Antoine Albeau—Belharra Reef, France from Hercules Hits Europe
Hercules Hits Europe
Antoine Albeau—Belharra Reef, France
Belharra Reef, on France's southwest coast in Basque country, was where some of the world's top big wave surfers gathered this week to catch the monster waves that winter storm Hercules brought to Europe. French windsurfer Antoine Albeau—the fastest windsurfer on Earth according to SurferToday.com—didn't have to travel too far to catch this beast, sans sail.
Jamie Mitchell—Belharra Reef, France
Aussie paddleboard champ Jamie Mitchell shows what he can do with his arms. He paddled into this 60-odd-foot giant—reported the be the largest of the day—without the help of a jet ski. It might have even been a paddle-in record, had he not wiped out halfway down the face, that is. His consolation prize is leaderboard status for Billabong XXL's "Wipeout of the Year" award and a commemorative t-shirt.
Hercules Hits Nazaré, Portugal
The star of big wave surfing in 2013 was the small Portuguese fishing town of Nazaré, where twice big wave records were thought to have been broken (the jury's still out) and one big-name surfer nearly drowned. Hundred-foot waves or no, the Portuguese navy deemed conditions too unsafe for surfing this time around.
Three Surfers, One Wave—Belharra Reef, France
Red Bull published a photo of what appears to be the same wave, naming the surfer on the left as Grant "Twiggy" Baker. If this is in fact the same wave, the South African's omission from the Billabong photo would make sense, given that the company "fired" him earlier this year for lackluster performance. He seems to be doing just fine here.