The last-minute arrival of a heavy Atlantic swell onto the shores of Cape Verde sharpened the wits and skills of pro rider Clement Roseyro and pro photographer Samuel Cardenas, as they made their way out into the beefy line-up…

Photos: Samuel Cardenas

Clement Roseyro

The day before there had been no waves, no sign of any swell until the sunset…

I tried to get a good night’s sleep, but I woke around 6am, and headed to the beach at 6.30 with my friend Jerome Cloetens and photographer Samuel Cardenas. It was still dark, but we could hear the waves and saw the first wave closeout on the beach. The swell was there, clearly, but I didn’t get any real idea of what the size of the waves outside might be. But I knew it was going to be big…

We prepared all the gear, but it was still not windy at all. Then at around 8.30am the wind started to pick up, so Jerome headed out on the water with the 5m wing. He paddled for 10 minutes before he found enough wind to get up and wing, as it was so light.

After a kilometer run downwind, I arrived at the line-up and had a look around. Jerome had crashed on his first wave and was furiously paddling out of the impact zone. I could feel the power of the waves that were in front of me. I had a quick check of my surroundings, and then I took my first wave. I was saying to myself, “Okay, today can either be THE day or the LAST day. So let’s focus 100%.”

My first wave was one of the biggest. I dropped into it like I was being towed into it, trying to get as much speed into it as I can. When I started my bottom turn, I didn’t check if the wave was closing out or if I was too deep. When I finally checked, I was a bit late and a little too deep. I have the sensation that if I were to let go of my wing, I could get into the barrel. But with the wing leash on, it simply wasn't possible. The lip almost got me, but I made it!

I then get one that’s even bigger than the one before, even more glassy, so I took the risk and went for it. The barrel was so gigantic! Square-ish, like a bus… I was as deep as foiling allows, right on the edge, with the seething white water right behind me. It was one of the biggest and heaviest waves I’ve ever had on a foil.

All in all, it might have been my best day of 2022. But now, in retrospect, I realize it was extremely dangerous; especially considering that the spot is in a remote location with barely any rescue or any safety procedures that a place like this definitely requires. We have to prepare better than that, just as we do when we surf in Nazaré or in the south of France. More planning ahead, and at the very least an impact vest and a helmet. In that size wave, having a leash on the board isn’t a great idea, and the same goes for the one on the wing. It’s a whole different ball game on slab waves like that.

Before we went out, I honestly didn’t expect that we could ride so deep with a foil on such hollow waves! Now that we know it's possible, let's get out there again, let's push the sport of foiling further and further! Who' s in?

Samuel Cardenas (Photographer) 

A few years back, my good friend Jerome Cloetens went to Cape Verde in search of this giant wave to kitesurf. At the time, I had another job. I still remember the envy I felt when I saw the photos of that monster! I knew next time I would go, with no excuses, and so I did. However, this time we brought with us wing foils. At the point, I had no idea of the experience I was going to live out in that spot…

It all started with Jerome’s idea, going to surf this monster of a wave with a wing and a foil. Everything was a bit improvised in the meantime, because we expected a big swell to show up at any moment. So we spent 10 days taking photos and videos in average wave and wind conditions, but the swell was still nowhere to be seen. In fact, it didn’t arrive until just a few hours before we were due to leave for the airport for the flight back to Spain. It seemed like fate wanted us to stay.

The wave that Clement, Jerome and Wesley Brito had planned to surf was quite far out into the ocean, and the only way to reach it was by boat. As I was getting deeper and deeper into the sea, I could feel the force of the ocean and the waves growing stronger. My nerves started to settle in. Once we arrived, what I was feeling at that moment was beyond words… Such a huge body of water moving around, creating these perfect and beautiful structures. I got to see Mother Nature steaming towards us at full force.

It was a shame that we only got one session at that size, but it's something that I will never forget and, hopefully, we will return one day.    

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