BIG WAVES, BIG HEADLINES: Big Surf Circulates the Globe

A run of big surf around the globe has taken the emotions of the surf world on roller coaster ride of highs and lows. Milestones have been reached, priorities reexamined, new spots put on the ‘big wave’ map and a tragic loss all mark a run of surfing headlines that likes of which we have never experienced. Here’s what went down:

1)On Saturday December 1 Ireland (of all places) finds itself a place amongst big wave destinations as Cornish surfers Alistair Mennie, Duncan Scott and friends ride massive surf at Mullaghmore. That’s right–Mullaghmore! Mullaghmore is on the map people. Its legit. Lift a mug in honor of Mullaghmore and the men who rode her! Somebody should write a folk song.

2)On Sunday 2 upon hearing of the North Atlantic mega swell, Spain’s Ibon Amatriain flew back to his home country from the Eddie Aikau opening ceremonies. His red eyes were greeted with 45 foot + Atlantic ocean bombs as a series of intense low pressures drove actic energy of epic proportions through the European coastline

3)Monday Dec 3, historically large surf roared into the Hawaiian island chain. On Maui Laird Hamilton surfed waves as large as 80-feet according to the Honolulu advertiser. In the process, Hamilton pushed his legend status up another notch (as if that is possible) by making a dramatic rescue of tow partner Brett Lickle. An 80 wall of white water steamrolled the two surfers’ PWC during a pickup attempt of Hamilton. Hamilton saved Brett Lickle’s life by tearing off his surf trunks and using the frayed strips for a tourniquet cinching Lickle’s femoral artery. Hamilton “swam like a bat out of hell” according to Lickle and retreived the ski and got them to safety.

4)Monday Dec 3, Waimea Bay erupted into its usual feeding frenzy. Eighteen to 20 foot surf exploded on the point as upwards of 60 guys grappled for a wave, a drop, a shoulder, anything. High energy and high drama was on tap. The Bay calls the day, but some are wishing the Bay had a say in whose turn it is.

5)On Tuesday Dec. 4, local Monterey Bay surfer Peter Davi passed away in massive 70-foot + Ghost Tree during what Ghost Tree local Don Curry is calling the biggest waves ever ridden at Ghost Tree. It was a day of emotional contradiction as a historical day of wave riding is painted a somber tone with the tragic passing of Davi.

6)On Wednesday Dec. 5, the same huge eastern Pacific swell that pounded Ghost Tree, Mavericks and the rest of NorCal made its way south and by this time had been broadcasted so heavily that monks in the highlands of Tibet were waxing up and heading to Swamis. The lumpy swell found the entire coastline population of SoCal either surfing, attempting to surf or looking at the surf. Parking lots from Rincon to Malibu to Swamis to La Jolla Cove went from normal low-key germination factories of surf culture to Disneyland-esque parking-scapes.

The high drama may back down for a moment, as things are quieting down, relatively speaking of course. With the Billabong Pipeline Masters ready create some drama and the Mavericks surf contest eager to get underway, most of the surf world is not letting down its guard. High energy indeed.