Surfing a mountain - 100 foot wave


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Messages 41 - 60 of total 76 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Jan 30, 2013 - 11:13pm PT
It's true. The appearance or rather the experience of height out in the water is so incredibly different than what we have on the rock. It is ridiculous how different.

But because the stuff is moving and falling, it is ever so much more intimidating "per foot".

Often the rides are rather simplistic by necessity-- a run for the shoulder basically---and by the stark horror and scale of the situation. People often overlook what is involved however in merely being in the lineup when it is this big. It is insanely grim at times. Getting caught inside is one's greatest fear, that and going over the falls on the takeoff--- easy to do in windy choppy paddle-ins.

The inflatable vests are changing how we think about all this though. Pros are training with experts to hold their breath for unheard of lengths of time. The jet skis are essential in mitigating the rescue issues that really are now part of the sport at this size.

With so much of this "solved" shall we say, people are finding surf all over the globe that had been completely ignored. And as you can see, the stuff is really horrifying.

Monument Manor
Jan 30, 2013 - 11:48pm PT
Jet ski/tow in not mandatory!
Big Mike

Trad climber
Jan 30, 2013 - 11:52pm PT


Monument Manor

Jan 30, 2013 - 08:48pm PT
Jet ski/tow in not mandatory!

Lets see it dude!! Send it!

Social climber
Jan 31, 2013 - 12:10am PT
Credit: o-man
this just in

north fork
Jan 31, 2013 - 12:27am PT

There you go mike, but not too many are badass like Patrick Swayze. Well he almost got it:-)

That real footage is incredible, thanks for the thread.

Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jan 31, 2013 - 04:04am PT
The video in Reilly's 10:34am post is the 2013 wave. (With McNamara and Keali'i Mamala).

The NBC vid in the first post, and the vid in Reilly's 11:28am post are the 2011 wave (McNamara solo).

Trad climber
Jan 31, 2013 - 12:05pm PT
You're sayin' the FBI's gonna pay me to learn to surf?

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
Jan 31, 2013 - 02:45pm PT
For folks who have never tried surfing or experienced the power of waves - it is inconceivable what a wipe-out on a 20 foot wave is like, let alone a thing like that.

I grew up by the beach, boogie boarding or surfing every day. Some injuries I experienced and size of waves:
 2 foot wave breaking in 2 feet of water, I nosedived and hitting the bottom twisted my spine so much the wings of my vertebrae were poking up through the skin
 pulled into the close-out barrel of an 8-10 foot wave with thick lip, breaking in ~10 feet of water, I smashed the bottom with my face, maybe broke my nose, blood shooting everywhere on my chest and shoulders by the time I popped to the surface

It is routine for surfboards to get snapped in half by waves ~6 feet or more if the lip pitches out and hits the middle of the board before the surfer can duck dive.

If there's only a 6-10 foot wall of whitewater in front of you, and you can't dive deeply enough to get under it, your body tumbles around like a rag doll in a washing machine. That's getting off easy though if you don't hit anything except water. If you hit something underwater, it's the difference between taking a 20-foot lead fall on an overhanging face versus decking from 20 feet.

If you try to dive under such a wave just as it's breaking, and get sucked back by the vortex of water pulling over the top ("going over the falls") it's a much worse effect. Not so bad if the water is deep and you don't hit anything, but if it's shallow, it's like a groundfall in climbing but with a huge amount of force beyond gravity driving you into the ground.

All that said, it is strange how much more or less powerful waves of similar height can be, based on other factors like how thick the lip is (the part that pitches over on top), or how fast the wave is moving, or whether it hits you like a hard slap in the face versus a mushy foam.

All said, these guys surfing waves bigger than 20 feet are definitely putting their lives on the line similar to a free solo climber, except they must go with the speed dictated by the waves and no taking rest breaks and no backing off after you commit. Maybe it's more similar to speed simul climbing with minimal pro, because you have a chance of surviving 80-100 feet falls versus free solo falling a thousand feet to the ground where you're gonnna die no matter what.

Big Wall climber
El Portal/Chapel Hill
Jan 31, 2013 - 02:55pm PT
Great description, Nutjob! Vertebrae poking out of your skin...ew!
Big Mike

Trad climber
Jan 31, 2013 - 04:42pm PT
Thanks Nutjob. Is anyone who actually surfs claming they could paddle into this insanity?

The Granite State.
Jan 31, 2013 - 04:54pm PT
I just took a half hour water taxi in eight foot swells running paralell to our boat. That was fun, we'd surf the crests and plummet into the troughs.

I can't comprehend dropping into a line like that, and I used to ski big mountian comps.

Blows big mountain skiing out of the water...
this just in

north fork
Jan 31, 2013 - 05:40pm PT
I don't surf, never have, but thought the video was pretty damn awesome. I tried to show it to my boss who is a surfer or grew up surfing and he wasn't impressed because of the tow in and the straps, he called it wakeboarding. Glad to know that climbing isn't the only sport with ridiculous ethics battles.

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Jan 31, 2013 - 05:41pm PT
I think it is worth noting that Praia do Norte where the wave was surfed is actually on the island of Faial in the Azores about 1000 miles west of the coast of Portugal. It is a pretty cool place with an active volcano just down the road. It is also a very popular place for sailors from around the world to harbor.

Boulder climber
I'm James Brown, Bi-atch!
Jan 31, 2013 - 05:53pm PT
slow waves are cake.

try mavericks sometime. 1/2 second pop up then over.

aqua violence. 45 sec hold down. carry big rocks underwater for training.

who here wants to dish kelly slater?

i surfed a 35 footer at mavericks in my dagger crosfire kayak with slater in an RPM, did the paddle in myself since yaks are faster than boards, did i make newsweek?

hell no. some jack-azz from portugal makes it but not me.

my friend rick shafaer from moss landing has the pics.

he built a submarine in his back yard for inspecing the nuke plant run off incog-nito.


Trad climber
'cross the great divide
Jan 31, 2013 - 06:07pm PT
I recently read a really good book called Chasing Ghosts. As a person that has only body surfed in 5-6 ft. waves off the coast of Peru, (finding that to be quite scary) and never spent that much time in the ocean, the book was very entertaining and educational. Those guys chasing after the big waves are every bit as determined, focused and nuts as the most crazed alpinist.

I was under the impression (again I know almost nothing about surfing) that the next step in the evolution of extreme surfing was paddling into these monsters. I read that many of the purists were adamently against tow-in, until they started hearing about the size of the waves getting surfed using this technique. However, more recently people were starting to paddle into the really big ones. What is the current thought amongst the elite surfers in regards to tow-in.

It also occurred to me that some of the attitude that we have as rockclimbers in terms of ethics probably originated in the CA surfing community.
John M

Feb 1, 2013 - 12:40am PT
Here you go Werner. Arms can be ripped off.. According to the pro..

Some Random Guy

San Franpsycho (a.k.a. a token of my extreme)
Feb 1, 2013 - 01:34am PT
yeah i've almost had my left arm dislocated wiping out on about a 10-12 footer. I've probably also come close to being knocked out a few times on similar size waves.

I read that many of the purists were adamently against tow-in, until they started hearing about the size of the waves getting surfed using this technique. However, more recently people were starting to paddle into the really big ones.
it all depends on the break and the dynamics of it. some can be paddled into, some not.

Big Wall climber
Richmond, CA
Feb 1, 2013 - 02:01am PT
You can get seriously f**ked up on a double overhead. If you fell off of a late take off on anything over 40'...getting whacked is a distinct possibility. On a 100'er? You're going to die, if you're lucky.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 1, 2013 - 02:50am PT
Cortes bank is an underwater island that comes within a few feet of the surface. It can hold up in the biggest swells. Potential for massive waves however it is 100 miles out so logistics are problematic. There is some good videos in the link below

Big Wall climber
Richmond, CA
Feb 1, 2013 - 02:58am PT
Waves this big can wack the bet of us . Google Greg long and Cortez bank.
Messages 41 - 60 of total 76 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
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