The 2018 Nazaré Challenge concluded today in significantly smaller surf than yesterday’s “smashville” conditions. “I’m winded. Even though it’s not the size it was yesterday it still packs a punch,” event competitor Peter Mel said after his heat.
Brazilian charger Lucas “Chumbo” Chianca took an aggressive approach to the hulking peaks of Nazaré throughout the event. Chianca’s late drops, turns, snaps and even a floater (clip below) on his 10-foot-plus gun set him apart from the pack and led him to wins in both his semifinal heat and the final against Billy Kemper, Naxto Gonzalez, Kai Lenny, Grant “Twiggy” Baker and Nathan Florence. While this marks the first Big Wave Tour event win for Chianca, his victory should come as no surprise as the young Brazilian is widely seen as one of the most fearless up and comers in the big-wave community today and a perennial standout at Nazaré.
“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 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.
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