May 13, 2021

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Big Wave Surfer Lucky To Be Alive After Brutal Nazaré Wipeout

You have to doff your caps to the brave souls who take on the world’s most notorious big wave surf spot, Portugal’s Nazaré.

Earlier this week, the inaugural World Surf League’s Nazaré Tow Surfing Challenge took place, and it’s an event that pro surfer Alex Botelho and his partner Hugo Vau will never forget.

After a wipeout on a monster wave, Botelho was rescued by the jetski-riding Vau. At this point, things really took a nasty turn, and an approaching wave slammed into the pair.

Rescue crews quickly found Vau, but Botelho couldn’t be located. When he was spotted, he was floating facedown in the water, and onlookers feared the worst.

Here’s the footage:

Thankfully, this one has something of a happy ending, reports the Guardian:

He was taken to hospital where his condition was being monitored.

“Currently, he is stable and conscious,” the World Surf League said. “He will stay at the hospital for further evaluation. A heartfelt thank you to the safety and medical teams for their quick response. We are wishing Alex a full and speedy recovery.”

Props to those who hauled him out of the water, and to all the surfers and jetski riders who can summon the courage to take on these beasts, which some say can reach up to 30 metres (100 feet) in size.

Waves at Nazaré are increased by a three-mile-deep underwater canyon that ends where the Atlantic Ocean meets the shoreline.

Not every ride ended in disaster, so here are some of the highlights from the event:

Surfer picked Kai Lenny as the event’s best performer, and sometimes images, rather than videos, give you a better sense of what he was taking on:

Photo Credit: Machado

Photo Credit: Mestre

Equal parts inspiring and terrifying.