Between Heaven and Hell

Diego Santos threads down the middle of control and insanity

Last winter, Diego Santos got some mind-bending barrels down at Pupukea. The swell was pumping against a dark and dreary evening skyline. Then, before the sun dipped under the horizon, the clouds broke, giving way to an oily, mist-filled oceanscape. Bobbing down the beach to the east, in the middle of the ocean, in front of an illuminated Pupukea, was Diego Santos. Surfing with just a single bodyboarder out. Scratching into bomb after bomb. We actually think one of the waves from that session is at the 1:35 mark. While others were trying their luck at maxing Off The Wall and sending it into closeouts, Diego positioned himself alone, away from the photographers. His intention was purely to surf the best zone for what was on offer. He’s no stranger to squaring off into late, steep pits, as you can see here. It’s a comfort level that rarely transitions to video. Very few pull off this look. And you know those names already.