In its inaugural year, the Nazaré Big Wave Challenge did not disappoint. The surf was in the chilly 30-40 foot range, and the competitors, fresh off of last minute flights, were ready to paddle in to Praia do Norte, a beach break of epic proportions off the coast of Portugal.
Sticky Bumps’ own Jamie Mitchell was in attendance, flying in from Hawaii as soon as he got the call. He clenched his first ever Big Wave Tour win, in his first ever Big Wave Tour finals, in the first ever Nazaré big wave contest. Jamie is a renowned waterman, with 10 consecutive Molokai to Oahu Paddleboard World Championships under his belt, but a win at a big wave event had alluded him. He put together some amazing rides, winning both his round 1 heat and semifinal heat, and won the contest a full 10 points ahead of the runner up, Carlos Burle.
Also at the contest were fellow Sticky Bumps team riders, Aaron Gold and Trevor Sven Carlson. Both men made it to the semi-finals but had to watch the finals from the cliffs of Nazaré.
The performances were indescribable, late drops, monster kick outs, harrowing bottom turns, and of course, wipe outs that are the definition of gnarly. It truly is something you have to see, so head to the World Surf League website and catch some of the highlight footage.