Praia do Norte, Nazaré: Portugal's best big wave surf break | Photo: Praia do Norte

The first ever Nazaré Challenge gets underway December 20, at Praia do Norte, in Portugal.

The third event of the 2016 Big Wave Tour is expecting a giant Atlantic swell capable of producing waves in the 30-to-50-foot range.

However, the organizers underline that the competition might only run December 21 or 22, depending on swell evolution, and wind speed and direction.

"We have been closely tracking the WNW North Atlantic swell and see that everything should align for a Tuesday start. We are all eager to see how the world’s best big wave surfers push the boundaries with the debut of this event," notes Peter Mel, the BWT commissioner.

There are four Portuguese surfers lined up for the Nazaré Challenge 2016. Alex Botelho, Hugo Vau, Joao de Macedo, and António Silva are experienced big wave riders who know well the mechanics of Nazaré's Praia do Norte.

The Nazaré Challenge is the first ever event run by World Surf League (WSL) in the Portuguese fishing town. Praia do Norte holds the Guinness World Record for the largest wave surfed (78 feet) set by Garrett McNamara on November 1, 2011.

Nazaré Challenge 2016 | Round 1

Heat 1
Greg Long (USA)
Damien Hobgood (USA)
Gabriel Villaran (PER)
Aaron Gold (HAW)
Kealii Mamala (HAW)
Joao de Macedo (PRT)

Heat 2
Nic Lamb (USA)
Grant Baker (CHL)
Koa Rothman (HAW)
Pedro Calado (BRA)
Alex Botelho (PRT)
Andrew Cotton (GBR)

Heat 3
Billy Kemper (HAW)
Cristian Merello (CHL)
Trevor Carlson (HAW)
Kai Lenny (HAW)
Kohl Christensen (HAW)
Antonio Silva (PRT)

Heat 4
Carlos Burle (BRA)
Ramon Navarro (CHL)
Jamie Mitchell (AUS)
Will Skudin (USA)
Hugo Vau (PRT)
Tom Butler (GBR)