Ian Vaz rides 20-foot mutant wave at Avalanche

July 26, 2019 | Surfing
Avalanche: one of the heaviest waves in Brazil

Ian Vaz may have ridden the largest and simultaneously heaviest wave ever in Brazil.

The athlete from Rio de Janeiro caught a 20-foot mutant at Avalanche, a surf spot that breaks about three kilometers off the coast of Vila Velha, in the state of Espírito Santo.

This freak of nature only comes to life a few times a year, especially when mighty South Atlantic Ocean swells hit this part of the coastline.

Avalanche clearly lives up to its name. It resembles Australia's The Right, but also Tahiti's Teahupoo, and Tasmania's Shipstern Bluff.

Vaz was one of the surfers who enjoyed the rare golden opportunities on that crazy Sunday morning. But he also suffered at the hands of this fast and volatile mountain of water.

"The tide was already extremely low, and the swell was reaching its peak. I was still afraid of the wipeout I had suffered the day before," explains Ian Vaz.

A Sinister Wave

Bernardo Nassar, Breno Kuster, Caio Vaz, Henrique Tristão, Lucas Medeiros, and Rodrigo Cardoso were some of the wave riders that surfed Avalanche on that day.

"I asked Caio to tow me into a wave, but not a sinister one. Now, I realize we may have made a mistake. But what a moment, what a wave!"

The Brazilian big wave surfer confessed he was afraid of Avalanche.

There were two-wave hold-downs and broken boards, but no one got seriously hurt, and the session was hailed a resounding success.

"The name of the wave says it all. I still can't believe it happened. Suddenly, you see that the biggest wave of your life still holds a tube inside," concludes Vaz.

Avalanche may not have yet produced the biggest wave ever seen in Brazil. For many surfers, Laje de Jaguaruna, in Santa Catarina, still holds that title.

But it is certainly one of the new hidden gems this South American country has to offer.

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