kottke.org posts about surfing

Teahupo'o: Inside the MonsterSep 04 2013

Inside the Monster is a 25-minute documentary (in French w/ English subtitles) on Teahupo'o, a Tahitian locale known for its spectacular waves.

Crazy the way those waves rise out of almost nowhere. My favorite photo of Teahupo'o is this one (view larger):

Teahupoo

All that water hanging out 14 feet higher than it should be....it ain't natural!

Duct tape surfingJun 25 2013

Pascale Honore enjoyed watching her sons surf but couldn't participate because she's been a paraplegic for the past 18 years. But then Tyron Swan, a friend of her sons, duct taped her to his back and took her out on his board.

Man, that smile is incredible. What a great video. Pascal and Tyron are trying to raise funds to take their show on the road. Backed. (via ★interesting)

Surfer swims for his lifeFeb 07 2013

Remember the guy who rode the alleged 100-foot wave? Here's a video of some other tow-in surfers from that same location (Nazare, Portugal) on the same day. The waves aren't quite as big as 100 feet, but the sequence starting at 1:52, where the guy falls off his board and swims like hell to get out of the way before the whole ocean crashes down on top of him (watch the top of the wave), gives you a real sense of how insane this sport is.

Great use of high definition and slow motion. (via @alexismadrigal)

Surfer rides monster 100-foot waveJan 29 2013

There's some weird perspective stuff going on with this photo (do those waves break right on shore?) but holy crap look at the size of that fucking wave!

Garrett McNamara Nazare

The teeny speck speeding down that wall of water is Garrett McNamara, who already holds the world record for the largest wave ever surfed and will likely extend that record with this estimated 100-footer.

There's no video of the ride but in this promotional video, I think you can briefly see McNamara riding the monster wave at 38 seconds and perhaps again at 42 seconds.

Biggest Teahupoo EverJul 03 2012

"The French Navy labeled this day a double code red prohibiting and threatening to arrest anyone that entered the water."

(via ★colossal)

Garrett McNamara breaks biggest wave surfing recordJun 14 2012

Garrett McNamara rode a wave off of Nazare, Portugal last November that some surfing experts billed at 85-90 feet. This would have smashed the world record wave height of 77 feet held by Mike Parsons. However, last month, after judges compared "McNamara's height in a crouch and the length of his shin bone with the wave's top and bottom," the Guinness Book of World Records decided the wave was 78 feet and gave him the record. To get a feel for McNamara's feat, go find an 8 story building and imagine riding down it on a surfboard.

And here's another nice surfing video.

Bullet time surfingNov 08 2011

Using a rig of 30 GoPro cameras, these guys captured surfers in Matrix-esque bullet time.

(via petapixel)

Slow motion surfingAug 19 2011

Friday night, getting late? Perfect time to watch a slow motion surfing video. It's only a minute and a half, but it feels like it's at least two minutes and fifteen seconds. Just beautiful. It's body boarding, but it's about the waves anywave, right?

(Via @heinekensdaily)

The biggest wave ever surfedMay 19 2011

From the Feb 2011 issue of Vanity Fair, a profile of big-wave surfer Ken Bradshaw by William Langewiesche. Bradshaw rode what was, at the time, the largest wave ever surfed.

Later he told me it was like skiing down an avalanche chute in the mountains. He said, "You know that feeling you get when you're going over a cornice and it's just straight down after that?" He counted the seconds. He went, "One. Two. Three. Four!" Already it was a long drop, and the wave kept rising higher. "Five! Six! Seven! Eight!" He went, "Holy shit!," and kept dropping. He went, "Don't fade! Don't even imagine it!" He got toward the base of the face, still well above the bottom, and rounded out of the drop as the surface curvature allowed. Bradshaw had never seen such wave expanses before-huge fields of sloping water to the right. He was aware of the mass gathering above and behind him. He went, "I gotta get out of here, now!" He dug his right rail in, banking the board hard against its will, and held it with all of his strength into a carving right turn. The turn was slow because the board was fast. Bradshaw kept at it, however, and went slicing up the wave face almost to the crest. He was briefly elated. Technically he had "made" the wave, but he wasn't done with it yet. From the crest he turned again and went angling back down the face. He intended to perform a full cutback toward the break, but no sooner had he started than a roar erupted behind him as the wave formed a giant barrel. The barrel spat spray at him from its throat. There was no way into that barrel from his position, and it blocked any turn back toward the core of the wave. The ride was almost over for Bradshaw. It had lasted 30 seconds, or hardly more. He exited straight ahead and over the wave's shoulder. He was angry with himself. He thought that he should have been in that barrel, and that he would have been if he had not shied away from the peak at the start of the ride. He did not care about having made history-and did not consider it until others began to insist on it that night. He did not even think that this had been a great run. He thought, Shit, I should have faded.

Big wave skiing?Feb 08 2011

Watch as Chuck Patterson skis (not surfs, skis) the Jaws surf break in Maui.

And for some reason, he's using poles!

Tarp surfingJul 21 2010

Get yourself a skateboard, a big blue tarp, have someone lift the edge of the tarp over you as you skateboard by, and guess what that looks like:

(via mathowie)

Amazing Matt Meola surfing videoNov 11 2009

This video was offline so soon after I posted it and is so crazy that I thought it deserved more than an update to the old post. So here it is again. Watch it, watch it, watch it. (thx, tomek)

Amazing surfing video of Matt MeolaNov 04 2009

It is difficult to watch this video of Matt Meola surfing and not think of the evolution of skateboarding, particularly the transition between freestyle skating and the invention of vert in the empty swimming pools of southern California. Most of the stuff he does looks impossible. (via matt's a.whole)

Update: Gah, the video has been pulled offline for some reason. Here's another one, not quite as good. You can also try YouTube.

No people, just wavesSep 09 2009

Jonah Lehrer profiles Clay Marzo, a top surfer who also happens to be on the autism spectrum, which has been useful in focusing his attention on surfer but is also a challenge.

It's like everyone else has a bucket for dealing with people and I only got a cup. When my cup gets too full, then I shut down.

Waves in slow motionMay 08 2009

Absolutely gorgeous slow motion HD video of a large wave from under the water...you can clearly see the intricate and powerful architecture of the wave.

Nice surfing shot too...but the wave is mesmerizing.

Dustin Humphrey photographyJul 09 2008

Dustin Humphrey's surfing/underwater photography is difficult to explain. Pro surfers + underwater naked steampunk maybe? NSFW. (via avenues)

Modern big wave surfing requires a knowledgeJan 13 2008

Modern big wave surfing requires a knowledge of oceanography and wave dynamics...and quick wits out on the water.

After committing to a wave, the surfer must confront the sheer tonnage of hurtling water and hit a 10-foot-wide slot of the best spot to launch a ride with pinpoint timing, a maneuver that Washburn has described as akin to "trying to place a Dixie cup on the horn of a charging rhino."

Big wave surfing at Cortes BankJan 10 2008

Recent Pacific storms have resulted in some epic big wave surfing at Cortes Bank, a seamount located 105 miles off the California coast.

Big wave surfing at Cortes Bank

The NY Times has a nice overview:

With a second major storm bearing down, four of the most experienced big-wave surfers in the world launched a boat and two Jet Skis toward Cortes Bank, an underwater mountain range whose tallest peak rises 4,000 feet from the ocean floor to within about four feet of the surface. The perilous spot, about 100 miles off the coast of Southern California, had been surfed only a handful of times in the past decade. With just the right conditions, its shallow waters turn huge ocean swells into giant, perfect breaking waves.

On a big wave site set up by Billabong, one of the riders said that 100-foot waves will be ridden out there:

Cortes Bank veteran Mike Parsons returned from the voyage absolutely certain that larger sea monsters are awaiting around the spooky open-ocean shoal. "It's getting closer and closer now...I guarantee you there will be a 100-foot-wave ridden out there," said Parsons. "For sure. There were several big peaks that jumped up at the top of the reef outside of us that could not have been too far off that size. If you put yourself in the right place at the right time, it will happen. It's only a matter of time now."

For photos and a nice audio feature with the crew that took the trip out there, head on over to Surfline.

60 Things Worth Shortening Your Life For. I'veApr 19 2007

60 Things Worth Shortening Your Life For. I've done a few of these things...I don't really drink or smoke enough to have accomplished a lot of them. Surfing Teahupoo in Tahiti is #3...the waves generated there are short lived but insane (photo, more photos, video). (via megnut)

Mark Foo's Last Ride, the story ofDec 19 2005

Mark Foo's Last Ride, the story of the death of one of surfing's best big wave riders at Maverick's in 1994.

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