It’s the big-wave mecca and it’s never been ridden by a wind-powered athlete – until this Tuesday, when Australia’s Jason Polakow windsurfed for the first time the liquid mountains of Praia do Norte, in Nazaré, Portugal.
Aged 44, the big wave windsurfer and two-time wave-sailing world champion found a new challenge: riding the 13m (43ft) waves of this infamous location on the Atlantic coast.
Polakow prepared for a year, studying and observing the Portuguese spot, finding the right support and safety crew before he felt ready to tackle some of the world’s biggest waves.
On Tuesday, February 2, 2016, the conditions were favourable, finally allowing him to windsurf it.
“It’s a very challenging and unique spot; no wave breaks in the same place and the height is very difficult to judge,” he said in a first statement after spending five hours in the water. “Chasing huge waves is my passion, so after seeing amazing images from big wave surfers, I just had to try.
“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.
“Water safety was my main concern, so having the two most experienced surfers – Andrew Cotton (UK) and Hugo Vau (POR) – taking care of me, and George Leal aka “Jesus” communicating with the water safety crew, I was feeling confident.
“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!”
Source: Red Bull Media House