Nazare Portugal Sebastian Steudtner 2015

As Portugal was pounded by storms over the past week, daredevils like Sebastian Steudtner capitalized on the huge surf.

While the storms that pounded Portugal’s west coast over the past week have proven disastrous for some coastal towns, they have provided the world’s best big-wave surfers with a proving ground to showcase their talents.

And last Tuesday, German madman Sebastian Steudtner made his case to repeat as champion of the World Surf League’s XXL Biggest Wave Award by towing into a massive wave at the famed Nazaré surf break:

“We thought that we wouldn’t have surf. However, our team met in the morning and decided to go for it,” Steudtner told Yahoo! about his ride. “They were huge waves, but it was also very windy. We decided to stay together, I grabbed the tow rope and caught three waves. I was lucky on my third ride. The wave face was smooth, and there was hardly anyone in the water…I was very lucky to catch the biggest wave of this first big day in Nazaré.”

Steudtner’s epic ride set surfing fans on Twitter into a frenzy:

While Steudtner and other famed big-wave surfers like Ross Clarke-Jones were enjoying the towering waves that rolled in, other towns on the coast were dealing with more tragic consequences of all the storms.

Authorities in the southern region of Algarve reported that the body of an 80-year-old man was found submerged in his car on Monday after severe flooding wreaked havoc on the country’s coastal areas.

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