Catching a Wave

We live near Nazare, Portugal 🇵🇹. As a country, Portugal is unassuming. But the beauty here is unexpectedly diverse and surprisingly dramatic. And the small town of Nazare is sleepy in the off-season but comes with its own special distinction. From September/October – February, Nazare has the largest waves in the world. And the world’s big wave surfers know it.

Most people think of surfing the North Shore in Hawaii, or Mavericks near Santa Cruz in Northern California. There is Brazil and South Africa. But no. The biggest are here. Big wave surfer, Garret McNamara was the one who put Nazare on the map in 2011 when he surfed a 78 ft wave that was formed by the Nazare Canyon deep in the ocean off the the coast. You can watch a video of big wave surfing at Nazare here. Jeff has been fascinated with big wave surfing for a long time and we knew we would come to Nazare while we lived in Spain to see it for ourselves. We didn’t know we would live here.

Looking back at the sunrise

It was very stormy on Wednesday night and all day Thursday. So the waves were crashing and the ocean was boiling. Usually, we can lay in bed and hear the distant surf through two sets of windows. No kidding. There are wooden small pane windows that swing in and sliders on the outside. But the sounds got louder and louder. We were up in the middle of the night at 2:30 Friday morning in the upper sunroom watching it. And then we went down on the terrace as the sun rose to watch the waves. Its beautiful and scary at the same time. You can see the silver water is why they call this the Costa de Prata or Silver Coast.

The view from the lower terrace

Jeff checked the Nazare wave report and 10am conditions were supposed to be the biggest of the day. So we hopped in the car and went to the lighthouse to see them.

No, they aren’t the epic waves we will soon see in a couple of months. Just 3-5 meters now. Not 30 meters. But the power of the ocean 🌊 was on full display. And we weren’t alone. Even with no tourists here people from the town were walking down to have a look too.

From the lighthouse at Fort of Sao Miguel Arcanjo

Surfers from around the world will soon converge on the area to wait for perfect conditions. Jeff will be watching the tide charts and wave reports. As the season kicks off, soon I know we will spend a fair amount down at the lighthouse watching. Stay tuned for more photos and videos from the cliffs of Nazare.

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