Alex Botelho in critical condition after Nazare ski accident
Midway through yesterday's Nazare Tow Surfing Challenge, Portuguese surfer Alex Botelho was involved in a serious accident.
After getting caught inside, his team mate Hugo Vau picked him up and then accelerated sideways away from the next incoming wave, however they were surprised by a side wedge moving towards them while Vau was accelerating out of danger.
Vau hit it at speed catapaulting both driver and passenger, but it's unlikely Botelho saw the approaching wave and was cartwheeled into the air.
The webcast footage makes for sobering viewing.
Said the WSL afterwards:
"Alex was rushed to the hospital and we now have an update on his condition. Currently, he is stable and conscious. He will stay at the hospital for further evaluation."
After the 2016 Nazare Challenge - a paddle surf contest - Twiggy Baker cast doubt over ever competing there again, saying on Instagram: "Nazare as a wave is a phenom, as challenging and beautiful as any big wave I've surfed but the dangers involved seem to outweigh the rewards."
The dangers referred to were the size of the waves and unrelenting shorebreak, but Botelho's accident was more unexpected.