Fliteboarding the biggest waves in the world at Nazaré
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
Every great accomplishment starts with an idea. In January 2022, Glyn Ovens and Tom Court brought theirs into reality, as the first people to ride the giant waves of Nazaré on a Fliteboard.
The objective: Push the possibilities of what size waves could be ridden on an eFoil
Both from the UK, the two got together based on their passion for hydrofoils. Glyn Ovens is an accomplished waterman in multiple disciplines. He has a strong drive for riding the biggest waves possible. Tom Court is a professional kitesurfer and multiple discipline athlete. As an eFoil race champion, he has experience pushing Fliteboards to their max speed. However, this time the water would be vertical not horizontal. It introduced a lot of questions about what setup would perform best in these extreme conditions.
Riding PRO at Nazaré
After many discussions, the guys decided to use the Race Wing setup, True Glide prop, Fliteboard PRO and Flite Impact Vest. Fliteboard created new negative shims for them in order to handle speed and acceleration with a bit more ease. They used the -1 shim on the rear race wing, which enabled more control at speed.
Beyond the setups, there were tons of other considerations such as skis, drivers, filmers and of course the forecast. With Glyn’s extensive hydrofoiling experience at Nazaré (he bases himself there during winter), he used his background to ensure safety on the water. Waves of that size can have huge consequences for riders and equipment so every detail had to be covered and checked over.
About a week out, Glyn made the call on the forecast. Tom hopped on a plane from the UK to Portugal so they could spend some days together preparing and warming up with the team.
The chosen day had the best conditions of the season. No wind, clear skies and perfectly lined up swell, with walls of water up to 15 metres high. The cliff was packed with spectators and an excited buzz filled the air.
The Big Moment
Stepping off the support ski onto the board was a lonely first step, but once flying and in control of their own destiny, the guys felt at home.
"Once you were on the board, you had to control the ride, speed and also judge the ocean, set waves, position in the line up and make sure you are in the right spot. Making all the decisions yourself, as in the end, you are alone out there if it all goes wrong," said Glyn.
Using the electric motor to propel themselves on huge lumps of water and feeling the speed of the Fliteboard added to the immense energy of the ocean. The two riders flowed together in silence, but for the thunder of the wave, and the roar of the crowd. Consumed by the acceleration and speed, judging the line and staying in control was a fine balance.
After the morning session on the big day, using a single charge of Flitecell Explore, they came in for lunch and compared feedback. After some food, they hit the water again, with renewed energy.
This time it was bigger and they took on 'first peak', directly under the famous Nazaré lighthouse. The huge peaks of ocean energy lined up perfectly for their ride.
The buzz after the day was complete was epic. It’s an experience Glyn and Tom will never forget.
Shop Fliteboard’s new 80cm / 31.5 inch mast to take on bigger waves and carve harder.
Watch the video for some big wave inspiration.