From Nuisance to Natural Wonder: My Trip to the Nazaré Big Wave Challenge

by Jeremy Tang

For over half a decade, I’ve loved watching the Nazaré Big Wave Challenge in Portugal. This extraordinary event showcases surfers taking on colossal waves, sometimes reaching the dizzying heights of 30 meters—the largest the world has to offer.

During a recent trip to Portugal, coinciding with the big wave season, I seized the opportunity to visit this legendary spot. Fortune smiled upon me with perfect weather, though it was so ideal that the iconic waves took a day off ? .

The transformation of Nazaré from a local hazard to a global surfing phenomenon is a story worth noting. Originally, the massive waves were viewed as a menace by the local fishing community, a force that disrupted daily life and work. Although the town was originally discovered by American surfers in the 1960s it wasn’t until 2011 when Garrett McNamara, an American big wave surfer, rode the gargantuan waves of Nazaré, that the area started to get publicity. His exploits unveiled the potential of these waves, turning Nazaré into a magnet for surfers and adventure seekers worldwide.

This remarkable shift—from nuisance to natural wonder—underscores a vital lesson. What we often perceive as obstacles can, through a change in perspective, become sources of opportunity and allure. Nazaré’s evolution is a vivid reminder that there are opportunities in every situation if you approach life with the right attitude. While I didn’t get to see the famous big waves I still managed to get a stunning view of a pristine coastline.

“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” – Epictetus

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