Billabong Adventure Division’s latest project to the Portugal’s big-wave spot of Nazaré has resulted in Shane Dorian, Eric Rebiere and Benjamin Sanchis surfing some of the biggest waves ever paddled into in Europe. On Friday 11th January, all three surfers caught some giant waves, with Dorian flying in from his home in Hawaii for the one day and further cementing his reputation as the premier big-wave surfer in the world.
“As far as intensity, power and size goes you could compare this wave to anywhere, whether it’s Cortez Bank, Jaws or Mavericks,” Dorian said afterwards. “The waves I saw today were absolutely enormous and if you had paddled into the biggest waves today, you would have paddled into the biggest wave ever paddled. I have no doubt about that.”
Over the last few years Nazaré has become recognized as one of the premier big wave locations in the world. It was here that Hawaiian Garret McNamara rode a wave in May 2012 that has been registered as the biggest wave ever surfed, measuring at 78 feet high.
McNamara used jetski assistance to catch the wave however, while Dorian, Sanchis and Rebiere elected to paddle the infamous wave, a beachbreak with no real channels or defined peak.
“It is so scary and so dangerous, but it has everything,” said Dorian. “It’s super intense, super technical, big, gnarly, spooky, you know all things we love about big wave surfing. And to surf it with Eric and Sancho, who are a classic guys and did so well out there, was really special. François Leits and the Billabong Adventure Division also made it all happen so I’m just super stoked to have been a part of it.”
“This is just the start for us,” said Rebiere. “That was the first time I had paddled Nazaré at that size. Both Sancho and I learned a lot from Shane, from his equipment to his whole approach. We are keen to keep paddling this wave and keep improving. The potential is huge.”
While Nazaré has come to the forefront of the big wave surfing over the last few years, its offshore deepwater canyon concentrating huge swells onto the break, this session was historic in terms of paddling. Dorian, Sanchis and Rebiere proved that one of Europe and the world’s best and most gnarly big wave spots can be approached with paddle power only.
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