Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Biggest waves ever surfed?

Some experienced big wave surfers had the session of their lives last week off Southern California.

The venue is intense. Cortez Banks is an undersea mountain 100 miles offshore and it rises to within 4 feet of the surface of the wide-open Pacific Ocean. Huge swells produced maximum recorded wave size at weather buoys, so 4 surfers headed out for a session.

The results? Amazing, super-fast and intense rides on the biggest and fastest waves these big wave surfers have ever seen, a few scary wipeouts. They had a photographer and videographer with them, and I suspect we'll see the results sometime soon.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Cortes bank is my favorite camping site~ I've spent 29 nights out there and probably about 20 of them anchored within 50 ft of where the surfer is in the picture:) I don't go out there to surf, i go out there to freedive with my underwater camera. Directly below that incredible break is a shipwreck that i enjoy diving on.

I have to make one correction, nowhere does it come up to 4ft from the surface. The shallowest rock structure on the 30ft plane is about 22ft deep. The shipwreck itself comes up to about 15 feet from the surface.

One more note that applies to the larger topic. I hate to report this, but that bank has been stripped of virtually all mature resident species due to commercial over fishing. I have made 30 trips out there since '93 and the difference between now and then breaks my heart. Even though it is a hundred miles off the coast, it is as worked over as anywhere along the coast... I have watched commercial fishermen lay gillnets DIRECTLY in the kelp. One time after a gillnetter had been working out there for at least a day, a baby Harbor Seal swam up to me and frantically grabbed me by the shoulder... then recognized that i wasn't who it was looking for and swam away dejected...I couldn't help but wonder if it's mother was in the net.

It's the last kelp forest between California and Hawaii, it lives out in the wide open Pacific--too bad we couldn't have preserved that incredible habitat for posterity. If we had, that bank would now be the gem of the entire west coast...