Tuesday 12 December 2017 / 05:25 PM

WSL BIG WAVE TOUR: NORTHERN HEMISPHERE SEASON OPENS

The world’s best big wave surfers are back on call as the second half of the 2016/17 World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave Tour (BWT) season officially opens today. With a window running from October 15, 2016 to February 28, 2017, the Northern Hemisphere has the potential to run at three of the most treacherous waves on the planet — Nazaré in Portugal, Pe’ahi in Hawaii and Todos Santos in Mexico.

In honor of the arrival of the high surf season, an historic gathering was held today at the iconic lighthouse fortress Farol de Nazaré in Portugal, with big wave surfing elite from around the globe joining local royalty to celebrate the arrival of an all-new event on the WSL Big Wave Tour — the highly-anticipated Nazaré Challenge. The first paddle-in event to take place at the venue that put Portugal on the map as a big wave haven, the Nazaré Challenge festivities included speeches from WSL BWT Commissioner Peter Mel; Gary Linden, Vice President and Founder of the BWT; and the Mayor of Nazaré, Walter Chicarro.

The highlight of the proceedings was a traditional paddle out circle formed by BWT competitors offshore of Praia do Norte, the ultra-powerful beach break in the shadow of the picturesque Nazaré headland.

The paddle out was led by Garrett McNamara, the Hawaiian surfer whose pioneering tow-in exploits at Nazaré garnered global media recognition and a world record for the biggest wave yet ridden. McNamara, a wildcard invitee to the competition, took the opportunity to recount for his fellow competitors of the seafaring history of the region, noting that the very seas they sat upon were notorious as a place of death for fisherman for generations, yet now gives surfers a way to celebrate life.

WSL Big Wave Tour officials will be monitoring swell producing storms for the next four-and-a-half months, watching for the precise conditions that will produce waves in the 30-60 foot range at all three locations. Once the call is made, competitors will have 72 hours notice to be ready to compete.

Another exciting addition to this year’s winter season includes an exclusive Women’s Championship Big Wave event. The Women’s Championship Big Wave event will witness a diverse lineup of the leading waterwomen take on either Pe’ahi or Todos Santos, depending on the conditions. Two Semifinals of 6 women in each heat will narrow the field, with 3 moving on from each Semifinal to the Final.

For more information, check out WorldSurfLeague.com.

See the full competitor lists and alternate lists below (in alphabetical order):

BWT 2016/17 Women’s Big Wave Championship:
Competitors: Paige Alms (HAW), Justine Dupont (FRA), Laura Enever (AUS), Emily Erickson (HAW), Maya Gabeira (BRA), Bethany Hamilton (HAW), Keala Kennelly (HAW), Andrea Moller (BRA), Silvia Nabuco (BRA), Savannah Shaughnessy (USA), Jamilah Star (USA), Bianca Valenti (USA)
Alternates: Makani Adric (HAW), Easkey Britton (IRE), Wrenna Delgado (USA), Felicity Palmateer (AUS), Paulina Ralda (GTM), Tammy Lee Smith (ZAF), Maria Ignacia Valdés (CHL)

BWT 2016/17 Nazaré Challenge
Competitors: Grant Baker (ZAF), Alex Botelho (PRT), Carlos Burle (BRA), Andrew Cotton (UKM), Shane Dorian (HAW), Aaron Gold (HAW), Mark Healey (HAW), Damien Hobgood (USA), Billy Kemper (HAW), Josh Kerr (AUS), Nic Lamb (USA), Albee Layer (HAW), Kai Lenny (HAW), Greg Long (USA), João de Macedo (PRT), Garrett McNamara (HAW), Cristian Merello (CHL), Jamie Mitchell (AUS), Makuakai Rothman (HAW), Antonio Silva (PRT), Hugo Vau (PRT)
Alternates: Tom Butler (UKM), Trevor Sven Carlson (HAW), Pedro Calado (BRA), Tom Lowe (UKM), Ramon Navarro (CHL), Will Skudin (USA), Gabriel Villaran (PER), Nic Von Rupp (PRT), Ian Walsh (HAW)

BWT 2016/17 Pe’ahi Challenge:
Competitors: Grant Baker (ZAF), Carlos Burle (BRA), Shane Dorian (HAW), Aaron Gold (HAW), Mark Healey (HAW), Damien Hobgood (USA), Billy Kemper (HAW), Josh Kerr (AUS), Nic Lamb (USA), Tyler Larronde (HAW), Albee Layer (HAW), Kai Lenny (HAW), Greg Long (USA), Cristian Merello (CHL), Jamie Mitchell (AUS), Dege O’Connell (HAW), Makuakai Rothman (HAW), Francisco Porcella (ITA), Yuri Soledade (BRA), Ian Walsh (HAW), Shaun Walsh (HAW)
Alternates: Kai Barger (HAW), Trevor Sven Carlson (HAW), Pedro Calado (BRA), Tom Dosland (HAW), Marcio Freire (BRA), Ramon Navarro (CHL), Will Skudin (USA), Gabriel Villaran (PER)

BWT 2016/17 Todos Santos Challenge:
Competitors: Grant Baker (ZAF), Carlos Burle (BRA), Shane Dorian (HAW), Aaron Gold (HAW), Alex Gray (USA), Mark Healey (HAW), Damien Hobgood (USA), Billy Kemper (HAW), Josh Kerr (AUS), Nic Lamb (USA), Albee Layer (HAW), Kai Lenny (HAW), Greg Long (USA), Rusty Long (USA), Cristian Merello (CHL), Jamie Mitchell (AUS), Coco Nogales (MEX), Jojo Roper (USA), Makuakai Rothman (HAW), Diego Pertusso (MEX), Vicente Yazbek (MEX)
Alternates: Trevor Sven Carlson (HAW), Pedro Calado (BRA), Ramon Navarro (CHL), Jimel Corzo (MEX), Rogercin Ramirez (MEX), Will Skudin (USA), Nic Vaughan (USA), Gabriel Villaran (PER), Ian Walsh (HAW)

Add Comment

About the author

Commentary Box Sports

Commentary Box Sports invites a forum of truth and uncensored discussion of not only Australia’s greatest pastime, the world's. We offer around the world, up-to-date coverage of the sports we love and live by.

More surfing News

Special Features

PARTNERS