Compilation of the world’s biggest waves ever surfed!
Biggest Wednesday: Condition Black
Never in the history of surfing has the ocean roared as hard and as full-on as Wednesday the 28th of January 1998, creating the biggest surf ever to be ridden. The locals say Jaws has never been bigger. Outside Log Cabins on Oahu’s North Shore was surfed for the first time ever, with Ken Bradshaw claiming the biggest wave in surfing history!
The North Shore of Oahu is the mecca of the best. The surf pumps non-stop from October to May. The swells are pushed down from big northern hemisphere winter storms and come charging out of the open ocean onto Hawaii’s northern shores. But this year was like no other year, with El Nino in full swing, the northern hemisphere oceans were brewing up some of the biggest storms of the century. On January 23, the word was out that a huge storm had formed off Alaska and that a major swell was heading for the Islands. On Wednesday the 28th of January, the elements all came together- the wind was calm, the skies were clear blue, and the ocean was lined to the horizon with 30 to 50 foot walls of death, and veteran cameraman Tim Bonython was there to document this momentous event on video.
The new sport of tow-in surfing was about to create history as a crew of surfers were strapped onto tiny slivered seven foot eight inch boards. Biggest Wednesday was shot at two locations. On Maui: Laird Hamilton, Dave Kalama and Buzzy Kerbox took on the biggest day ever filmed at Jaws, their home big-wave break. Meanwhile on Oahu’s North Shore, Ross Clarke-Jones, Tony Ray, Cheyne Horan, Ken Bradshaw, Shawn Briley and Noah Johnson rode the biggest waves in the history of surfing at Outside Log Cabins.
World record waves around 100ft (30m) rogue waves, largest waves world record Biggest wave in the world Large wave, swell storm tsunami, code, red, jaws, teahupoo
Fear is always present in a 50-foot wave. Fear is the best way of managing the risk of paddling for a huge wave face, which doesn’t tell you what is going to happen and how it is going to break.
Monster waves tend to move quickly and force surfers to get away of the powerful whitewater. Big waves are lethal even for the most experienced extreme riders. The best big wave surf spots in the world have claimed several lives in the last decades.
Malik Joyeux, Sion Milosky, Moto Watanabe, Mark Foo, Donnie Solomon, Todd Chesser, Dickie Cross and Peter Davi have passed away in extreme surfing conditions. Wipeouts, severe coral reef injuries and drowning are the most common causes of death in big wave surfing.
The pioneers of big wave surfing started to eye impossible killer rides in the 1940’s. In the 1960’s, waves like Pipeline and Waimea increased the popularity of paddling into new wave heights. Going over the falls was the daily menu.
Laird Hamilton is the first professional big wave surfer. The waterman from Maui defies fast, hollow and high waves with a full-time training and previous preparation. Hamilton, the father of tow-in surfing, takes on the entire big wave spots of the Hawaiian Islands, in helicopter style.
Laird was born with the gene of defying danger. He designs and prepares his own surfboards and wetsuits. Wherever heavy waves break, Hamilton is there to ride them: Mavericks, Cortes Bank, Dungeons.
In 2000, Laird Hamilton surfs what is considered the heaviest wave of all time. The “Millennium Wave” was ridden in the reef of Teahupoo, in Tahiti, and set a new standard for big wave surfing.
Garrett McNamara is one of the toughest big wave challengers. After riding a spectacular 78-foot wave in Nazaré, Portugal, the Hawaiian waterman entered the Guinness World Records with the biggest wave ever surfed.
The 55 best big wave surfers of all time is an exclusive extreme surfing club. From Jaws to Mavericks, Puerto Escondido, Punta Lobos, Ghost Trees, Belharra, Shipstern Bluff and Todos Santos, these riders have set up a new scale in the definition of giant waves. They are:
Darrick Doerner Darryl Virostko
Grant Twiggy Baker Grant Washburn
João de Macedo
Kai Barger Keala Kennely
Mark Visser Maya Gabeira