World Surf League Cancels All Events in March

LOS ANGELES, Calif./USA (Thursday, March 12, 2020) – Due to the rapidly evolving situation with COVID-19 and out of an abundance of caution for the safety of athletes, fans, and staff, the World Surf League (WSL) has made the decision to cancel all events yet to commence at all tour levels, worldwide for the remainder of March, including the opening event of the 2020 Championship Tour (CT) on the Gold Coast in Australia. Additionally, the WSL has canceled the Papara Pro Open Tahiti.

This decision is based on guidance from the World Health Organization, who has declared that COVID-19 is now a global pandemic, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, governments and local public health authorities where events are being held. 

“Coronavirus is having massive consequences for sporting events and gatherings of all kinds around the world, and we are no different,” said WSL CEO Erik Logan. “We did not take this decision lightly as we are aware that it has a significant impact on the surfing community. However, the health and safety of our athletes, fans, and staff are paramount. From the standpoint of social responsibility, we also take very seriously the role our events might play in accelerating the spread of the virus. We’ve been in close contact with our athletes and we feel strongly that this is the right thing to do right now.” 

“The fluid nature of this situation is forcing us to evaluate things day-by-day, and even hour-by-hour,” Logan said. “As this continues to evolve, we’ll continue to adapt, endeavoring to make the next right decision each day.”

Based on the information available at this time, the WSL is not currently canceling any additional events beyond this time frame. The situation continues to evolve, and the league is closely monitoring and evaluating the status of upcoming events, including the next CT event at Bells Beach in Victoria, Australia.

The WSL is carefully considering the impact of these cancellations on its tours and will provide further information in due course.

For all events currently in progress, the WSL has implemented a range of safety protocols as well as protective guidelines for athletes and staff. These include information on travel advisories and restrictions so anyone traveling can plan their travel routes to and from events to best limit their potential exposure; additional hand-washing facilities and hand sanitizer at events; and minimizing surfer and fan interactions.

List of currently canceled or postponed events:

  • Papara Pro Open Tahiti, French Polynesia – canceled
  • Piha Pro Junior, New Zealand – postponed 
  • Corona Piha Pro, New Zealand – postponed
  • Seat Pro Netanya, Israel – postponed
  • Barbados Surf Pro, Barbados – postponed
  • Corona Open Gold Coast, Australia – canceled
  • WSL Awards – postponed
  • Red Bull Airborne Gold Coast, Australia – canceled
  • Jack’s Surfboards Pro, USA – postponed
  • Longboard Pro Espinho, Portugal – postponed
  • Caparica Surf Fest Pro, Portugal – postponed
  • Central Japan Open, Japan – postponed
  • Krui Pro, Indonesia – postponed

South African Sarah Baum takes title at Avoca Beach

Matt Banting and Sarah Baum Take Out 2020 Vissla and Sisstrevolution Central Coast Pro at Avoca Beach

Matt Banting (Port Macquarie, NSW) and Sarah Baum (ZAF) have taken out the 2020 Vissla Central Coast Pro and Sisstrevolution Central Coast Pro.    Credit: © WSL /  Ethan Smith

Matt Banting (Port Macquarie, NSW) and Sarah Baum (ZAF) have taken out the 2020 Vissla Central Coast Pro and Sisstrevolution Central Coast Pro. Credit: © WSL / Ethan Smith

After a runner-up finish at the 2019 Vissla Central Coast Pro, Matt Banting went one step further in 2020, taking out the top spot. Banting put on an impeccable performance over the course of the entire event, consistently posting massive scores in the majority of the heats he surfed. Banting’s performance in the final saw the Port Macquarie natural-footer post a decent 15.27 two-wave heat total to get the edge over Sheldon Simkus (Gold Coast, Qld). The win was a total turnaround from the beginning of the week for Banting as he was nearly forced to withdraw from the event due to car troubles. Banting will now head to Newcastle Surfest hoping to back up the result and put himself into a prime position to requalify for the WSL Championship Tour.
 
“Getting to the final last year was a great feeling but to go one step further feels even better,” said Banting. “At the beginning of the week I busted the radiator in my car and I wasn’t sure if I would even make my first heat in time and I thought I might need to pull out of the event, but everything from there fell into place after that. The 3000 points and the prize money will help me so much and takes a huge amount of pressure off. If I can back up this result with a decent result in some of the higher-ranked events then I’d be even more stoked.”
 
Sarah Baum’s (ZAF) stellar beginning to 2020 continued today as she took out top honours in the final against Cedar Leigh-Jones (Avalon, NSW). Baum used her deadly backhand attack to notch up a giant 15.60 two-wave heat total, which also included a near-perfect 9.00 point wave score, which ultimately allowed her to gain some space between her and Leigh-Jones. In a year that has already seen her win the Carve Pro and post a runner-up finish at the recent Mothernest Great Lakes Pro, Baum will now head to her adopted hometown of Newcastle for the Doyle Partners Women’s Pro at Merewether.

Sarah Baum – 2020 Vissla Central Coast Pro and Sisstrevolution Central Coast Pro. Credit: © WSL / Ethan Smith

 “This is totally surreal,” said Baum. “These 3000 points and the prizemoney from this event will go such a long way to helping me to qualify. I’m so excited for the rest of the year now. The result hasn’t really sunk in yet, but I think it will in a few hours. I now have to head home to Newcastle and prepare for the QS5000 there, so hopefully, this bit of momentum will help me when that event begins.”
 
Sheldon Simkus (Gold Coast, Qld) put on a valiant performance over the course of the entire Vissla Central Coast Pro with the final being no exception. Simkus found a handful of decent waves that allowed to post some above-average scores but ultimately fell short of the 8.27 wave score required to jump ahead of Banting.
 
“That was a lot of fun and was a perfect warmup for the QS5000 and the Challenger Series events that are coming up. I think this may be my best result ever,” said Simkus. “At the beginning of the week, I was sick and hadn’t free surfed to prepare at all. It was awesome to feel like I was just improving with every heat I had and improve throughout the contest.”
 
Cedar Leigh-Jones notched up her best result to date, taking out the runner-up position. After a stellar run through the quarter and semifinals, Leigh-Jones was unable to find waves with enough scoring potential to gain the upper hand against Baum. At only 15-years-old, the young natural-footer will now look to move her focus to the Sydney Surf Pro Junior at Manly later in the week.
 
“I didn’t even think I was going to make it through to Friday in this competition, so I’m super stoked with this result,” said Leigh-Jones. “I came into this event just looking for a half-decent result but I didn’t quite expect this. Unfortunately, I didn’t any great waves in the final, but I’m still happy. This is definitely my biggest result to date.”

The 2020 Vissla and Sisstrevolution Pro will run from February 25 – March 1. Please visit WorldSurfLeague.com or download the free WSL App for more information and results.

The Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series was developed for Australian and International surfers to gain ranking points and prize money on the WSL Qualifying Series. The series also creates a NSW coastal road trip for all to explore the variety of waves, visit local communities and enjoy NSW surfing culture.

 

Ramzi Boukhiam Wins the Oi Hang Loose Pro

Boukhiam defeated Weslley Dantas in the Final of the QS5000 in Fernando de Noronha, Brazil.

Finalists Oi Hang Loose Pro Contest

Finalists at the Oi Hang Loose Pro Contest in Fernando de Noronha. (left to right) Jadson Andre (BRA), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) and Weslley Dantas (BRA). – Credits: WSL / Daniel Smorigo

CACIMBA DO PADRE, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil – Sunday, February 16 – Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) was victorious over Weslley Dantas (BRA) by a final score of 14.40 to 11.23 to take home the World Surf League (WSL) QS5000 Oi Hang Loose Pro Contest pres. by Eletron Energy at Cacimba do Padre in Fernando de Noronha, Brazil. The Moroccan was consistent throughout the week and was in complete sync with the waves on Finals Day, which included a Semifinals win over former event winner Jadson Andre (BRA). With today’s win, Boukhiam has jumped from 163rd to number 2 on the Qualifying Series rankings behind Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), who took the rankings lead with his Semifinals finish today.

“I’m super happy with this result today,” said Boukhiam. “Weslley (Dantas) and Jadson (Andre) are extremely tough competitors and great all-around surfers. So, I just tried to focus on myself and surf to my strengths and use powerful turns. It seemed like everything went my way today. I caught the best waves and took advantage of every opportunity.”

Boukhiam also reflected on his career up-to-date and his intentions for 2020.

“Beginning the year with a victory at a QS5000 really gives me a boost for qualification onto the CT and I’m going to give it my best effort this year. I’ve been on the QS for a long time and I know I’ve made mistakes in the past. I know what I need to do and even though things might not always go your way, I think I have what it takes to be on the CT. We’ve got the Olympics coming up, I’ve got a great coach and it just feels like things are moving in the right direction for me this year.”

Ramzi Boukhiam

Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) in action at the Oi Hang Loose Pro. – Credits: WSL / Daniel Smorigo

Runner-up Weslley Dantas was impressive all week long at Cacimba do Padre, putting together a full array of surfing and superb technique including tuberides, powerful carves and tweaked out airs. In addition to earning 4,000 QS ranking points, Weslley also took home bragging rights by defeating his older brother, Wiggolly, in the Semifinals.

“I feel good, my head is in the right place and I believe that I only lost the Final because I didn’t find any good waves, because I feel like my surfing has been good all event long,” said Weslley Dantas. “It’s all part of God’s plan, second place is a great result to start the year and now I’m headed to Australia psyched and ready to go.”

After his first event of the year, Weslley sits at #10 on the QS rankings.

“To be honest, I never really think about the rankings,” continued Dantas. “Your position changes a lot during the year and the only one that really counts is where you are after Sunset in Hawaii. There are a bunch of Challenger Series events this year, I feel like I surfed really well here in Noronha and I look forward to a great 2020.”

Weslley Dantas

Weslley Dantas (BRA) in the barrel at Cacimba do Padre. – Credits: WSL / Daniel Smorigo

Runner-up Weslley Dantas was impressive all week long at Cacimba do Padre, putting together a full array of surfing and superb technique including tuberides, powerful carves and tweaked out airs. In addition to earning 4,000 QS ranking points, Weslley also took home bragging rights by defeating his older brother, Wiggolly, in the Semifinals.

“I feel good, my head is in the right place and I believe that I only lost the Final because I didn’t find any good waves, because I feel like my surfing has been good all event long,” said Weslley Dantas. “It’s all part of God’s plan, second place is a great result to start the year and now I’m headed to Australia psyched and ready to go.”

After his first event of the year, Weslley sits at #10 on the QS rankings.

“To be honest, I never really think about the rankings,” continued Dantas. “Your position changes a lot during the year and the only one that really counts is where you are after Sunset in Hawaii. There are a bunch of Challenger Series events this year, I feel like I surfed really well here in Noronha and I look forward to a great 2020.”

Wiggolly Dantas

Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) deep in the barrel in Fernando de Noronha. – Credits: WSL / Daniel Smorigo

Last year’s event winner Jadson Andre was one of the standout surfers of the event, but came up short to an in-form Boukhiam in the Semifinals.

“Sometimes things just don’t go your way. I maybe ended up forcing it a little too much against Ramzi (Boukhiam), and he was on all the best waves in our heat,” said Andre. “I’m a little upset for not making it to the Finals, but I’m still pleased with my performance, it’s still a great result to start the year and look forward to getting the CT started in Australia.”

Event-organizers Oi Hang Loose Pro

(clockwise from top): Event organizers and athletes, tropical wave at Cacimba do Padre, Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) being chaired up the beach. – Credits: WSL / Daniel Smorigo

CT Athletes Dominate on Day 3 of the Oi Hang Loose Pro

Yago Dora, Filipe Toledo and Jadson André all had commanding performances at the QS5000 in Fernando de Noronha.

Cacimba do Padre

The iconic background at Cacimba do Padre in Fernando de Noronha. Setting for the Oi Hang Loose Pro. – Credits: WSL / Daniel Smorigo

CACIMBA DO PADRE, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil – Thursday, February 13 – Action kicked off to an early start on Thursday for Day 3 of the Oi Hang Loose Pro Contest pres. by Elétron Energy with last year’s event winner Jadson André (BRA) in the opening heat of the day. In his first appearance in a jersey in 2020, André looked spry as he tagged the lefthanders at Cacimba do Padre with lightning quick reflexes.

Despite his admitted aversion to early morning heats, the Brazilian was still able to advance easily with a 12.50 total over Cauã Costa (BRA), Enzo Cavallini (FRA) and Kian Martin, the only WSL surfer based out of Sweden.

“My first heat of the year and it had to be at seven in the morning,” joked André. “Everyone knows I’m not a big fan of getting up early and today I was up at 4:40 for prep. But in the bigger picture, last year I competed in the first heat in almost every event. It was unbelievable, it was like a test. So being back here and getting ready for another year on the CT shows that all the sacrifice was worth it.”

Jadson later recollected the importance of the Hang Loose Pro in Fernando de Noronha from his childhood.

“I remember when I was a kid, I used to dream about competing at this contest on this beach,” added André. “To win the contest last year was a major accomplishment in my career and hopefully I can be on the winner’s podium again this time around.”

Jadson André

Jadson André (BRA) looking to repeat his victory at the Oi Hang Loose Pro. – Credits: WSL / Daniel Smorigo

Although the waves at Cacimba do Padre are best-known for their powerful barrels, conditions today offered athletes more of an open playing field where turns, airs and progression were the go-to maneuvers.

One of the most stylish surfers on tour with a complete grasp of those aspects in competition is Yago Dora (BRA), who earned the day’s best heat total of a 14.07 with high-performance surfing and lofty airs.

“My strategy today was to be ready for anything,” stated Dora. “I paddled into my first wave and felt there was really nothing on offer, so I risked going for that big air. Going to the air is something I feel confident in doing and that section just made me want to go for it. I really enjoy when there are a lot of waves and lots of scoring opportunities. That’s when it feels more like a freesurf than a comp, and you just want to keep doing bigger and better moves. I love the wave here and I feel like I’ve got a good connection with it, so I’m happy to be moving on to the next round.”

Yago Dora (BRA)

Yago Dora (BRA) took to the skies at Cacimba do Padre. – Credits: WSL / Daniel Smorigo

With completion of the Round of 96, athletes and contest director Fabio Gouveia assembled together to see if conditions were still contestable to begin the next heat, which included Filipe Toledo (BRA). The athletes unanimously agreed to continue as consistent sets in the 4+ foot range peaked across the lineup.

After falling on his initial attempts, Toledo got the ball rolling and earned a 7.00 and a 6.77 from the judges with his innovative surfing. Marcos Correa (BRA) advanced in second place, eliminating Junior Lagosta (BRA) and Santiago Muniz (ARG) from the competition.

“We got together before the heat and decided to hit the water to get this round started. It was fun, the waves are still rippable and today was more about the airs than the barrels. I’m just thankful for being here. Surfing in paradise isn’t for everyone,” said Toledo jokingly. “It’s all about staying focused, but having fun at the same time. It’s the best path to victory.”

fillipe-toledo

Filipe Toledo (BRA) – Credits: WSL / Daniel Smorigo

Following that heat, a strong sidewind whipped up, deteriorating conditions. The contest was put on hold with the next call scheduled for 7:00am local time on Friday. Heat 2 of Round of 48 will see Luke Gordon (USA), Marco Giorgi (URY), Weslley Dantas (BRA) and Joan Duru (FRA) match up at Cacimba do Padre.

Oi Hang Loose Pro

(clockwise from top left): Ian Gouveia (BRA), Douglas Silva (BRA), Nomme Mignot (FRA) and Mason Ho (USA) at the Oi Hang Loose Pro.
Credits: WSL / Daniel Smorigo

Top Seeds Add Excitement to the Oi Hang Loose Pro

Filipe Toledo (BRA) and other elite surfers take charge at the QS 5,000 in exotic Fernando de Noronha, Brazil.

Filipe Toledo (BRA)

Filipe Toledo (BRA) kicks off his 2020 campaign at the Oi Hang Loose Pro – Credits: WSL / Daniel Smorigo

CACIMBA DO PADRE, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil – Wednesday, February 12 – After opening yesterday with a short, 4-heat day of surfing, action was revved up a notch as the event’s top seeds hit the line-up for Day 2 of the Oi Hang Loose Pro presented by Elétron Energy QS 5000.

CT superstar Filipe Toledo (BRA) kicked off his 2020 campaign by displaying his elite-level explosiveness by scoring a 15-point total in the 4 – 6 foot waves (1.5 – 2 meters) at Cacimba do Padre in Fernando de Noronha, Brazil.

“It’s always good to start off an event with a solid performance because it just gives your confidence a major boost,” noted Toledo. “It’s great to be here in Noronha recharging my batteries. It just feels awesome, my boards feel great and I just want to enjoy my time here.”

The athletes had to deal with tricky conditions throughout the day with unfavorable winds and significant tidal influences, making wave selection crucial in every heat.

“The waves were really difficult in my heat. But even when it isn’t perfect here, there are still good waves,” remarked Toledo who scored an 8.33 on his best ride. “You just need to be patient and hit the right sections when they appear. You’ve got to know how to read the wave here and I can’t wait to get back in the water.”

Filipe Toledo

Filipe Toledo (BRA) showed off his backhand attack at the Oi Hang Loose Pro. – Credits: WSL / Daniel Smorigo

Looking to make his way back to the Championship Tour (CT) via the QS this year is the Panda, Willian Cardoso (BRA), who used his heavy back-footed approach to blast each section unmercifully for a 14.13 total and a victory in Heat 6 of the Round 96.

“The waves at Cacimba do Padre are always challenging, even when it’s perfect,” said Cardoso. “Conditions change super quickly, so you’ve got to be ready for anything and I feel like I used that mentality to my advantage. My initial strategy was to stay close to the point, but the waves were all out of whack, so I paddled over to the opposite side where I ended up finding those two good ones where I could let loose.”

Willian Cardoso

Few people can throw spray like Willian Cardoso (BRA). – Credits: WSL / Daniel Smorigo

Other surfers who advanced today and are looking to use the Oi Hang Loose Pro to hop back on the CT are Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Jesse Mendes (BRA), Heitor Alves (BRA) and Joan Duru (FRA), who took first place in Heat 4 of the Round of 96 over Bino Lopes (BRA), Mateus Sena (BRA) and Junior Lagosta (BRA). Lagosta advanced in second place behind the Frenchman.

“No barrels, but some good lefts coming off the rocks,” said Duru. “It’s hard to find the good ones, so you really need to choose well. I’m stoked to be back here. I’ve gotten some good results here back in the day. I want to get off to a good start this year and build up a rhythm to get good results to get back to the CT.”

Elétron Energy Surfers

(clockwise from top left): Joan Duru (FRA), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Miguel Tudela (PER) and Jake Marshall (USA) all advanced at the Oi Hang Loose Pro. – Credits: WSL / Daniel Smorigo

owever, the highest scores of the day came from lesser-known Madson Costa (BRA), who found the diamonds in the rough, scoring a 7.00 and an 8.67 on the best barrels for a 15.67 total.

“I tried to get busy as soon as the heat started because there were a lot of closeouts at the time,” Costa said. “When I got priority, I paddled farther inside and caught that first barrel. Later on, I was lucky enough to be in the right spot and caught that even better barrel that just kept throwing section after section. I competed here last year and feel like the more time you put in to the wave, the more it gives back. I just feel blessed and I want to thank all my family and friends back home at Praia da Pipa.”

Mad

Madson Costa (BRA) in a quintessential Cacimba do Padre barrel. – Credits: WSL / Daniel Smorigo

The hugest upset came in the last heat of the day when former event winner Miguel Pupo (BRA) was eliminated from the competition after being defeated by Heitor Alves and Geovane Ferreira (BRA) in Heat 12 of the Round of 96.
 
Tomorrow’s action will begin with Jadson André (BRA), who won the Oi Hang Loose Pro last year and kicked off a stellar campaign on the Qualifying Series (QS) in 2019 to guarantee his place on the 2020 Championship Tour. Jadson will face up against Enzo Cavallini (FRA), Kian Martin (SWE) and Cauã Costa (BRA) after the 7:00 am call on Thursday.
 
For more information, please visit www.worldsurfleague.com

Nazaré Tow Surfing Challenge – Nazaré, Portugal

Nazaré Tow Surfing Challenge Pres. By Jogos Santa Casa Celebrates High-Performance Big Wave Surfing with Best Surfers in the World

Winners of the Nazaré Two Surfing Challenge

Winners of the Nazaré Two Surfing Challenge pres. by Jogos Santa Casa Credits: WSL / Poullenot

Nazaré, Portugal (Tuesday, February 11, 2020) – The Nazaré Tow Surfing Challenge pres. By Jogos Santa Casa at Nazaré ran today in massive waves and provided non-stop action for six hours straight, showcasing the best Big Wave riders in the world at the unique arena of Praia do Norte, in Nazaré, Portugal.

Kai Lenny and Justine Dupont Win Individual Best Wave Awards

“This event has almost been a lifetime in the making,” Bill Sharp, Big Wave Tour General Manager said. “It’s just fantastic to experience with a completely different format, essentially a day-long expression session without worrying about advancing or giving a score before a certain amount of time. Everything has come together and today was one of the best days in big wave surfing’s history.”

Competition got underway at 8:30 a.m with uncharacteristic very light offshore winds, and huge surf breaking below the world-famous cliffs of the Praia do Norte lighthouse. Competitors got in rhythm right away and started to ride mountains of water in front of huge crowds lining up the cliffs. The level of performance kept rising throughout the day as surfers and ski drivers got accustomed to the conditions of today’s swell.

Standout rides, dramatic wipeouts and incredible rescue efforts were aplenty throughout the first four heats, which eventually prompted organizers to extend the duration of the competition. Surfers were given a third opportunity to spend an hour in the lineup in the search for the biggest and most treacherous rides of the Nazaré Tow Surfing Challenge presented by Jogos Santa Casa.

Justine Dupont Wins Women’s Wave of the Day

Justine Dupont (FRA) on another Nazaré bomb early this morning. Credits: WSL / Poullenot

Justine Dupont (FRA) on another Nazaré bomb early this morning. Credits: WSL / Poullenot

French powerhouse Justine Dupont (FRA) who now resides part-time in Portugal has been a standout in the Nazaré lineup for a few seasons now and proved once again today her worth among the best surfers in the world. The 2019 Women’s XXL Biggest Wave Award recipient was towed into a massive, glassy left and negotiated the speed and line perfectly to exit on the wave’s shoulder and get picked up to safety.

“I was so lucky I had a really nice wave at the beginning of the heat so then we felt pretty comfortable out there,” Dupont said. “I’m really happy, Fred and I had a good rhythm and Clement was there to pick me up after all the waves. All the work that we’ve done this past year has really paid off. There were some really big waves, maybe not giant, but altogether the conditions were perfect for competition.”

Kai Lenny Claims Men’s Wave of the Day

Kai Lenny (HAW) dropping into a massive Nazaré set. Credits: WSL / Masurel

Kai Lenny (HAW) dropping into a massive Nazaré set. Credits: WSL / Masurel

Hawaiian big-wave phenom Kai Lenny (HAW) added yet another impressive line to his resume with today’s Men’s Wave of the Day award at Nazaré. A true innovator, both with his equipment and his choice of lines riding the massive waves of Nazaré, Lenny got the crowds fired up with air time and crazy carves to claim the day’s coveted title.

“I wouldn’t have been able to ride this wave without Lucas so it’s as much his award as it is mine,” Lenny said. “That’s what is cool about tow-in surfing, I’ve spent the last couple of years competing against him in paddling events and it was great to finally get to team up and have the camaraderie to do it. He whipped me into that right just as we were riding back out, that wave just looked like it was going to wedge and it turned out way bigger than I thought it would be.”

Lenny and Lucas Chianca Crowned Team Champions

 Cool under pressure, Lucas Chianca draws a carve under the lip of a solid wave.

Cool under pressure, Lucas Chianca draws a carve under the lip of a solid wave. Credits: WSL / Poullenot

Team Young Guns, composed of Kai Lenny (HAW) and Lucas Chianca (BRA) won the team distinction for their collaborative efforts towing into some of the biggest waves of the day and drawing effortless, unique lines in the massive walls of Nazaré. Both surfers looked more comfortable in the 40+Ft faces than most surfers in head-high surf, giving all the fans an unrealistic feeling of ease while their rides were simply extraordinary.

“We haven’t had that much training together, only a couple of sessions,” Chianca said. “But when I see Kai perform I think it just matches perfectly with the way I like to ride as well. We drive for each other like we really want and it feels really comfortable.”

Water Safety Team Receives Jogos Santa Casa Commitment Award

he safety teams efforts were paramount in keeping everyone safe in the lineup.

The safety teams efforts were paramount in keeping everyone safe in the lineup. Credits: WSL

Surfers put their lives on the line all day as they rode massive surf in the six, hour-long heats in the Portuguese lineup. The priority for all involved was of course the security of the athletes and a very extensive safety and medical plan was put in place to face all kinds of situations.

“Those 19 surfers involved are 19 of the best water safety rescue people in the world,” Bill Sharp described. “So for the athlete riding a wave, your driver is your first line of defense. Each team also has their own back-up rescue operator, then we have a third layer which is a WSL crew in case someone is missed by the first two. Finally, we have the medical response on the beach with doctors and on boats.”

Alex Botelho

“Every wave has its own set of challenges,” Scott Eggers, Water Safety Director added. “There is so much chaos out there that it’s very unpredictable. This wave just happens to get big, very very big.”

During the award ceremony tonight, surfers got together and voted in favor of the water safety team to receive the Jogos Santa Casa Commitment Award, for the incredible work done by all the people involved in keeping athletes safe.

Massive Crowds Watch Over Big Wave Specialists in Nazaré

Massive crowds

Massive crowds came to witness the event today. Credits: WSL / Masurel

If any swell brings dozens or hundreds of people out on the cliffs of Nazare, this particular one and the fact that 19 of the best Big Wave athletes on the planet were on the case, brought out crowds in the thousands. An exciting day of surfing unfolded as crowds clapped, whistled and held their breath as surfers took on the unruly conditions.

“Nazare has gone from a sleepy fishing village that was a vacation destination for a few in summer to now one of the most famous big-wave surfing spots on the planet,” Sharp added. “People come here by the hundreds of thousands every year to check out the fort and the amazing waves of Praia do Norte. It’s amazing to think that waves have been breaking here since the beginning of time but it wasn’t until a few years ago that surfers were able to get out there and surf them. And now the amount of people that come to watch them both here in Nazare and online is unprecedented.”
For more information, please visit worldsurfleague.com.

The Nazaré Tow Surfing Challenge presented by Jogos Santa Casa is organized by Ocean Events with the support Visit Portugal / Portuguese Waves, West Tourism, Nazaré City Council, Jogos Santa Casa, MEO, Corona and Hertz.
About the WSL
The World Surf League (WSL), established in 1976, is the enablement platform for surfing and surfers worldwide. The WSL is dedicated to changing the world through the inspirational power of surfing by creating authentic events, experiences, and storytelling to inspire a growing, global community to live with purpose, originality, and stoke.

The WSL is a global organization, headquartered in Santa Monica and with regional offices in North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific, and EMEA. The WSL possesses a deep appreciation for the sport’s rich heritage while promoting progression, innovation, and performance at the highest levels.

The WSL is comprised of Tours & Events, celebrating the world’s best surfers across all disciplines and annually running more than 180 global contests and crowning the undisputed World Champions across all divisions; WSL WaveCo, where innovation meets experience; and WSL Studios, which offers best in class storytelling across competition, lifestyle, and conservation.

For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com