We’ve seen videos of Nazare’s mega-waves before, including Garrett McNamara b-lining a record-setting 90-foot monster. Old news, right?
Not really. Same date, same place, but these filmmakers cut together an edit that is both beautiful and slaps you in the face with the reality of big-wave surfing.
I love the pre-dawn prep shots. Faces held in concentration as they wait. Then the waves start to build. How big are truly record-breaking waves? I didn’t know until I saw the buildings and people in the foreground and the waves arching up behind. Damn! That’s a big-mountain avalanche of water.
Suddenly, watching those little specks skittering down the face got a lot scarier. The veneer of adventure-film-radness is tempered by the real danger these guys are putting themselves in. The surf rumbles. Jetskis pulling guys out race against a wall of water collapsing on top of them. A surfer loses his balance and begins a slow-motion fall off his board.
Whatever your reaction to the film, there’s one emotion that seems inescapable: respect — for the filmmakers, for the athletes, for Mother Nature.
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Frequent Matador Contributor Eric Warren has lived in various Montana locales including Missoula, Big Sky, Bozeman, and Billings, for 25 years.