Praia do Norte, Nazaré, on a good day. Would you go? Photo:

ONE of the most radical things I’ve been lucky enough to experience through my travels is getting to see and surf waves I’d only previously seen in videos and magazines. Desert Point, Puerto Escondido, El Gringo and Mundaka are a few of the big-name spots I’ve ticked off the ol’ bucket list in the past few years and they’ve all lived up to expectations in terms of epic-ness and heart-in-your-mouth barrels. It’s a pretty sweet feeling paddling out to a spot you’ve heard so much hype about and drooled over for ages, and if you get a good one you can’t wipe the smile off your face for days. I’m currently in Nazaré, Portugal – a town with a wave so heavy I’ve heard it compared to Mexico’s Puerto Escondido and Mavericks in North California. Apparently an underwater canyon (one of the largest in the world), a geomorphological accident (I’m not gonna pretend to know what that means), leads Atlantic waves straight to this spot Praia do Norte almost without obstacles. This creates waves of unusual size compared to the rest of the Portuguese coast. It’s super massive and onshore today however and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit relieved at the conditions keeping me indoors watching cable instead of being really scared in frigid waters.

Nazaré from above on our walk this morning, during a short respite from the rain.

On the topic of scary waves, last week I found an old copy of Aussie bodyboarding rag Movement Magazine, featuring a story about Michael Novy scoring a heavy-as-shit reef in north Chile. The background in one of the sequences rang a few bells and I realised it could be a wave I sat and watched from the safety of shore back in April. I only saw it (arguably) rideable once, a local ripper told me it’s rarely surfed because it’s too nuts. Anyways, I had a look through my Chile photo album and found two videos I took of the chaos on my shitty camera. It’s hard to tell but take my word, shit is big and gnarly (Novy is da man).  Don’t you wish you had the balls to tackle something like that? Sigh, I think I’m forever destined to be a kook. But hey, at least I’m having fun. Pointless post, but I’m bored and thought I’d share. We’re heading north to Porto tomorrow. Amsterdam beckons on Thursday. Seeya.

More pics from this morning

Praia do Norte as it looked this morning, big and uninviting.

The town's main beach was sporting a hefty shorey.




Filed under Travel

6 responses to “Balls

  1. kylee

    hey really nice photos jake and mel enjoy your surf and have a ball ….. ky

  2. You never really know – unless you go. But just like ‘Buzzy Trent’ said:
    “Waves are not measured in feet and inches, they are measured in increments of fear”

  3. Sick… that end bowl looks so gnarly. And the right up the beach, please, tell me you hit that!

  4. hiya, im headed to Mexico for a month, hopefully surfing at escondido and was wondering if you have any tips on places to go or stay? im travelling solo.

    • Hey Claire Puerto Escondido is rad you will love it! There are a lot of cheap places along the beach and up through the backstreets around Playa Zicatela but your best bet is to go to Hotel Aqua Luna – the funnest/best time I’ve ever had at a hotel (it’s a little bit more expensive than others but so worth it). It’s owned by this Aussie bodyboarder Clive and his Mexican wife Adi, and they’re super helpful and really know their shit about the area (sweet local knowledge). They will show you an epic time. Check their website I think it’ll tell you how to get there, If it’s a bit too pricy for ya maybe just have a squiz around the internet to see what you can find or if you’re a bit ballsier and are rocking up during daylight hours I’d just get a taxi to Playa Zicatela and find a place along the beach – there’s heaps. But seriously Aqua Luna is the bomb, the Quiksilver guys stay there every year when the WQS comp is on there, and more recently most of the best bodyboarders in the world stayed there for their World Tour comp. As for places to go I just hung around town for a whole month, the only trip I can recommend is finding a few keen people to hire a car and go up to San Jose Del Pacifico (about 3 or 4hrs away) – it’s got these cabins you can stay at for dirt cheap perched in the mountains overlooking a crazy valley. You can go there for the scenery or the funny mushrooms that the town’s also famous for. Haha, enjoy.

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