I’m confused. You may be as well. Watch The recent YouTube footage (see below) of Garrett McNamara and Kealii Mamala surfing massive brown whitewater reforms created when Alaskan glaciers melt. Now, please, tell me, what is it?
I know the landscape is beautiful. I know the chutzpah of McNamara and Mamala cannot be questioned. I know the concept is unique. I know it’s a stroke of marketing brilliance sure to land the crew on late night talk shows. But as a surfer, I’m struggling to understand it all. It is surfing, at least on some level. But it is much more than that. The McNamara/Mamala show of bravado and craziness is in the Evil Knievel thrill seeking realm with a splash (no pun intended) of David Blaine outrageousness.
Nevertheless, it is hard to categorize. Even more puzzling is what’s next? Or should I say, what is left?
With all these questions bounding about I can relax knowing one thing for sure, this is more proof that surfers are pro-global warming.
Watch it the crazy video here and you decide. The official press release is below the video.
GLACIER TSUNAMI TOW-SURFING SUCCESS
Hawaii’s McNamara and Mamala First Surfers to Ride Alaskan Glacier Tsunami Waves
Honolulu – (August 15, 2007) – Hawaii tow-in surfing team Garrett McNamara and Kealii
Mamala have just
returned from Alaska where they became the first – and possibly last – surfers to successfully
generated tsunami waves of up to 25 feet. Their tsunami surfing experience took place at
Child’s Glacier on the
Copper River, in South-Central Alaska, located near the town of Cordova, Alaska.
Sheer ice faces of over 400 feet calved away from Child’s Glacier, crashing into the waters
below and setting off
left- and right-breaking waves that peeled across a pebble-bottom river bank for more than
offering rides of up to one minute long. In order to catch them, the surfers would wait up to
several hours in
the icy water for a glacier to fall, then chase down the ensuing wave on their jetski and
attempt to ride with
being injured or killed by ice and rock debris.
Video and still images from their adventure can be found at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKRR9RMmcIQ (or search: glacier surfing alaska)
Despite years of towing into waves of up to 70 feet, and a prior scout of the glacier last
month, the experience
turned out to be an overwhelming one, almost sending the pair home after a series of highly
unsuccessful attempts on day one.
“It was way more than I expected,” said McNamara. “I was almost going home the first day.
“After the scout, I guaranteed that we would ride a wave – any wave. After the first day, I just
wanted to make it
home alive. Not knowing where the glacier was going to fall, where the wave would emerge,
or how big it would
be. It was so different to anything we’ve experienced in our big-wave tow-surfing history. I
spent most the time
thinking about my family and wondering if I would survive to see them again. It was in a
realm all its own.”
The largest wave Garrett rode was a 15-foot face. Keali’i rode a 20- to 25-foot wave. The
most memorable and
unnerving moments came when the glacier calve “booked”, or fell like a book off a shelf,
landing flat on the
surface of water, causing a deafening eruption of water and ice to explode into the air, and
forcing them to
make a run for their lives with the assistance of their jetski.
“This has changed our outlook on big-wave surfing. In this case, we didn’t even need a huge
wave to get a rush.
It was the heaviest rush just sitting out there, dwarfed by this enormous glacier face, waiting
for the whole
thing to crash down in front of us and hoping we’d survive it when it did.”
As to the future of this new surfing spin-off? Perhaps take heed of what Garrett, one of the
world’s most daring
surfers has to say: “I wouldnt recommend it for any one. I won’t be going back. This is not a
A feature film and one-hour television show is now in production, being created by Ryan
Casey of Deepwater
Films. Casey was responsible for the discovery of the wave at Child’s Glacier.