Nazaré is always on the radar for big wave riders, and many of them spend a lot of time hanging around Praia do Norte, waiting for giant waves. As a result, many receive nominations to WSL’s Big Wave Awards, as was the case for a very courageous French lady, Justine Dupont.

2018 was a remarkable year for Justine, who closed it with her first-ever Hydro Flask Best Overall Performance of the Year Award and the XXL Biggest Wave Award for her death-defying ride at Nazaré, in November. The wave measured 53 feet in height and the Seignosse, France, native showed no fear as she raced down the face to conquer the beastly wave.

“This feels like one big dream and I was actually more nervous on stage than I was surfing Nazare (laughs),” Dupont said during the awards ceremony. “I’m so happy with what I was able to do this winter and can’t thank the people who helped me so much enough for pushing me. Now I’m even more excited for the future because my winter was cut short with injury but I’m back at one-hundred percent and ready. I just want to go way bigger now.”