Nelscott Reef Big Wave Classic

Surfers have the greenlight to chase one of the world’s scariest waves

November 1, 2010

A big, pumping swell is about to hit the Oregon Coast. And this time of year that can only mean one thing: it’s time for the Nelscott Reef Big Wave Classic. The 2010 edition of the event, which was founded in the waters off of Lincoln City in 2005, gets underway Tuesday morning at 7:30 a.m.

Gnarly doesn’t even begin to describe this thing. An official stop on the Big Wave World Tour, the Nelscott boasts cold, slabby waves in the 40-foot range, with swells expected to be even bigger this year. Consider also the fact that the conditions are so unpredictable, that surfers usually have just 48 hours notice before the competition begins. Upping the hairball factor even more, this year, instead of having the help of a jet ski to access the goliath waves like in years past, the Nelscott turns strictly retro: competitors will paddle-in just as Mother Nature intended. Then there are the sharks—event founder John Forse survived a Great White attack near Lincoln City in the late 90s.

Every man for himself? Think again. This year there’s a new women’s exhibition, too.

If you want to view the insanity, grab your binoculars (these guys—and gals—will be about a half-mile out) and drive up to the hill at the top of SW Coast Avenue in Lincoln City —which is probably as close as most of us would want to get anyway.

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