WSL debuts new competitive big wave surfing format in Nazaré

February 10, 2020 | Surfing
Nazaré: the waves of Praia do Norte will debut a new WSL big wave surfing format | Photo: Red Bull

The 2020 Nazaré Tow Surfing Challenge will run on February 11, at Praia do Norte, in Portugal.

The World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave Tour (BWT) raised the green flag for the first, team-oriented big wave tow-in competition in the history of the organization.

The official WSL surf forecasters expect a series of XXL northwest swells heading toward Nazaré, and light offshore wind, resulting in 40-to 50-foot wave faces.

The new and unique big wave surfing format will feature 19 athletes - 17 men and two women - paired up in tow teams.

The Tow-In Surfing Format

The teams will surf in a four-hour expression session with no elimination stages or rules.

A rotating heat format and priority system will ensure that the five teams are in the water at all times.

Each team will have two, one-hour heats to tow each other into the giant waves of Nazaré.

Justine Dupont: the French surfer is a habitué at Nazaré | Photo: Red Bull

Then, a nominating panel will analyze the waves caught and select the biggest, best-ridden waves as finalists.

At the end of the day, the top performances will be shown on a big screen, and each surfer will privately vote for his/her favorites.

The final voting tally will determine the champions, as judged by their elite, heavy-water peers.

Four trophies are at stake: Men's Wave of the Day, Women's Wave of the Day, Team Champions and, Commitment Award.

Nazaré, the "Eighth Wonder of the World," is home to three Guinness World Records - men's largest surfed wave, women's biggest surfed wave, and largest kitesurfing wave.

2020 Nazaré Tow Surfing Challenge | Surfers List

Group A | Heats 1, 3 and 5
Team Australia: Axi Muniain (AUS) / Mick Corbett (AUS)
Team World: Sebastian Steudtner (DEU) / Maya Gabeira (BRA)
Team Atlantic: Grant Baker (ZAF) / João de Macedo (PRT)
Team Europe: Nic von Rupp (PRT) / Francisco Porcella (ITA)
Team France: Benjamin Sanchis (FRA) / Eric Rebiere (FRA)

Group B | Heats 2, 4 and 6
Team Young Bulls: Lucas Chianca (BRA) / Kai Lenny (HAW)
Team Portugal: Alex Botelho (PRT) / Hugo Vau (PRT)
Team Justine: Justine Dupont (FRA) surfer only / Fred David driver only
Team Brazil: Rodrigo Koxa (BRA) / Pedro Scooby (BRA)
Team Great Britain: Andrew Cotton (GBR) / Tom Butler (GBR)

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