The canyon that makes waves

Nazaré Canyon: the underwater abyss

The Nazaré Canyon is responsible for delivering the biggest surfable waves of all time. We took a dive into the abyss.

It was explored for the first time in the early 20th century by the Portuguese oceanographers of Missão Hidrográfica.

We're talking about an undersea canyon located off the coast of Nazaré in Portugal.

With a maximum depth of at least 5,000 meters (16,000 feet), the Nazaré Canyon is about 230 kilometers (140 miles) long.

The natural gorge ends near Praia do Norte, with depths reaching 150 meters.

Can you imagine an underwater Grand Canyon? If water drains off the Atlantic Ocean, you'd be walking through the pass with huge rocks on both sides.

The mechanics of the Nazaré Canyon wave help us understand why surfers get the largest swells of all time at this spot.

When swell energy heads toward the shore, it is quickly channeled and amplified through the submarine ravine, creating XXL waves near the shoreline.