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Photo Sequence:To Mane

At home in Devon my routine is pretty hectic but pretty normal I suppose, getting the kids ready for school, trying not to be late for work, then trying to fit some surf time and training in at the end of the day. At Nazare we usually check the surf first light then make a plan, there are 3 beaches there which all work on different conditions so it’s not always big wave madness at north beach. We train a lot on the skis and make sure everything is tight for when the biggest days come. We also do some cardio work everyday, the whole team is really focused. We eat all our delicious healthy meals at restaurant Celeste on the front, they always look after us, it’s like a home from home.

The mainstream media is so strange with this big wave stuff, they always want to put an exact size on the waves and are obsessed with world records.

For the first time since I can remember we didn’t check the waves that Big Monday morning, skis were launched in the dark as we knew we’d only have a small window. There was a lot of current in the harbour which was unusual and on my first glimpse of the light house I saw this gigantic swell swing into north beach. It was a pretty scary sight knowing I was probably going to be riding one in a few minutes. I started towing with G-Mac first, the swells were going so fast it was really tough. We hadn’t even caught a wave when the other teams turned up and then a couple of mins later I heard everyone freaking out on the radio about Maya, it was a really heavy situation.

The mainstream media is so strange with this big wave stuff, they always want to put an exact size on the waves and are obsessed with world records. For me it’s not so much about that but rather hopefully the media interest will attract a sponsor so I can surf more, but doing those interviews on telly was a real buzz, I think I was more scared being interviewed by Jeremy Paxman than I was surfing on Monday morning.

I’m not shitting myself but I do have a healthy amount of fear and respect for the waves I surf, we’re really safety cautious at Nazare, it’s unlike any other big wave spot I’ve ever been. We have a safety ski for the safety ski... if that makes sense.

Paddling out there is tough, you only really get one shot as paddling back out can be challenging, sometimes impossible. I decided the day before I wasn’t gonna tow and just visualised where I was going to sit and the type of wave I was going to get, I got really lucky that’s for sure. That was the first wave on a brand new 10ft gun, seems to go good, but I need to work on my bottom turn.

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