Lucas Chianca: the new big wave king of Nazaré | Photo: WSL

Lucas Chianca has taken out the 2022 Nazaré Tow Surfing Challenge at Praia do Norte, Portugal.

The infamous big wave beach break provided 40-to-50-foot walls of water as thousands of spectators watched the showdown from the local cliffs and lighthouse.

Nazaré has become synonymous with the world's biggest waves as a series of Atlantic hurricanes push massive swells to the shores of Western Europe for what Von Rupp calls "the biggest show on Earth."

A 130-mile-long underwater canyon (16,000 feet or 5,000 meters at its deepest) funnels swell into a headboard half a mile offshore, which produces some of the largest, most intense waves on the planet.

Nine teams of two were divided into three groups with six 60-minute heats and each group surfing in two heats, with each team alternating between surfing and driving the team's jet ski.

A surfer's best two waves after both heats counted to their individual total score, with waves scored from 1-10 points (maximum of 30 points), while a surfer's best wave counted double.

Towed by Portuguese rising star Nic von Rupp, Chianca stole the show by winning once again the men's best performance and the best team performance titles.

The Brazilian's scored his best wave - 8.33 points - for a high-speed ride punctuated by a critical turn in the lip and a flawless exit in front of the crumbling whitewater.

In his second heat, Lucas "Chumbo" Chianca even launched into a spectacular alley-oop. In the end, he praised his partner's skills.

"I didn't have to say anything - he chose the waves for me. I guess we are always looking for the same waves, and we have a special connection, so we are the perfect match," revealed the newly crowned champion.

Von Rupp was also thrilled with the outcome.

"I've always looked up to Lucas as he is always pushing our limits. He has a lot of energy, he's kind and an amazing surfer," added the Portuguese big wave rider.

Maya Gabeira: the Brazilian finally won an event in Praia do Norte | Photo: WSL

Gabeira Makes History

In the women's competition, Justine Dupont suffered an early ankle injury after her foot got stuck in the board's strap in the whitewater.

As a result, the French and her partner Tony Laureano were forced to exit the competition.

Brazilian surfers Michelle des Bouillons and Maya Gabeira fought for the women's best performance award, but it was the Guinness World Record holder who prevailed.

Gabeira used her knowledge of Praia do Norte to secure the title.

"It was hard. After getting pounded in the first heat, my spine was not feeling good. I kept surfing, but I was stressed," explains Maya.

"Pierre Rollet did an amazing job on the jet ski, and I got my first professional win here in Nazaré."

Jamie Mitchell and Rafael Tapia partnered for the first time, but the duo delivered solid performances.

The Australian ended up claiming the most committed award for his fearless attitude and ability to blend different maneuvers on each wave.

At the end of the competition's last heat, Mitchell found a left-hand tube, got barreled, and suffered a horrific wipeout and back injury.

The ten-time Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard world champion was then rushed to the local hospital for further evaluation and treatment.

2022 Nazaré Tow Surfing Challenge | Results

1. Lucas Chianca (BRA) 21.06
2. Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 19.66
3. Andrew Cotton (UK) 18.50
4. Nic von Rupp (POR) 14.30
5. Pierre Caley (FRA) 14.19
6. Eric Rebiere (FRA) 14.19
7. Will Skudin (USA) 13.90
8. Rafael Tapia (CHI) 13.47
9. João De Macedo (POR) 12.17
10. Maya Gabeira (BRA) 11.71
11. Rodrigo Koxa (BRA) 11.29
12. Ian Cosenza (BRA) 10.84
13. Michelle des Bouillons (BRA) 10.73
14. Antonio Silva (POR) 7.67
15. Justine Dupont (FRA) 4.34
16. Tony Laureano (POR) 0.00
17. Axier Muniain (EUK) 0.00
18. Francisco Porcella (ITA) 0.00

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