What It’s Like To Be Caught Inside a Gigantic Set
“What It’s Like To Get Caught Inside A 25+ Foot Wave? This is a collection of surfers doing just that. Waves like Mavericks, Jaws and The Wedge.
Surfers in this video:
Jamie Mitchell – Caught Inside with a 50 Foot Bomb at Pe’ahi, Jaws – Maui Jan 27th 2016
Jamie O’Brien – At The WEDGE
Mark Healey – Two Wave Hold Down at Mavericks
The secret to surviving a huge set is: there is no secret. There are no Eastern breathing mantras that allow you to hold your breath for five minutes; there are no watermen trap doors in those swirling masses of turbulence that lead straight to the surface; there are no oxygen-giving dolphins waiting 15 feet below the surface. But this doesn’t mean that your number’s up if you’re facing a 50-foot wall of foam. The fact is, surfers survive these situations every winter. Take it from me, who’s had more than his fair share of lumps at Maverick’s and had the privilege of being mowed by a huge one at Cortes Bank. And aside from needing a good set of lungs and some basic skills, there’s really only one main requirement on the big-wave frontier: confidence. You need to know you can pull through in the worst possible situations. As soon as you panic, good judgment and the breath-holding capacity go out with the tide. Think about it: a long hold down is no more than 30 seconds. If you swim deep, keep your eyes open and let the turbulence have its way with you, there shouldn’t be any reason why you won’t come up for air, pumped for the next one.
Big wave surfing is the ultimate celebration of extreme surfing. Challenging deadly waves in harsh weather and ocean conditions takes a very serious approach.
Big wave surfers are not interested in performance. Forget perfect cutbacks, stunning floaters or breathless aerial antics. The profile of a big wave rider is the result of several unparalleled personal characteristics.
Fear is always present in a 50-foot wave. Fear is the best way of managing the risk of paddling for a huge wave face, which doesn’t tell you what is going to happen and how it is going to break.
Monster waves tend to move quickly and force surfers to get away of the powerful whitewater. Big waves are lethal even for the most experienced extreme riders. The best big wave surf spots in the world have claimed several lives in the last decades.
Malik Joyeux, Sion Milosky, Moto Watanabe, Mark Foo, Donnie Solomon, Todd Chesser, Dickie Cross and Peter Davi have passed away in extreme surfing conditions. Wipeouts, severe coral reef injuries and drowning are the most common causes of death in big wave surfing.
The pioneers of big wave surfing started to eye impossible killer rides in the 1940’s. In the 1960’s, waves like Pipeline and Waimea increased the popularity of paddling into new wave heights. Going over the falls was the daily menu.
Laird Hamilton is the first professional big wave surfer. The waterman from Maui defies fast, hollow and high waves with a full-time training and previous preparation. Hamilton, the father of tow-in surfing, takes on the entire big wave spots of the Hawaiian Islands, in helicopter style.
Laird was born with the gene of defying danger. He designs and prepares his own surfboards and wetsuits. Wherever heavy waves break, Hamilton is there to ride them: Mavericks, Cortes Bank, Dungeons.
In 2000, Laird Hamilton surfs what is considered the heaviest wave of all time. The “Millennium Wave” was ridden in the reef of Teahupoo, in Tahiti, and set a new standard for big wave surfing.
Garrett McNamara is one of the toughest big wave challengers. After riding a spectacular 78-foot wave in Nazaré, Portugal, the Hawaiian waterman entered the Guinness World Records with the biggest wave ever surfed.
The 55 best big wave surfers of all time is an exclusive extreme surfing club. From Jaws to Mavericks, Puerto Escondido, Punta Lobos, Ghost Trees, Belharra, Shipstern Bluff and Todos Santos, Nazare. these riders have set up a new scale in the definition of giant waves. They are:
Al Mennie, Andy Irons, Anthony Tashnick, Ben Wilkinson, Bob Pike, Brock Little, Buzzy Trent, Carlos Burle, Chris Bertish, Danilo Couto, Darrick Doerner, Darryl Virostko, Dave Kalama, Dave Wassel, Eddie Aikau, Frank Solomon, Gabriel Villaran, Garrett McNamara, George Downing, Brad Gerlach, Gerry Lopez, Grant Twiggy, Baker Grant Washburn, Greg Long, Greg Noll, Ian Walsh, Jamie Sterling, Jay Moriarty, Jeff Clark, Jeff Rowley, Jose Angel, João de Macedo, Kai Barger, Keala Kennely, Ken Bradshaw, Ken Colllins, Koby Abberton, Kohl Christensen, Laird Hamilton, Laurie Towner, Mark Foo, Mark Healey, Mark Mathews, Mark Visser , Maya Gabeira, Mike Parsons, Nathan Fletcher, Pat Curren, Peter Mel, Ramon Navarro, Richie Fitzgerald, Ross Clarke-Jones, Shane Dorian, Sion Milosky, Zach Wormhoudt