Nazaré is one of Portugal’s most popular surfing destinations. However, this isn’t a place for all. It is known for big wave surfing, so it is common to see experts in the water. If you are a beginner, the water conditions are quite rough, which might make the place quite unsafe. Nonetheless, there are times of the year when the water is tamer, so the waves aren’t as big as they usually are.
Do you want to learn how to successfully ride a big wave in Nazaré? Keep on reading and learn from the insights we’ll share in this short article.
1. Build Your Endurance
One of the first things that you need to do is to build physical strength. The waves will be big, so your body must be able to handle them properly. This will especially be helpful when it comes to paddling. Work on the endurance of your shoulders and arms, which will allow you to paddle easily. When you have good endurance, paddling will not be exhausting, and you will have more energy to tackle the big waves.
2. Work on Your Mental Strength
Aside from physical endurance, mental strength will also come handy when you are surfing big waves in Nazaré. You need to prepare mentally knowing that you are facing some of the most dangerous waves in the world. Prepare your mind to be blown for something that you have never seen before. Meditation and yoga can help in your mental preparedness. Visualization techniques will also be effective, which will get your mind ready about the size and strength of the waves that will confront you in Nazaré.
3. Practice Breathing Techniques
A lot may not be aware, but breathing is one of the most important when you are surfing, especially if you are dealing with big waves. Among others, one thing that you need to learn would be the right way of holding your breath. Some experts are saying that you should not ride big waves if you are unable to hold your breath for at least one minute. Practice holding your breath for a minute while you stand still. Then do the same thing when you are walking. Learning how to breathe properly can also be a lifesaver, especially if you fall off the board and there’s a risk of drowning.
4. Observe the Break
Being a keen observer is one of the secrets to riding the big waves in Nazaré successfully. Proceed to the Nazaré lighthouse before you surf. From here, you will not just be able to take in the beautiful view, but you can also study the waves. The wave patterns, effects of wind, and peak location are some of the things that you can identify during observation. This will also help you to be mentally prepared for the waves.
5. Talk to a Pro
Preparation is key when riding big waves. With this, another way by which you can prepare is to talk to experienced big wave surfers. Their expertise will provide you with valuable insights on how to do big wave surfing successfully and safely. Ask around from local surfers. They know the place more than anyone else, so they can share things that you might not be able to find somewhere else.
6. Learn How to Wipeout Like Pro
One of the most difficult things about surfing big waves is a wipeout. Wipeout is one of the crucial skills every surfer needs to know. Some people might think of a wipeout as a failure. However, do not let this be a reason for you to be discouraged. Instead, take this as an opportunity to learn. Figure out what you might have done wrong so that you will know what to do next time. Wiping out properly will not only improve your surfing skills, but it can also save your life, especially considering how big the waves are.
7. Find a Surfing Buddy
Especially if you are riding a big wave for the first time, never to it alone. You might be pumped, but do not think that you can do it by yourself. Regardless of how confident you are about your skills, as a first-timer, there are many things that you have to know yet. When you have a buddy, someone can provide more useful instructions once you are in the water instead of simply relying on your knowledge. Best of all, if you ever experience any kind of mishap, someone will be immediately available to extend a helping hand. You will also benefit from having a jet ski buddy who can direct you to the right big waves.
8. Be Conservative
While you might be excited about riding Nazaré’s big waves for the first time, don’t jump into the water immediately. Take it slowly and have a conservative approach. As mentioned earlier, it will be best to observe the breaks before you ride the waves, which will help in your mental preparation. Talk to the people around, especially those who just rode the big waves.
9. Do Not Go to the Left
This is one of the most important things that every big wave surfer in Nazaré should know. While you might see the waves heading to the left side as a golden opportunity, it can lead you to hell. Aside from huge waves, there are also big rocks. A lot of surfers have already suffered from accidents because they were stubborn. So, know exactly where to head and you can be a lot safer.
10. Practice Makes Perfect
You will most probably not end up getting it right on our first try. You will fall off the board. Wipeouts are common. It is also likely that you will be afraid once the big wave is already in front of you, even if you have already anticipated its size. The most important thing is to not give up. Big wave surfing in Nazaré is not for quitters. It is for passionate and enthusiastic surfers who are always willing to give it another try if they fail on their first attempt. Every failed attempted is an opportunity to correct your mistakes. The more you practice, the more capable you will be of riding the waves.
The mere thought of surfing the big waves of Nazaré can already excite many people. However, take note that this isn’t for everyone. If you lack the experience in this kind of surfing, pay attention to the things mentioned above. They will help you successfully tackle big waves while avoiding safety risks as well.