Hugging the coast of scenic Nazaré in western Portugal, the famed Praia do Norte beach has become a hotspot for big wave surfers from across the globe due to its record-breaking swells.
The coastline boasts some of the largest waves ever surfed, drawing the sport’s top competitors and producing some of the most impressive feats ever seen in professional surfing.
But last February, the site also became the scene of a narrow escape and a shining act of heroism when one surfer met with a near-fatal encounter with the waves.
Longtime surfer Salvador Villas-Boas is no stranger to the dangers of the ocean. But when he wiped out in one of the most perilous impact zones in Nazaré, the sportsman reached a new level of risk.
Villas-Boas was riding a massive swell when he suddenly crashed, hitting the water at full speed. The area near the wipe-out was bordered by rocks.
Watching as Villas-Boas was buried under the powerful surf, professional jet ski rescuer Ramon Laureano saw the surfer’s struggle and realized the magnitude of the danger he was in. He hopped aboard his jet ski and headed out, just as the next wave was rising.
There was only a quick window between the crushing waves, but Laureano saw his chance and took it.
The footage of the rescue, captured by onlooker Pedro Miranda, shows the moment Laureano reached Villas-Boas, extending a hand in the nick of time.
The surfer clutched the back of the jet ski and was pulled to safety, pursued by a black wall of water as the rescuer raced away.
The jet ski then flipped under the impact of the next wave, knocking both men into the water. Thankfully, the risk in that part of the surf wasn’t nearly as high, and by the time the jet ski toppled, the men were safe.
Newsflare reported Miranda’s description of the scene as he watched from the shore.
“This rescue in particular was truly one of the most heroic moments I witnessed out there. With more than 20 years of big wave experience, Ramon performed one of the most difficult rescues one can attempt in Nazaré.”
Laureano’s courage and quick thinking likely saved Villas-Boas’ life.
“To pick up someone directly on the first peak’s impact zone between waves is something you don’t see every day here. Ramon was a real hero, no doubt!” Miranda said.
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