Garrett McNamara: he loves the Portuguese waves

Garrett McNamara is returning to Portugal for another big wave challenge. The Hawaiian surfer will lead the ZON North Canyon Show 2011 exploration mission to find the biggest waves of the Portuguese coast.

"Last year I came to Nazaré without any expectations. Now I know the potential and I am looking forward to riding the biggest waves ever!!! Also to work with the Nazaré City Hall on the Aquatic Rescue Center and Environment Education Sea Center", said Garrett McNamara.

The three year exploration project will end with a big wave event, in 2012: The Xtreme Waterman Challenge. Only the best teams in the world will be invited. It's a serious commitment from the Nazaré City Hall to promote internationally the region as a prime destiny for surfing, showcasing the unique aspects of the "Nazaré Canyon".

The "Nazaré Canyon" is a rare geomorphology phenomenon, the biggest in Europe and one of the largest in the world, which can be explained as a gap on the continental plate with 170 kilometers of length and 5 kilometers of depth.

The "Nazaré Canyon" is located right in front of Praia do Norte, receives the swell from the Atlantic Ocean and creates waves with abnormal size, compared to the rest of the Portuguese coast.

Garrett McNamara is one of the most respected big wave riders in the world and was surprised and excited about the potential of Nazaré's waves, particularly at Praia do Norte. "They are probably the biggest waves in the world with this kind of bottom - Sand bar Beach Break", said McNamara.

The 2010 mission included the participation of other big wave riders like the Portuguese surfers José Gregório and Ruben Gonzalez, the English Andrew Cotton, the Irish Al Mennie and the French Peyo Lizarazu.

From last year's mission, a 52 minute documentary was made - "The North Canyon" - sponsored by ZON, that explores not only all the surfing, but also the scientific side of the "Nazaré Canyon" and the region's lifestyle, culture and traditions.