10 Photos That Sum Up the Big-Wave Excitement of the Nazaré Challenge

It was a wild weekend at Nazaré.

It was a wild weekend at Portugal’s foremost big-wave spot Nazaré. The second-ever Nazaré Challenge was initially called on for Saturday, but extremely blustery conditions caused the Big Wave Tour and World Surf League officials to postpone the contest after only two heats.

Things resumed on Sunday with much friendlier, yet a bit smaller, surf. But that did not prove a hinderance for excitement, as there was still plenty.

With 21-year-old Lucas “Chumbo” Chianca, whom many have adorned as the best big-wave surfer in the world right now, becoming the youngest-ever to win a Big Wave Tour event, there is plenty worth looking back at.

So here are 10 photos that sum up the excitement and the biggest moments from one of the biggest Big Wave Tour stops.

1. Peter Mel’s Reason For Stepping Down As BWT Commissioner

Pete Mel. Photo: Courtesy of Laurent Masurel/World Surf League

Pete Mel just loves surfing these events too much. And you can’t have a commissioner who’s surfing against those he’s supposed to be commissioning now, can you?

2. Saturday’s Winds

Nazaré’s winds. Photo: Courtesy of Laurent Masurel/WSL

We weren’t kidding when we said it was extremely blustery at Nazaré on Saturday.

3. Joao De Macedo’s Determination

Joao De Macedo after getting stitched up. Photo: Courtesy of Antoine Justes/WSL

Nothing stops the Portuguese João De Macedo when Nazaré turns on.

4. Lucas Chianca Doesn’t Care About Winds

Lucas Chianca on Saturday. Photo: Courtesy of Laurent Masurel/WSL

Lucas Chianca was in the first heat of the contest and dealt with the windy conditions on Saturday. But it didn’t stop the eventual contest winner from doing his thing, winning the heat in the process.

5. Kai Lenny Slips In The BWT Rankings

Kai Lenny. Photo: Courtesy of Antoine Justes/WSL

Kai Lenny has held the top spot in the Big Wave Tour rankings since he won the Puerto Escondido Challenge back in the summer. Despite finishing fourth at Nazaré, Lenny was leap-frogged by his fellow Maui competitor and friend Billy Kemper.

With only the Mavericks event left, and a holding period for it only running until Feb. 28, Lenny might not even get a shot to give Kemper a challenge for the Big Wave Tour World Title.

6. Jamie Mitchell Did His Best To Repeat

Jamie Mitchell. Photo: Courtesy of Laurent Masurel/WSL

The inaugural Nazaré Challenge champion Jamie Mitchell did all he could to win again. But he couldn’t make it out of his semifinal heat to defend his title.

7. Chianca Pulled Out All The Stops

Lucas Chianca. Photo: Courtesy of Laurent Masurel/WSL

Who throws a layback snap in a Big Wave Tour event?!

8. Billy Kemper Takes Top BWT Spot

Billy Kemper. Photo: Courtesy of Laurent Masurel/WSL

Maui’s Billy Kemper wrestled the top spot in the Big Wave Tour rankings away from fellow Maui surfer Kai Lenny. But he most certainly paid his dues for it this weekend.

9. A Stacked Final

The finalists. Photo: Courtesy of Antoine Justes/WSL

The face’s of big-wave surfing showed why they’re the best in the world. The final consisted of Nathan Florence, Grant Baker, Billy Kemper, Lucas Chianca, Kai Lenny and Natxo Gonzalez (kneeling).

10. Chianca’s Day

Lucas Chianca. Photo: Courtesy of Laurent Masurel/WSL

At the end of the day, this weekend was all about Brazilian Lucas Chianca realizing what everyone else in the big-wave community has been noting for the last couple of years: that he’s surfing like the best big-wave rider in the world.

Read more about big-wave surfing from ASN

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