Banzai!

Happy New Year everyone!  I spent my holidays in Hawaii and saw a riveting display of big wave surfing at Banzai Pipeline (North Shore, Oahu).  The faces of the waves were over 20-25 ft high.  Although the surf isn’t always this big, December brings enormous sets.  I was ill prepared to shoot this as I had decided to travel light.  Boy, was I bummed and lens envy pervaded my entire being!  Still, I wanted to share a few highlights.

I had heard it was a “big day”, but nothing could’ve prepared me for what I witnessed.  I almost fell over upon first glimpse of the waves.  These guys were taking off on CLIFFS!  I had very mixed feelings about enjoying the show.  Were they about to die or enjoy the most exhilarating ride of their lives?  Regardless, several hours passed as I watched looping episodes of blue, barreling waves with surfers riding them for days.

Some perspective:

For every 16 ft (face), there is approximately 1.5 TONS of power behind them.  The biggest danger is a person or surfboard slamming (or slicing) into you.  If you manage to avoid that, you’re still at high risk of being raked over the reef.  Imagine a million little razor blades on the floor of the ocean and you’ll start to understand how painful that would be.  Ok, you see how dangerous this is now…

Spectators in awe.  Can you see the surfer? :)

Spectators in awe. Can you see the surfer? 🙂

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Surfer on the larger outside set.  Look at the size of the surfers on the upper right.

Surfer on the larger outside set. Look at the size of the other surfers.

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The next four images are a succession.  See if he makes it!

The next four images are a succession. See if he makes it…

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And he makes it!

And he makes it out!

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Nosedive!

This guy wasn’t so lucky 😦

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