Big wave surfing

75cent bleacher seat

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporter
SoSH Member
M

MentalDisabldLst

Guest
Last year I was on the north shore of Oahu watching some 25-30 foot waves and some guys in Waimea Bay tackling them.  Driving on the road parallel to the beach, it still looks like nothing - energetic stuff but not all that different from a normal day.  But once you get on the beach and go down to the edge of the water, and see these towering masses of water rising 4 or 5 times your height and crashing down before you have a chance to think about it... I've never been so scared in my life as I was by the idea of getting out there.  I've gotten wrecked surfing 5-6 foot waves with just sand underneath, and it's a powerless feeling.  I just can't imagine the stones these guys have to get out there at, say, Pipeline, and ride over the top of sharp reef rocks where a little misstep could see a broken leg, a concussion, or worse.  And they're in a spot where, unlike a fixed ski slope or a parachute, the conditions they're on could change in a fraction of a second and they'd be unable to adjust.  For my money, the guys who do big wave surfing are some of the bravest, most fearless people on the planet.
 
 

BroodsSexton

Member
SoSH Member
Feb 4, 2006
10,035
guam
MentalDisabldLst said:
Last year I was on the north shore of Oahu watching some 25-30 foot waves and some guys in Waimea Bay tackling them.  Driving on the road parallel to the beach, it still looks like nothing - energetic stuff but not all that different from a normal day.
 
How much was the car rental?
 
M

MentalDisabldLst

Guest
Free.  We boosted the thing.  Its owner lives there.
 

PaulinMyrBch

Don't touch his dog food
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 10, 2003
8,316
MYRTLE BEACH!!!!
I live at the beach obviously, and while I'm not into it, there is a huge culture in my neighborhood of adults and kids who surf (live to surf).  One friend of mine is a huge surfer (his whole life, really good, his kids nationally ranked, etc) and he's told me numerous times he wouldn't get near a big wave.  It's a different animal, even for those that are die hard surfers.
 
He owns his own business and if swellinfo.com says there's waves, the thing practically shuts down.
 

SoxJox

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 22, 2003
4,310
Rock > SoxJox < Hard Place
Man, if you take a look at the jet ski tow-in guy in Vinho Tinto's post @ #2, I can only imagine what happens to the rider if he fails to make that escape turn over the crest to the left in time.  Can you imagine tumbling with about a 400 pound machine down a 65-degree slope? Ouch.
 
And I have to second Mental's observation that from a distance it might not look like all that much, but when I lived in Oahu a while back and visited the north shore on those north wind "kick up" days, man those waves are another sight to behold up close.
 
M

MentalDisabldLst

Guest
From Wednesday:
 

 
...and they didn't even call the Eddie!  WTF.
 

octoberaroma

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 14, 2005
369
on the lam
The winds were onshore on Wednesday. That is the only reason The Eddie did not run. The size was definitely there but because of the
wind direction the elements just didn't come together. The last time it did run was 2009. That was the first and only time I've gone to watch it.
I spent the entire morning at Waimea Bay that day, watching and taking it all in. By noon there was something like 35,000 people lining the bay.
 

hawaiirsn

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 22, 2006
673
Honolulu, HI
Eddie went. John John Florence wins it.

I didn't realize Clyde was still competing ; he came in 20th.

Totally incredible that Clyde was out there at 66. Got pounded pretty heard on his first heat and came back and had a nice ride. He's wanted to do one last one, but it hasn't gone since 2009 so it's been a long wait for him.

John Grom killed it. Really impressive
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 24, 2002
35,399
Technically, I cannot overemphasize how sick this is.

A top-to-bottom wave, 50 degree water, rocks everywhere (if you watch the video, note the "boils" that form as the wave passes over rocks on the bottom - they aren't that far down so its easy to see how falling in that spot and being driven underwater by thousands of pounds of H2O is suboptimal).

I know the big wave community is focused on the recent waves ridden at Nazare but this is much more impressive.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHbLTPi_5w0&ab_channel=SurferToday
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 24, 2002
35,399

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 24, 2002
35,399
Nice! My goal is to get good enough to surf Ho’okipa. Tame compared to Mavericks and Jaws, but baby steps and all that.
There are more user friendly spots around Maui with smaller crowds and fewer windsurfers etc but I love the goal.

I no longer go out in big surf but even when I did, I wanted no part of Mavs. The level of commitment to do it right (training, equipment, safety measures) takes it from a hobby to a full time job. But more importantly, its crazy and the people who ride there regularly are truly elite at what they do. If Mel falls on that, he very easily could die (his board or a rock hits his head which is what likely happened to Mark Foo). The best thing is that he did this at 50 years old after a lifetime of scratching out a living as a free surfer and business person. Legendary.
 

nolasoxfan

Member
SoSH Member
Jun 11, 2004
4,596
Displaced
There are more user friendly spots around Maui with smaller crowds and fewer windsurfers etc but I love the goal.

I no longer go out in big surf but even when I did, I wanted no part of Mavs. The level of commitment to do it right (training, equipment, safety measures) takes it from a hobby to a full time job. But more importantly, its crazy and the people who ride there regularly are truly elite at what they do. If Mel falls on that, he very easily could die (his board or a rock hits his head which is what likely happened to Mark Foo). The best thing is that he did this at 50 years old after a lifetime of scratching out a living as a free surfer and business person. Legendary.
Do tell. Coronavirus—travel shutdown and then getting sick with it— has postponed that goal. Spent 2 weeks in Maui in February 2020, learning from Maui Surfer Girls and Rivers to the Sea and I am hooked. I made plans to go back in August, but coronavirus keeps us from traveling. I saw Ho’okipa during the February trip and made a promise to myself that I would get good enough to surf there someday...soon. Maui is the first place I am headed when it’s safe to travel again. Would love to hear any recommendations you have.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 24, 2002
35,399
Nevermind by Dennis Lloyd. And Hamilton is insane.

Those foils are really dangerous - they hurt when they hit you and can really do damage. The learning curve is super tough and painful with these things per what I have heard.

That said, when they perfect e-foiling, everyone will start surfing - lakes, ponds, streams etc. Nobody will need actual waves anymore. As I noted in the bike thread in TBLTS, e-tech is about to radically change everyone's favorite hobbies and not always for the better.

Back to the topic at hand, I imagine that the coming decades will see the first person get barreled on a 100+ wave given the progression of equipment, training etc. We will also likely see lots of inexperienced surfers getting in way over their heads as paddling out to a lineup becomes more automated via tech.
 
Last edited:

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 24, 2002
35,399
What should we be looking for? I've never seen a surfer with ski poles before, but it doesn't seem all that helpful to him.
The surfer was actually on skis - they got towed into pretty gnarly Mavericks on skis and pulled it off.

Someone woke up on Sunday, made arrangements to be ferried out on the back of a jet ski so that they could ride giant, cold waves using mountain implements. Humans are occasionally amazing.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 24, 2002
35,399
These waves are crazy. How many people die or get seriously injured each year surfing ? I should have done this when I was 21.
Surprisingly not many. All of these videos are of pro surfers who train for this pretty rigorously, have plenty of safety precautions (life vests, partners riding jet skis etc.) and take what they are doing very seriously. This will change as more people attempt to ride these waves and discover others. I also fear that technology (e-powered boards, foils etc) will put people in situations that they aren't prepared for but that is a discussion for another day.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 24, 2002
35,399
This is a 12 year old kid named Steve Roberson surfing at Jaws this past Saturday. He has been surfing this spot since he was 10.