Nazaré, 1968: Garrett McNamara was only one year old

The Portuguese town of Nazaré holds the record for the biggest wave ever surfed, but a few decades ago surfers were "aliens" in the small fishing village.

Colored longboards on the roof of a car. What are those "things"? In 1968, the picturesque seaside community of Nazaré was still living quiet days, under the dictatorship of Salazar.

Wave sports were almost as rare as a Coca Cola can. The American drink had been prohibited by the government, and the number of Portuguese surfing participants could be counted on two hands.

"We talked to this old fisherman. He lived here all of his life and knew the ocean and its many moods. He wasn't very encouraging, but to us it looked pretty good. There were waves breaking in one particular spot," the foreign surfers tell.

The group of three took on the waves that were pumping in the main beach, at Nazaré, south of the local promontory and of Praia do Norte, the spot where Garrett McNamara rode the historical 78-foot (23.8 meter) wave.

"Nazaré was like having the whole ocean all for yourself." It took four decades for a single wave to change the course of the town. The Nazaré Canyon would forever be more than just a geomorphologic undersea phenomenon.

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