Sebastian Steudtner: going left in Nazaré | Photo: Balau/WSL

The second big wave surfing session of the season didn't disappoint. It's still autumn in Nazaré, but the furious mountains of salted water have already hit the canyon at full throttle.

The world's best risk takers in the sport of surfing know what to expect in the small Portuguese fishing town. Nazaré has roughly 15,000 inhabitants but, when October comes, the spot is literally invaded by dozens of athletes, hundreds of media professionals, and thousands of tourists.

The 2015/2016 season couldn't have started better. After an initial warm-up test, the international crew had their first serious business meeting with the giants during the Halloween weekend. And it was pure, raw power.

Maya Gabeira was one of the first to score big. She finally put her fears to rest with a flawless 65-foot (20 meters) ride. "One wave at a time," she told. That is the right formula at Praia do Norte, especially with all the rips and currents that surround this lethal beach break.

Carlos Burle, Pedro Scooby, Rafael Tapia, Sergio Cosme, and Sebastian Steudtner have also caught their share of XXL waves. Portuguese charger João de Macedo still believes in the power of "human paddling," and he was rewarded with a magical ride.

João de Macedo: paddle power at Nazaré | Photo: Botelho/WSL

"So much joy and emotion. And loads of adrenaline, still! Thank you to everyone who believe in the ocean, in the beauty of the waves, and in pushing our own limits. Because life gives opportunities for us to get out of the comfort zone," wrote De Macedo.

Mistakes are not allowed in Nazaré. Andrew Cotton flew from the United Kingdom to get things done the right way. Last year, he almost paid the ultimate price in a dangerous four-wave hold down at Praia do Norte. But the present is not the past, and Cotton has already tasted a solid lefthander.

"It's always exciting at Nazaré! You might not believe it, but I made it around this section. Possibly my best wave I've ever had at Nazaré," wrote Andrew.

The party has barely started. What will Nazaré have to tell when spring comes? The alpine wave riders are on standby. Hold your breath, and stay tuned.