If you have a death wish and also want to attempt to ride gargantuan waves that are taller than most apartment buildings then you go to Nazaré, Portugal. This is one of the best places on the planet for humungous waves. A young man tempted fate by trying to surf one of these monster waves and paid the price when a whopper of a wave destroyed him. The sea was angry that day, my friends.
Russell Bierke dared to surf Nazaré and the 21-year-old encountered a towering 60-foot wave. Everything was going swimmingly until the mammoth wave caught up to him and took out his board. Bierke was wiped out and was swallowed alive by the avalanche of whitewater. The force of the ocean dragged the young Australian surfer underwater.
The rescue jetski, which was driven by 2018 Nazaré Challenge Winner Lucas “Chumbo” Chianca, was attempting to locate Bierke while also not smashing over him because the water was churned up into a foamy mess. Finally, Bierke was rescued and taken back to shore.
“This was by far my longest hold down ever! I barely got a breath before the second wave landed on me,” Bierke said. “Feeling pretty sore today, got a good whiplash when I skipped in front of the wave, but no injuries which is good. Felt like I could barely walk up the beach when I got there.”
That moment when your responsibilities catch up with you after putting them off all week.
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Things could have been far worse for Bierke. Last year, fellow surfer Andrew Cotton literally broke his back while surfing a 50-foot wave at Nazaré.
Pedro Miranda, who captured Bierke’s wipeout on video, also caught the moment that British big wave legend Tom Lowe ate it at Nazaré.
Did nobody tell these daredevils who are teasing the Grim Reaper that boogie boarding 8-foot waves in Florida is pretty exhilarating in its own right? BONUS: No breaking your back to smithereens or risking having to eat through a straw for the rest of your life.