The 2018 Nazaré Challenge was given the green light at the end of last week to commence this past Saturday (10th February). The event which concluded on Sunday saw some less than ‘epic’ conditions where Saturday being called short due to high winds and dangerous surf. Sunday the event was wrapped up in rather ‘small’ conditions which saw the Brazilian charger Lucas “Chumbo” Chianca take home first place.
Late drops, turns, snaps and even a floater on his 10-foot-plus gun set Chumbo apart from the competition and led him to the final heat win against Billy Kemper, Naxto Gonzalez, Kai Lenny, Grant “Twiggy” Baker and Nathan Florence. The young Brazilian is viewed in the Big Wave Surf community as one of the most fearless up and comers in the sport.
“I am stoked to win this event,” Chianca said. “Thank you to everyone for all of their support. I am grateful to win this event and all these guys competing are so crazy and inspiring. It was hard because when you get the call for BWT events, it is at the last minute. We flew here as soon as we got the call, were a bit tired, and then just went straight into the competition the next day. The waves yesterday were so gnarly and scary. And then today, we were on again. I am super stoked. Thank you.”
With his runner-up finish, Maui charger Billy Kemper took the lead from fellow Maui islander Kai Lenny in the Big Wave Tour rankings. Mavericks is the last stop on the Big Wave Tour and the waiting period for the significant swell to run the event ends on February 28, 2018. If Mavericks does not run then Kemper will be the 2017/2018 season Big Wave Tour Champion.
“I am over the moon right now,” said Kemper. “First and foremost, I want to thank the country of Portugal. All of the people here are absolutely amazing and this place is beautiful. The warm welcome that you give all of us surfers is next to none. I am very thankful. I came here with that goal to make the final and do as best as I could.”
Nazaré Challenge Final Results:
1 – Lucas Chianca (BRA) 21.39
2 – Billy Kemper (HAW) 14.33
3 – Natxo Gonzalez (EUK) 13.83
4 – Kai Lenny (HAW) 13.23
5 – Grant Baker (ZAF) 12.23
6 – Nathan Florence (HAW) 10.89
Nazaré Challenge Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Lucas Chianca (BRA) 14.91, Billy Kemper (HAW) 13.17, Nathan Florence (HAW) 13.13, Alex Botelho (PRT) 12.31, Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 11.93, Peter Mel (USA) 11.63
SF 2: Kai Lenny (HAW) 18.70, Natxo Gonzalez (EUK) 17.69, Grant Baker (ZAF) 16.99, Nic von Rupp (PRT) 11.43, Ian Walsh (HAW) 11.04, Tom Lowe (GBR) 10.51
Nazaré Challenge Round One Results:
Heat 1: Lucas Chianca (BRA) 17.63, Billy Kemper (HAW) 16.33, Nathan Florence (HAW) 14.31, João de Macedo (PRT) 11.56, Hugo Vau (PRT) 9.43, Pedro Calado (BRA) 7.13
Heat 2: Peter Mel (USA) 15.43, Alex Botelho (PRT) 14.23, Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 9.66, Tom Butler (GBR) 3.14, Carlos Burlé (BRA) 0.00, Aaron Gold (HAW) 0.00
Heat 3: Nic von Rupp (PRT) 20.23, Kai Lenny (HAW) 20.23, Natxo Gonzalez (EUK) 17.57, Francisco Porcella (ITA) 14.11, Cristian Merello (CHL) 12.77, Makuakai Rothman (HAW) 11.39
Heat 4: Tom Lowe (GBR) 15.10, Grant Baker (ZAF) 13.84, Ian Walsh (HAW) 12.90, Nic Lamb (USA) 11.43, Antonio Silva (PRT) 6.06, Kealii Mamala (HAW) 5.00