Praia do Norte, Nazaré: the Black Swell returns | Photo: Miguel A. Lopes

Garrett McNamara led the big wave surfing fleet the monstrous wave ramps of Praia do Norte, in Nazaré, as the second edition of the Black Swell hits Europe.

A total of 16 professional life-riskers entered the cold water of Nazare knowing that a super large ground swell (wave period of 21 seconds) would channel through the local underwater canyon and produce epic waves.

In mind, Andrew Cotton, Hugo Vau, Ross Clarke-Jones, Sebastian Steudtner, Tom Butler, António Silva, Benjamin Sanchis, Rodrigo Koxa, Sylvio Mancusi, Eric Rebiere, and McNamara had the mythic number floating in their brains: the 100-foot wave.

In the early hours, there were already hundreds of spectators lined up along the natural amphitheater. Police tried to block access to the lighthouse, but the decision would later be overcome by the huge crowd. Everybody wanted a photo with and over the giants.

The beast was awake; the swell had just landed, and waves were breaking everywhere, left and right. Television channels were broadcasting live, and big wave surfing fans kept pointing fingers towards the horizon. Praia do Norte is perhaps the most dangerous beach break in the world.

"I am very happy for having ridden that wave, but I'm even more happy for handling the next three. It was sinister, but I managed to endure it," says António Silva, who caught the biggest wave of the day.

"Definitely the scariest place to drive a ski. Got the biggest wave of my life, as well as the biggest wipeout," added Benjamin Sanchis. The North Canyon was fired up on this "Black Thursday." It was one of the best swells of the year.

Praia do Norte: the liquid beast | Photo: Nazare North Canyon

Praia do Norte: the most powerful beach break in the world  | Photo: Nazare North Canyon