Back in February of 2001, Erik
and his wife Kathryn and Carrie and I took a trip to Oahu. It was something I was really looking forward to, because as a kid I was really into surfing and knew I’d be seeing the legendary spots. We were going in winter, when the wave sizes were usually at their peak (which, in hindsight, may be a total myth fabricated by little Californian grommets used to large winter waves every year).
Waimea, known for some of the biggest, craziest waves in the world, looked like this (apologies to Kathryn and her sandy cheeks, but this is my only shot of the water):
Notice how flat the ocean is. Like a placid country-side pond. I knew Waimea, just like any surf spot, would come up flat sometimes, so I wasn’t shattered and heartbroken to not see any massive waves. And Erik made the place forever memorable by running full blast down the beach towards the water, only to have his shorts fly off at the last second, tripping him up and throwing him headlong into a few feet of water. I was spared the moon, as I was already in the water, but the entire beach had all eyes on Erik from the start.
I found the following picture last week on filepile.org that I’m pretty sure might be Waimea, and I’m convinced that it’s at least North Shore Oahu. The quality sucks because I’ve resized it with an awful photo editing tool (I’ll likely use Photoshop tonight to fix it), but the photo gives a really good idea of how incredibly massive these waves can get:
I estimate this wave to be more than thirty feet tall if measuring the face. The only way to catch a wave like this is to be towed in by a Waverunner. I can’t think of any sport that’s more extreme than what this guy is doing.
What do you think?