Heading into Thanksgiving this year was different for the Skudin brothers. They didn’t have the traditional turkey dinner at home with their family, instead Will and Cliff were at Newark International Airport grabbing fast food and boarding a plane to Portugal.
“Our eyes have been on Nazare for the past two years, but especially this year as our friends Garrett McNamara and Kealii Mamala spent the entire fall season scoring over there. We kept in touch and monitored every swell,” says Cliff Skudin.
Picking the right one to come across the Atlantic is not so easy. The conditions of the wind and swell change constantly at Nazare. The night before Thanksgiving they saw the reports improving, with the swell up in the 5 meter range accompanied by offshore winds.
“Missing Thanksgiving is tough because family is important, but these opportunities don’t come around very often and the conditions were too good to pass up.”
Garrett has been pioneering Nazare, Portugal for the past 5 years and paving the path there for the big wave community. He has it covered in every aspect, from safety and equipment to the whole North Canyon team of local support, to make it all possible.
Friday, the day before the big day, was a paddle session with waves nearly impossible to catch. The waves funnel through the deepwater north canyon and roll straight into Nazare. Most other big wave spots have a defined lineup, point break, or channel. It makes it very difficult to position for paddling this wave, when it shifts between 3 different peaks. They managed to pick off a couple and also get their share of clean ups and wipeouts.
Early on Saturday morning the swell filled in and the team headed to the harbor to prepare all safety and equipment.
“Once we all got outside and saw the mountains of waves rolling into Nazare we made the call to tow surf.”
It was a full day of broken tow boards, broken ear drums, hyper extended limbs, long hold-downs, daring rescues, and massive rides. Team work is critical at this wave, and because of the right preparation and planning everyone came in safe.
Sounds like a Thanksgiving weekend to remember !!
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