- 20 December 2016 | Surfing
Jamie Mitchell has won the inaugural Nazaré Challenge, at Praia do Norte, in Portugal.
The Australian big wave surfer was the standout athlete of the whole event run in six hours at the iconic spot of Praia do Norte.
There were big drops, massive wipeouts, two-wave hold-downs, monster peaks, awkward currents, and die-hard fans screaming from the cliff with the lighthouse as a backdrop.
Nazaré is a freak of Nature. It probably is the world's craziest big wave beach break. Mitchell was able to adapt to the shifting conditions and won all his heats - Round 1, semifinal, and final.
"Thank you for coming out and supporting big wave surfing in Nazaré, and Portugal. Garrett invited me to come over a few years ago, and when I came for the first time I instantly fell in love with this place and the people," said Mitchell.
"It's so amazing to see what Walter, the mayor, Garrett and Nicole, did for surfing here. It's amazing. Today was next level. It was survival, it was just heavy. I've seen Nic Lamb and these guys take horrendous wipeouts. It was gnarly. I'm stoked. I want to dedicate this to my wife, and my young little daughter."
But the Portuguese surfers also delivered surprising performances. Joao de Macedo and António Silva reached the final and proved they can compete on equal terms with the world's best.
The Nazaré Challenge 2016 got the silver coefficient, which meant waves were breaking in the 35-to-45-foot range.
Nazaré Challenge 2016 | Final
1. Jamie Mitchell (AUS), 23.94
2. Carlos Burle (BRA), 13.00
3. Joao de Macedo (POR), 10.84
4. Pedro Calado (POR), 9,34
5. Nic Lamb (USA), 3.00
6. António Silva (POR), 0.20