Jason Polakow is the first windsurfer to ride Nazaré

February 3, 2016 | Windsurfing
Jason Polakow: he always wanted to ride Nazaré | Bardos/Red Bull

Jason Polakow has become the first windsurfer to ride the big wave of Nazaré in Portugal.

The Australian wave sailor has finally fulfilled his longtime dream of riding a windsurf board on the monstrous liquid cliffs of Praia do Norte, the spot usually reserved for surfing, bodyboarding and, more recently, skimboarding.

Polakow rode 43-foot waves (13 meters) after carefully studying and preparing for the adventure in the last 12 months.

"I've surfed all the big waves around the world, and I must say that for me, Nazaré has been the most difficult and challenging. The waves are coming from many different angles at the same time, making it extremely difficult to judge and be safe," explained Jason Polakow.

"Water safety was my main concern, so having the two most experienced surfers - Andrew Cotton and Hugo Vau - taking care of me and George Leal communicating with the water safety crew, I was feeling confident."

A Big Wave Windsurfer

Jason Polakow: he always wanted to ride Nazaré | Bardos/Red Bull

Polakow is arguably the best big wave windsurfer on planet Earth right now.

The 44-year-old veteran has already sailed in Teahupoo, Cloudbreak, and he is a well-known face in the Jaws lineup.

At Praia do Norte, the conditions were not perfect. JP sailed in light starboard tack winds and slightly choppy wave faces.

"The session we had was a great start for me in Nazaré, as I caught some huge waves. I've had a difficult but exciting adrenalized time out there, and it's for sure one of the highlights of my career!"

Polakow also tasted the power of the Nazaré wipeout, and his equipment had a close encounter with the nearby rocks.

But that won't stop him from setting the bar higher. JP wants a record. He wants to beat the 60-foot mark set in Maui.

"For the longest time, I thought Jaws was the epitome of big wave windsurfing, but Nazaré definitely holds the key to producing the biggest waves in the world."

"My goal is to come back here on a gigantic swell. We can definitely break that record right out here at Praia do Norte on the next big one."

Jason Polakow was born in Torquay, Australia. He has been a familiar face in the PWA World Tour since 1990.

  • It's official. The World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC) ratified two new outstanding accomplishments in windsurfing and kiteboarding.
  • Dutch environmental activist and windsurfer Merijn Tinga, also known as the "Plastic Soup Surfer," has made an audacious journey from Oslo to London, braving the North Sea's currents and winds, to call attention to the pervasive problem of plastic pollution.
  • Imagine gliding across a frozen lake, your sail catching the wind, and skis slicing through the ice and snow. Meet the sport that blends the thrill of windsurfing with the crisp, cold beauty of winter landscapes.
  • Planing is one of the most exciting skills you can master while windsurfing. It usually separates beginners from intermediate and advanced sailors. But what is the minimum wind speed to get flying over water?

The Surfing Christmas Gift Guide for 2023 | Explore our Christmas gift ideas for surfers