants, bathed by the Atlantic Ocean.We tell you everything!
NAZARÉ: MANDATORY DESTINATION
Nazaré is a coastal town with a mild climate, with a long fishing tradition. This town is known worldwide for its beach, Praia do Norte, which stretches from Cabo de Sitio to the fishing port. Historically, Nazaré lived from the business of fishing, but little by little this has been replaced by tourism, although it still retains that inherited character. Many of the old fishermen's houses are now modern hotels, but many inhabitants still wear traditional fishing clothing. Through the streets you can still breathe that fishing heritage, with fishmongers that are still intact, in the afternoons you see fishermen coming to the coast with fish nets...
Nazaré is a place that every summer attracts many tourists from all over the world who want to enjoy their vacations. No wonder, Nazaré has it all: excellent gastronomy, nature, atmosphere, fun... From elegant restaurants where you can eat good fish and seafood, beach bars and bars to have a drink in the late afternoon, parties, excursions... But no We are going to deceive ourselves, the main attraction of Nazaré for tourists is its famous wave, in the Praia do Norte. Although it welcomes tourists of all ages and with different interests, most of those who travel to Nazaré do so in order to witness that colossal wave. And it is not for less, the wave of Nazaré surpasses all, it is the largest wave in the world, breaking its own record every year. In winter many surfers come to this beach to ride this giant wave. You have to have guts, have an excellent physical shape.be a little crazy, really. Could you tell why such a wild wave is formed?
WHY IS THIS WAVE FORMED?
This is a good question, since something curious happens on this beach as well. You can go one day and freak out with an immeasurable wave, like finding the sea with not very big waves. We are going to reveal the secret of this wave, so that if you decide to go, you will know when the most incredible wave is going to be born.
In Nazaré there is an underwater canyon, the Nazaré Canyon. More than 5000m deep and covering about 230 km, it is the largest sea gorge in all of Europe. The storms of the Atlantic produce very large waves that, when they touch the continental platform (surface of the seabed), that is, as they get closer to the coast, their size, strength and speed are reduced. What happens in Nazaré? There are 3 factors that produce this wave. The first: the canyon, being so deep makes the waves reach the coast with the same measurements, without being reduced in the least. Second: in front of the lighthouse there is a return current that makes the wave grow even bigger. Finally, as if that were not enough, a backwave is formed that leaves the beach in the direction of the sea, this joins the wave that was already coming and gives rise to a peak that doubles the initial size of the wave. wave. The result? An immense mountain of water.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME?
Huge waves form in Nazaré throughout the year. However, if you want to leave with more impressive views, the time to go is between November and February, which is the big wave season. Do you want to know which is the best place from which to appreciate the waves? The Nazaré lighthouse is an ideal place to see that mountain, for something it is always so crowded. However, there is another site from which you will enjoy privileged views. It is a viewpoint, specifically the Mirador do Suberco. It can be accessed by car, although a funicular is also available, which works every day displacing a number of tourists.
HOW LARGE WAS THE BIGGEST WAVE?
In Nazaré we are not surprised to see waves of 24 or 25 meters high. However, on days with a lot of sea, waves of 30 meters have been formed. This size is an eyesore, it is somewhat equivalent to an 8-story building. But in 2018, the record for the biggest wave ever surfed was broken. Angus McDarrell, surfer Australian, only 22 years old, rode a sea wall of 42.6 meters, measured by the WSL (World Surf League) the wave largest in the history of surfing. Until then the record had been written by the big wave surfers Rodrigo Koxa and Garret McNamara with waves of 30 meters.
HOW TO SURF THIS WAVE?
Riding big waves is not something for every surfer. You will have to wait a long time before daring to bathe in such a sea. Surfing this wave is possible only for a privileged few. You have to be in almost unattainable physical conditions, and mentally it requires a very high preparation. It is an extremely dangerous wave, you cannot make a single mistake. You have to know how to control your fears in the best way, if not: don't even think about it. A previous study of the wave is necessary, knowing perfectly how this wave is formed, the times, all its details, in order to survive in the event of a fall. Something vital to surf this wave is breathing. You will have to train your breathing, because if something goes wrong, you may have to hold your breath for up to 4 minutes. Important: in case of wipeout or fall, it is best to curl up in a ball, count slowly, keeping calm…
To surf such a big wave you need the help of a jet ski. There are expert water pilots who are in charge of leaving the surfer at the key point to lower the wave. But they carry out another task that is much more risky: rescuing the surfers. If a bigwaver falls off the board, the pilot has to reach it, haul it up with a special rescue sled, and escape the next wave. And all that in 10 seconds! And there can be an even worse situation: that the surfer cannot get to the surface. There he will have to decide between going back and running away from the next wave or risking it and waiting to catch up with it. For this profession it is just as necessary to keep a cool head as it is for surfers themselves.
BEYOND THE BIG WAVES
If you want to surf medium-sized waves and you have brought a car, we suggest a different plan. About 40 min away is the Peniche area, famous for its excellent conditions for surfing. In Peniche there are wonderful beaches for surfing. If you dare to come, these are the beaches that yes or yes you have to go:
- SUPERTUBOS BEACH
It is the best-known beach in Peniche. Its main attraction is the tube waves, as the name suggests. It is a temple of surfing, but we recommend it for experienced surfers, since they are not easy waves to surf. Every October it hosts the MEO RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL, one of the most important surfing championships worldwide.
- CONSOLAÇAO BEACH
Although Supertubos takes center stage, Consolaçao beach is perfect for enjoying a swim. This sport is somewhat more demanding for surfing, since the bottom is made of reef plates and there are usually quite large waves. If you like rights, this is your beach.
- PORT BATEL BEACH
Porto Batel is ideal for beginners. Waves come from both left and right and it is quite sheltered, which is perfect when there is a lot of sea.
- MOLHO LESTE BEACH
This spot is located between Peniche and Supertubos. You can not always surf here, only when there is enough sea. In times of high seas, it is the favorite beach for many surfers, due to the long waves with tubes that are formed.
Now that you know why Nazaré is the biggest wave in the world, come and discover it. Nazaré has many things to see. Pack your suitcase, you will fall in love with this villa and its sea.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
- WHAT IS THE BIGGEST WAVE IN THE WORLD?
The waves of Nazaré in Portugal have broken the world record several times, surpassing the wave of Mavericks in California, Jaws in Hawaii.
- WHEN IS THE NAZAREH WAVE?
In Nazaré there are huge waves throughout the year. However, the giant wave season takes place between November and February.
- HOW ARE THE WAVES OF NAZARÉ?
In low season and with little sea there are usually 7 meter waves. In times of sea they rub between 24 and 30m . The biggest wave recorded in Nazaré was 42.6m in 2018.
- WHERE TO SEE THE WAVES OF NAZARÉ?
From the Nazaré lighthouse you will have magnificent views. However, we recommend that you go up to the Suberco viewpoint. It is much clearer and seeing the waves so close will impress you more.
- WHAT TO SEE IN NAZARÉ IN ONE DAY?
Nazaré, in addition to having its great wave, has many other attractions. You can take a walk to the cape of O Sitio, there you will be entranced by its sunsets. Stroll through the town, soak up its charm, visit the fishing port, enter the old fishmongers, make a reservation at one of its seafood restaurants... You have to go to the Suberco viewpoint, take the funicular…
- WHO SURFED THE BIGGEST WAVE IN NAZARÉ?
The biggest wave formed in 2018 and was surfed by Angus McDarrell, a 22-year-old Australian surfer. The wave was 42.6 meters , which was crazy. It was the biggest wave ever recorded in surfing history.