Stab Magazine | Lucas "Chumbo" Chianca Wins WSL Big (Medium) Wave Challenge At Nazare

Lucas “Chumbo” Chianca Wins WSL Big (Medium) Wave Challenge At Nazare

Ever seen someone do a floater on a 10′ gun?

news // Feb 12, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Lucas “Chumbo” Chianca strokes into a grumpy 8-foot wave, sluggishly hooks it up the face, does an undersized turn on an oversized board, drops a layback, and milks it all the way to the beach.

This is how the 2018 WSL Big Wave Tour Nazare Challenge was won.

The event was Green Lit in expectation of very big waves yesterday. And it did run in pretty big waves yesterday — for a total of two heats.

Then, with a rising swell and bad winds, it was deemed too risky to push on. So they pulled the plug and hoped this morning would be better.

It was not.


PeterMel Laurent Masurel 02 1

Former Big Wave Tour Commish, Peter Mel, sending it in Round 1 heat 2, which saw the only true XXL conditions of the event.



Unless your idea of better is 8-foot grumpy waves.

So, there was a bit of a predicament this morning. What to do? Call it off and split the points and prize money? That sounded dull.

People came here from all over the world. Might as well wax up the ol’ guns and see what happens.

Someone’s gotta win, right?

Lucas was that person today.



Big, bumpy, and beyond uninviting.


Joao Bracourt.


While the first two rounds saw a few moments of big, wide-open brilliance, the spectacle would be short-lived, only two rounds running before conditions went south.


Joao Bracourt

And it’s worth mentioning, Lucas could have easily been that person if it was 25-foot and perfect.

Chumbo’s had himself a hell of a year, making noise every swell, even wrangling the wave of the day at wildly oversized Mavericks a month or two ago.

But today was anyone’s game.

The problem with big wave contests is that they are often wave catching contests. Lucas found himself in the right place at the right time, he surfed with more spark than anyone. It looked like someone gave Italo Ferreira a 10’0”.

I mean, he did a fucking floater.

When the event was greenlit four days ago, the press release mentioned “dangerous whitewater speeds.” Which was funny.

It also mentioned the high probability of sour winds. Which was strange. Sure, there was a hell of a swell lining up with Nazare. But considering the winds, that green light had a curious glow to it.


2018 02 10 Nazare Contest day 1 6

Nathan Florence fresh from Hawaii and familiarizing himself with thick neoprene and and impact vest.


Aitor Molina.

2018 02 10 Nazare Contest day 1 34

Ian Walsh and the boys hanging cliffside, trying to make sense of the massive lumps of water pinballing across the half-mile-wide lineup in front of them.


Aitor Molina.

2018 02 10 Nazare Contest day 1 38

Making a point to blast over from the Basque Country whenever it turns on, Natxo Gonzalez (left) has spent many a morning developing his theories about the fabled Atlantic beachbreak.


Aitor Molina

The writing was on the wall in terms of the forecast. What did they think was going to happen?

Well, it should be noted that the BWT season ends on February 28th, so you can understand why they’d want to squeeze another event into World Title tally. The BWWTour operates with a system that enjoys incredibly long waiting periods and employs a strange qualification and points structure.

Complicated and arcane. Like big wave surfing.

So, you can chalk this one up as a ‘W’ for Lucas and something of an ‘L’ for the WSL. The League is still grappling with how to run big wave events. On one hand, these events should make perfect sense – nothing peaks mainstream interest like a massive wave. When the Eddie ran two years ago, it smashed viewership records, drawing 1.2 million eyeballs to the live stream.

2018 02 10 Nazare Contest day 1 19

The AM scene on Day 1.


Aitor Molina.


Certain death on the cliffs below.


Joao Bracourt.


Praia Grande’s finest, Joao De Macedo came out of his early Round heat with a hell of a shiner, but nothing that won’t add to the Portuguese goofyfoots’ good looks.


Aitor Molina.

But attaining consistent success running these events continues to prove borderline impossible, dealing with an unpredictable ocean in a situation where conditions are what matter most, and even in the best case scenarios, fans endure 25-minute, trivia and surfy small talk-filled lulls. Not exactly ideal for live streaming to a broad audience.

At the end of the day, it’s insanely difficult to strike the balance between trying to kill a person on live TV (Red Bull Cape Fear), trying to create a legitimate World Big Wave World Tour, and trying to authoritatively decide the world’s best surfer in heavy waves.

But the WSL is making large—or, at least medium—steps towards figuring it all out. And for that, we tip our cap.


Despite falling just shy of the win to Lucas Chumbo (right), Maui’s Billy Kemper’s runner-up finish pushes the Hawaiian to #1 on the BWW Tour rankings.



board drag

A “how to” on big wave board transport.


Aitor Molina

walk down

There won’t be many cheater 5’s thrown down on this longboard.


Aitor Molina


The top 3 from left to right, Billy Kemper, Lucas Chianca, Natxo Gonzalez.


Aitor Molina

Nazaré Challenge Final Results:

1 – Lucas Chianca (BRA) 21.39
2 – Billy Kemper (HAW) 14.33
3 – Natxo Gonzalez (EUK) 13.83
4 – Kai Lenny (HAW) 13.23
5 – Grant Baker (ZAF) 12.23 6 – Nathan Florence (HAW) 10.89

Nazaré Challenge Semifinal Results:

SF 1: Lucas Chianca (BRA) 14.91, Billy Kemper (HAW) 13.17, Nathan Florence (HAW) 13.13, Alex Botelho (PRT) 12.31, Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 11.93, Peter Mel (USA) 11.63
SF 2: Kai Lenny (HAW) 18.70, Natxo Gonzalez (EUK) 17.69, Grant Baker (ZAF) 16.99, Nic von Rupp (PRT) 11.43, Ian Walsh (HAW) 11.04, Tom Lowe (GBR) 10.51

Nazaré Challenge Round One Results:

Heat 1: Lucas Chianca (BRA) 17.63, Billy Kemper (HAW) 16.33, Nathan Florence (HAW) 14.31, João de Macedo (PRT) 11.56, Hugo Vau (PRT) 9.43, Pedro Calado (BRA) 7.13
Heat 2: Peter Mel (USA) 15.43, Alex Botelho (PRT) 14.23, Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 9.66, Tom Butler (GBR) 3.14, Carlos Burlé (BRA) 0.00, Aaron Gold (HAW) 0.00
Heat 3: Nic von Rupp (PRT) 20.23, Kai Lenny (HAW) 20.23, Natxo Gonzalez (EUK) 17.57, Francisco Porcella (ITA) 14.11, Cristian Merello (CHL) 12.77, Makuakai Rothman (HAW) 11.39
Heat 4: Tom Lowe (GBR) 15.10, Grant Baker (ZAF) 13.84, Ian Walsh (HAW) 12.90, Nic Lamb (USA) 11.43, Antonio Silva (PRT) 6.06, Kealii Mamala (HAW) 5.00


Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent


UPDATE: People Are Still Surfing ‘La Jetee’ in Reunion Island

Returning to the best & sharkiest air wave in the world, as seen in Mod…

Aug 14, 2022

Gallery: Peter Schroff Fields Out Of Bounds

Chainsaw massacre (HB edition).

Aug 14, 2022

These Are Your Favorite (Female) Surfers

What the Stab reader survey teaches us about taste.

Aug 14, 2022


Kelly and Local Gal to Win Teahupo’o?

Local insights and a firing forecast.

Aug 13, 2022

These Are Your Favorite (Male) Surfers

Insights from the 2022 Stab Reader survey.

Aug 13, 2022


Fear And Loathing in Mainland Mex

Parker Coffin, Harry Roach, and the Roark crew embark on an authentic Oaxacan (surf) trip.

Aug 13, 2022

Tahiti Preview: The End Of The Road For 72% Of The CT

And hello there, blob of swell.

Aug 12, 2022


While Everyone Flocked To Tahiti, Kelly Stayed in Jbay

...And proceeded to rip the hell out of it on a "borrowed" 5-finned Tomo.

Aug 11, 2022


Can A GQ Cover Boy Take Out Teahupo’o?

Kauli Vaast is your incredibly handsome Tahiti trials winner.

Aug 11, 2022

Watch: Ramble On With Caity Simmers 

An action-rich tour behind the scenes of her triumphant first voyage to Oz.

Aug 11, 2022

PSA: Surf Filmers Not Welcome In Nicaragua

Cameras and drones are being seized on arrival, Stab spoke with two recent visitors.

Aug 11, 2022

Inside The Alternative Surfboard Marketing Machine 

Two of the biz's best — Matt Parker and Blake Peters — spill many beans.

Aug 10, 2022

The Tragic Parallels Between The Murder Of Ricardo Dos Santos & 8x World Jiu Jitsu Champion Leandro Lo

Two Brazilian sporting icons killed brazenly by off-duty police officers.

Aug 9, 2022

The Pick-Up, Vans US Open: In The Belly Of The Beast

Finger flips, shaping with Zion Wright, slurpees, Hawaiian takeovers, and the king of Surfline rewinds.

Aug 8, 2022

Albee Layer Discusses His Not-So-Budding Acting Career And The Upcoming Film “Sweet Adventure”

"Matt and Nora were tripping a little harder than I was just because they weren't…

Aug 8, 2022

Zeke Lau & Bettylou Sakura Johnson Win The Vans US Open Of Surfing 

Hawaii dominates HB.

Aug 8, 2022

How A Former CT Surfer Gets “Absolute Beginners” Barreled In A Matter Of Months

Luke Stedman elaborates on his Blackball surf programs.

Aug 7, 2022


Sweeter Than Stolen Honey 

A versatile Haydenshapes x Dylan Graves HP (and soft board) tested in weird waves.

Aug 7, 2022