Are We Not Entertained?
Jamie Mitchell wins the Nazarè Challenge.
Nazaré gets a bad novelty wrap. But today the rolling mountain of water delivered and sent the boys head first and heels second. And later, presumably to the chiropractor, especially after some of the spills Nic Lamb took in the final. To paddle Portugal’s premiere big wave at 35-foot-plus is a feat in itself, and watching men fight the offshore winds, grab rail, make it down the face and bail in the frothing, swirl of the closeout excites just enough. Still, it isn’t Jaws, the Bay or Ours and as spectators our perception has been warped by the big wave theatrics of 2015/2016. Today, a wave of consequence without a barrel section just doesn’t thrill–not to take away from what the competitors are doing out there, regardless it’s mad, just from the comfort of sofas, office chairs, bed sheets and pixels; we crave madder. Like Romans in the Coliseum, we thirst for death-defying theatrics with no intentions of throwing ourselves in the ring. Hypocritical, maybe. But just because NASCAR is slow viewing doesn’t mean the skill it takes to whip around lefthand banks at high speeds should go unrewarded. However, compared to some big wave events of the past, the Nazaré challenge had its moments.
So today, in Portugal, Australian Jamie Mitchell won the inaugural BWT Nazaré Challenge in fine form. The underwater canyon produced three-to-four story slopes, and the world’s best big wave surfers took to the break with aplomb.
“I have never made a final before today so to win is unreal,” said Jamie. “I knew I was close to doing well in a whole event. To put together a whole contest from start to finish is actually more exciting than just the win today.”
The 2009 Big Wave Tour Champion, 49-year-old Carlos Burle found himself in the second spot. He waved his Brazilian flag and moved up to the fourth in the BWT rankings. “I’m super proud of my body, it was a tough event all-around in this cold weather, dropping huge waves and getting pounded all day long,” said Carlos after the event. “I made the final and came close to winning against the best guys in the world. This is my last season as a competitor, but I will keep this great memory and hopefully leave a legacy for the next generation.”
1- Jamie Mitchell 23.94
2- Carlos Burle 13.00
3- Joao De Macedo 10.84
4- Pedro Calado 9.34
5- Nic Lamb 3.00
6- Antonio Silva 0.20
SF 1: Pedro Calado 21.27, Nic Lamb 17.34, Joao De Macedo 14.83, Grant Baker 10.30, Aaron Gold 9.67, Damien Hobgood 0.20
SF 2: Jamie Mitchell 22.16, Carlos Burle 15.33, Antonio Silva 10.44, Trevor Carlson 6.20, Christian Merello 0.20, Hugo Vau 0.20
Round One Results:
Heat 1: Joao De Macedo 22.13, Damien Hobgood 19.00, Aaron Gold 11.66, Greg Long 11.29, Kealii Mamala 11.26, Gabriel Villaran 10.67
Heat 2: Nic Lamb 14.27, Grant Baker 13.67, Pedro Calado 10.49, Alex Botelho 9.00, Andrew Cotton 6.40, Koa Rothman 0.00
Heat 3: Cristian Merello 20.83, Trevor Carlson 14.36, Antonio Silva 12.14, Kai Lenny 11.67, Billy Kemper 11.39, Nic Von Rupp 8.37
Heat 4: Jamie Mitchell 25.24, Hugo Vau 24.93, Carlos Burle 19.81, Will Skudin 11.73, Ramon Navarro 11.66, Tom Butler 3.54
WSL BWT Rankings Top Five:
1 – Grant Baker – 25,018 points
2 – Pedro Calado – 21,943 points
3 – Greg Long – 21,921 points
4 – Carlos Burle – 18,175 points
5 – Jamie Mitchell – 15,690 points
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