Mirror mirror on the wall, which is the meanest wave of them all?
The Cave is often called Europe’s most dangerous wave. A right-hand slab that involves a delicate dance with fingers of protruding rock and a nearby cliff face. In the past both John John and Kelly have delighted in the challenge posed by the hollow, Portuguese flesh-shredder, which taunts riders to run the gauntlet through its rocky obstacle course. Basque surfer, Artiz Aranburu is another Cave specialist. In the clip below Nic von Rupp and his cohort of well-equipped nomads tackle the Cave while a Nazare ban is in place. The fact many of the crew are on their backhand makes the viewing all the more intriguing. They also engage in four minutes of farcical jet-ski loading which you can take or leave.
It’s interesting to compare The Cave to Sydney’s Cape Solander aka Ours. Both break perilously close to rocks but offer ridiculously round barrels for those willing to take the risk. Solander’s bronco-like backwash has claimed many a victim and the wave has sent dozens of kamikazes screaming to hospital in ambulances. Koby Graham and Justin ‘Jughead’ Allport are amongst those who have suffered major head and neck injuries at Solander.
Jug Head doing the rock dance at The Cape. (Not the day he got hurt)
Which wave is harder to surf, and more dangerous? Guess it depends on the day. The other question – and perhaps the more important one – which one offers the better barrel when all the elements come together?