Portugal’s Most Challenging Adventure Is an 85-foot Tight Rope Walk

walktheline
 Aidan Williams

JUST OFF THE RUGGED COASTLINE of Praia do Norte, in Nazaré, Portugal, lies the iconic Pedra do Guilhim, a roughly 50-foot rock where colossal waves break at heights that envelop the crag. Standing on a nearby cliff and facing the ocean’s powerful surge, Australian photographer Aidan Williams captured slackliner Andrey Karr above the rocky waters using a Fujifilm XT2, just as a wave crashed behind him. Karr successfully traversed the nearly 85-foot line, though Williams says it was tough going. “It’s hard enough just staying on a line, but here the waves can knock you off,” he says. “Even taking the photograph was difficult.”

The quiet seaside town has become an adventurers’ retreat, where slackliners and surfers alike come to experience the raw natural forces: a place where record-breaking waves of over 100 feet have been known to pound the coast. “You’re constantly confronted by different elements, like the water or the wind,” Williams says. “I’d seen massive waves before, but seeing this right in front of you is something you can’t believe.”

Williams has developed something of an obsession with slacklining, traveling the world to photograph adventurers crossing deep canyons in Utah and mountain ranges in Switzerland during turbulent snowstorms. “The belief is that your life is literally on the line,” he says. “And I fell in love with it.”