Nazaré: the 2018/2019 season kicked off with 60-foot waves | Photo: Praia do Norte

Storm Beatriz arrived at the Portuguese shores bringing huge swells to the world's most famous underwater canyon.

Waves in the 60-foot range arrived at Praia do Norte in full swing attracted up-and-coming performers and veteran riders.

Russell Bierke is 21 years-old. Two years ago, he won the Red Bull Cape Fear in extremely dangerous conditions at Cape Solander, in Sydney.

Now, he feels ready to tame the planet's largest waves. But in Nazaré, you must be prepared to pay to play, and on his first experience in the Portuguese surf break, Bierke got a glimpse of what to expect.

The young Australian caught and rode a giant mountain, but was suddenly buried by an avalanche of whitewater that exploded behind him.

"I guess a huge Nazare beating is a good way to shake off the jet lag! It was by far my longest hold-down! I barely got a breath before the second wave landed on me," revealed Russell Bierke.

"I'm feeling pretty sore, and I felt like I could barely walk up the beach when I got there. Thank you Carlos Burle and Lucas Chumbo for the board tow and, most importantly, for the rescue!"

This was so far the biggest big wave riding session of the 2018/2019 winter season. But there's more to come. November is just the beginning.