Famous for surfing, one group of athletes have embraced a new way to engage the massive waves of Nazaré, Portugal.

Located on the Portuguese coast roughly 80 miles north of Lisbon, Nazaré is home to some of the largest ocean swells in the world, sometimes reaching as high as 100 feet. For the Western Riders, a Portuguese slacklining and highlining team comprising José Ferreira, Bertrand Jny, Claudio Dores, Emerson Machado, and Pê Pê, a spot next to the Nazaré Lighthouse presented an opportunity to test the steadfastness and resilience the sport demands. They were joined by Andrey Karr of Russia and Joshua Leupolz of Germany. 

Standing 50 feet above the ocean attached to the line with only a leash, it’s a simple mindset for these athletes: walk or fall. Here, Emerson Machado tries to keep walking, pausing to balance himself as a wave consumes him on his way back to the cliff.

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