efe-epaNazaré (Portugal)

The World Surf League which is running its Big Wave Tour Nazare Challenge in a windswept western Portuguese seaside resort decided to call off the event Saturday due to increasingly dangerous conditions.

High wind speeds were forcing surfers to take to the waves in extremely difficult conditions at Nazaré, something that at times meant they could not descend the steep water faces, the organizers said.

"We saw the wind come up really strong out of the northwest," said Big Wave Tour Commissioner Mike Parsons. "It was way too dangerous for the surfers."

The competition had run Round One with surfers from Brazil, Hawaii, Italy and Portugal among the challengers.

The organization said it hoped to resume the competition on Sunday, with the expectation of very large waves.

"XL to possibly XXL NW swell is developing for Nazaré on Saturday the 10th thanks to a strong, double-barreled area of low pressure now stretching over Greenland," a statement said.

"Model guidance indicates that wind of 40-45 knots will develop in this fetch over the next 12-24 hours, with seas of 35-40 feet (up to 12 meters) also expected to develop just east of Greenland."

Event officials are to make the next call early Sunday for a possible 7:30 am WET start, a statement said.