Early Monday morning, Carlos Burle pulled off a mind-blowing feat while tow surfing waves the size of city buildings. At Praia do Norte in Nazaré, Portugal, monstrous waves poured in from the depths of the largest underwater canyon in Europe-the Nazaré North Canyon. Not only did Carlos save the life of his tow partner, fellow Brazilian Maya Gabeira, but after doing so, he went out himself and caught his only wave of the day-possibly the biggest wave ever surfed. This is real life proof of a fantastic karma boomerang.
As if that wasn't enough, during Carlos' only ride of the day, he narrowly escaped an ominous fate himself. After surrendering the towrope to the Jet Ski in front of him, he surfed the entire wave, not kicking out to safety after making it down the aqueous mountain.
A foolish decision some might say, given that another mountain was bearing down on him, but according to an email from Hélio Valentim, a videographer who was on site all day, Carlos' mentality was "today or never!" Not only did he make the wave, but he was scooped from the jaws of death.
What is arguably more insane than Carlos Burle towing Maya Gabeira into the wave of a lifetime, subsequently saving her life, returning to the lineup to surf history's biggest wave, almost dying himself and being saved by his tow partner is the fact a select few American surf outlets covered it within twelve to twenty-four hours of it happening. For an event of this magnitude, a notable lag time. To be clear, plenty of European surfing outlets covered the story-arguably because it happened in their backyard. That does not mean it's not news in the States. It required international news outlets reporting on it before most of surfing jumped on the bandwagon.
This stands out because when Garrett McNamara set the world record on February 5, 2013, for famously riding a roughly 100-foot wave, the surfing world, for the most part, wrote it off. It was dismissed because the wave he rode, which was at the exact same spot as Carlos' and Maya's rides, was mushier than big waves at other spots and didn't break top to bottom. Apparently, that's a dealbreaker for discerning surf pundits. Point is: little person, giant wave, and the way the situation was handled surprised me, to say the least. The same goes for the most recent situation at Nazaré. How is this not celebrated in the streets, exclaimed from rooftops or, more appropriately, given adequate real-time coverage? If someone surfs the world's biggest wave in Portugal, and no one reports on it, did it ever really happen?