Nazaré, February 28, 2017
While relatively new to the Big Wave Awards, Italian-born Francisco Porcella has quickly made up for lost time, getting himself nominated for four possible honors in the upcoming BWAs.
The 30-year-old was born in Italy but ended up in Hawaii at age 13, and soon found his rhythm. Pe'ahi (aka Jaws) was his thing, but it was only after witnessing the seminal Pe'ahi season of 2011, and seeing heroes Shane Dorian and the late Sion Milosky charging with new found paddle-in vigor, he knew what he was destined to do. In fact, so obsessed did he become that he even found himself living on Pe'ahi Road for a while, as he figured out his big-wave charging act.
When Francisco heard about this swell approaching Nazaré he immediately flew over from Hawaii to meet it, but when the swell made landfall it was wild and very messy and windblown. "It was a little bit stormy, and we were just contemplating it," he said. Then a few other teams started arriving and they made a decision to hit it. Even then it was still pretty difficult.
Then it started cleaning up. Before long Francisco found himself in the slingshot for one of the best waves of the session.
A nice and early entry saw him streaking across the open face as the wave started building up, hitting the bank and jacking. It was a wild ride. As it started unloading the whole picture resembled a snowboarder streaking down a mountainside, but with an avalanche chasing him down that mountain, ready to engulf him.
It was also a long ride, with multiple sections, and he rode it all the way around the corner and into the beachbreak section, where he faced off with an approaching whitewater and escaped over the back to finish off a solid nomination in the Billabong Ride of the Year category.