Surfers Find Record Waves After Freak Euro SuperStorm
October 30, 2013
Climate change is gonna be, like, gnarly, dude.
While many Europeans were battening down the hatches and heading indoors until the storm known as Saint Jude had passed, a group of surfers in Portugal made their way out into the ocean to catch what may be some of the biggest waves ever ridden.
But it was also a day of high drama as a legendary Brazilian surfer nearly died, only to be rescued by a friend, who then went on to ride one of the biggest waves ever seen – possibly even topping the mythical 100 feet.
The coastline of Praia do Norte, near the fishing village of Nazaré, is known as a surfing paradise, but during the swell whipped up by Monday’s storm it seems the British surfer Andrew Cotton and the Brazilian Carlos Burle surfed waves that may yet break the all-time record, which currently stands at 78ft (23.8m).
The pictures and video emerging from Monday show that surfing is not all about golden Hawaiian sand. The astonishing waves in Portugal rose up from a storm-tossed sea driven in from the Atlantic, as crowds watched wrapped up against the rain.
Saint Jude killed at least 11 people across Europe and the waves were so dangerous in Portugal on Monday that Brazilian star Maya Gabeira was nearly drowned. She was being knocked unconscious and broke her ankle but was rescued by her compatriot Burle.
The New York Times described why Nazare is blessed with such a rare crop of towering waves:
“There are big wave spots far from land, like Cortes Bank 100 miles west of San Diego, Calif. But there are very few in coastal areas, because the gently sloping continental shelf normally flattens out the giants, gradually sapping their strength before they can reach land. But this small part of the Portuguese coast sits at the end of a giant funnel called the “canyon of Nazaré,” 130 miles long and 16,000 feet deep (at its deepest), that points like an arrow toward the town.”
“It is like an earthquake,” a Nazare city hall administrator told the paper, describing the experience from shore. “When it breaks, you can feel the earth shaking under your feet.”