Each winter outright insane big wave surfers flock to the cliffsides of Nazaré, Portugal, to try their hand at the world’s biggest waves. But you might be wondering, as were we, why Nazaré?
Essentially, the coastal town boasts a deep canyon off the south-western side of its point cliff that funnels huge volumes of water and energy from the ocean floor rapidly to the surface. Combined with the correct North/North-Westerly swell meeting it at the cliff’s point, the waves can rise to monstrous heights that are then attempted by big wave surfers from around the world every year.
The current world record for the biggest wave ever surfed is held by Rodrigo Koxa, who toppled Garrett McNamara’s 2011 record with a 24.38 metre monster at Nazaré in April of 2018.
Watch this short infographic below that further explains the hydro-physics at play in Nazaré.