The Nazaré Conundrum

It's definitely extra extra something

DSC05183Photo: Joao Bracourt

It’s almost as if it exists in a different world.

A world that is always obscured by mist — both figuratively and literally — and where there’s always more to the picture (or youtube video) than meets the eye. A world where Garrett McNamara streaks down the faces of ?????-foot waves on a silver surfboard shaped by Mercedes Benz. A world called Nazaré.

Ever since the Portuguese monstrosity groaned its way into popularity, SURFING Magazine has had a hard time covering it. We haven’t published a photo of Nazaré in print. We haven’t done a web gallery on a swell there. We’ve never even Instagrammed it. As a matter of fact, we’ve basically ignored it — only dabbling when fake world records are made or Anderson Cooper is straddling Garrett McNamara on a JetSki or editor-at-large Taylor Paul thinks that he can explain the optical illusion created by the wave’s most popular photographic angle.

As the three cases presented via the links above demonstrate, sometimes we feel the need to say something about Nazaré. This is one of those times.

About two weeks ago, it went totally wow XXL again. The alleged best of the action? This clip:

I’m not going to say anything bad about Sebastian Steudtner here. I’ve heard he’s a great guy. He won the Biggest Wave Award on a Jaws bomb in 2010. I’m sure he works very hard at what he does and I’ll never take anything away from him. Besides this wave.

I will totally take this wave away from him. That wave fucking sucked. It didn’t fucking suck in the grand scheme of human life and how we decide to spend our time — in that sense, it was pretty cool and very impressive — but it fucking sucked for surfing. As a matter of fact, I don’t think you could call it surfing.

Especially not when you’ve got guys like João De Macedo out there doing this.

Not the biggest ever but surely big enough to congratulate @joaodemacedo7 for paddling that day. He got smashed, washed to the shore, went back out to paddle straight into another one. Hats off to you senhor.

Click here to see his João’s wave.

That is surfing. That is something that I will tip my cap to. Actually, João, if you need a hat you can just have the one I’m wearing. You deserve it. And as for Sebastian — like I said, it’s a great accomplishment and I’m happy for him. But I don’t think it’s surfing. I think it’s something else.

Something from a different world. —Brendan Buckley