When Nazare goes into XL mode, you can count on a couple things; one, there’s going to be some gigantic, scary waves ridden, and two, there’s going to be some hair-raising paddle, full send scenarios. On Wednesday, after the hype from the season opening swell had died down, 38-year-old Andres Flores paddled out into the lineup – and got lit up attempting to exit one of the tallest paddle waves of the week.
“It was a very difficult day for paddling,” he told MSW, moments before boarding a plane from London en route to JFK on his way back home to the Dominican Republic. “There was some bump in the face and a lot of wind. I tried to paddle into the first wave of the set, I missed it but it put me in the perfect position for the second wave. No matter what, I had to go, because there were three more behind that one.
Live Cam: Nazare
“Might’ve been a good thing I missed that first wave though, because the second wave was cleaner, despite the wind and craziness from the storm. I paddled in, and the view from the barrel was epic.
“I got washed to the beach [laughs]. No ski came to the rescue and I really don’t ever count on that; sometimes they give me a ride but I understand, they’re in teams, and I don’t expect it. I started surfing here in 2016, so just did my normal thing of catching one wave per session.
Andres was riding an 11’0” balsa board shaped by Gary Linden. “Gary’s a mentor of mine,” he said. “I’ve been riding his boards since 2007 when I started surfing big waves in California. Since then, he’s been like a dad, a total inspiration.”
Full send of the season so far? Maybe. AAA+ for commitment? Absolutely.