Big Wave Surfing History
a list of places
- Wednesday, January 1, 1936
Makaha was first surfed in the mid to late 1930's by John Kelly, Fran Heath and Wally Foriseth and is considered the first big wave spot. Not long after, the North Shore became the focus for this group of intrepid surfers. In 1969 Greg Noll and some friends went to Makaha and found the largest waves they'd ever seen. Greg paddled out and is said to have caught the largest wave ever ridden up to that point in surfing history. &feature=related
- Saturday, January 1, 1938
Not long after Makaha was being frequented by John Kelly, Wally Foriseth and friends they started taking trips out to the North Shore. A tragic incident in late 1943 kept the North Shore largely un-explored and riddled with taboos well into the ‘50s. On December 22, Woody Brown and 17-year-old Dixie Cross paddled out at Sunset Beach during a sizeable swell. They arrived in the afternoon to 12-foot waves, but the waves greatly increased in size while they were out; unable to reach the shore, they decided to try to make the three-mile paddle to Waimea Bay. They arrived to 30-foot monster waves that were closing out the channe. Woody eventually washed up naked and barely conscious, while Dixie Cross was never seen again.
- Tuesday, November 5, 1957
Waimea Bay is the big wave surfing capital and has remained so ever since Greg Noll broke with superstition and paddled out with a group of friends in 1957. It's the location of the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau Invitational which only happens when wave heights reach over 20ft. The event has been held only 7 times. The first event was held at Sunset Beach in 1985 then moved to Waimea in 1987.
- Thursday, January 1, 1959
Puerto was a sleepy little fishing village where traveling surfers stopped off to surf as early as 1959. By 1974 the word had gotten out and pictures of perfect barrels started to run in the mags. In 1986 the international airport opened and the sleepy little town was no longer.
- Friday, January 1, 1965
It's claimed that the surf crew from Windansea in San Diego discovered this spot in the mid-60's. There are multiple breaks on the island but Killers was not named and ridden until the early to mid-80's by Marty Hoffman. &feature=related
- Tuesday, June 29, 1965
- Wednesday, January 1, 1975
In 1961, a group of surfers surfing the smaller inside waves brought along their German shepherd named Maverick, who followed them into the waves. It would take another 14 years before another person would consider surfing Maverick’s. In 1975 Jeff Clark, a 17 year old local would be the first to ride this monster and he continued to surf it alone for 15 years until he was able to convince his Hawaiian friends that it was as good as Waimea. It has become the premier spot in the continental U.S. for big wave surfing. &feature=related
- Thursday, January 1, 1981
Dungeons’ was claimed and named by the duo of pioneering Capetonian chargers Pierre De Villiers and Peter Button, who legend has it, bravely paddled out from the shore and conquered the beast sometime in the early 1980s. But back then, due to the spot’s fickle nature and relative inaccessibility (remember this was more than decade before jetskis began to buzz around the world’s line-ups, and pre-surf forecasting) Dungeons was only surfed by a handful of guys.
- Sunday, January 1, 1984
Fiji has been a surf destination since the 60's but in 1984 Tavarua surf camp opened up with two world class breaks right in front of the small island. Cloudbreaks is a world class left that holds up in very large surf and can be towed in to when it's to big to paddle.
- Monday, December 1, 1986
Ken Bradshaw and Trevor Sifon became the first pair to paddle out and surf Outers in 86' 12 years later on Jan. 28, 1998 Bradshaw would ride an 80' plus face at this spot making it the unofficial largest wave ever ridden.
- Sunday, November 1, 1992
Jaws was first ridden by windsurfers in the mid-80's. By the early 90's Laird Hamilton and his friends Buzzy Kerbox and Darreck Doerner were using a zodiac boat to tow each other in to the waves at Jaws. While not the first to be towed in to a wave they were the pioneers who took the sport of tow in surfing to new heights.
- Thursday, January 1, 1998
The Ceremonial Punta de Lobos event started back in January '98, and has been run every fall since, often in double-overhead-plus surf, and always with a rootsy vibe on the cliff.
- Thursday, August 17, 2000
In the summer of 2000, Laird Hamilton was towed into what has since been called the heaviest wave ever ridden. Darrick Doerner towed Laird backside into a mountainous left that seemed to completely engulf him before shooting him safely out the back. &feature=related
- Friday, January 19, 2001
115 miles off the coast of San Diego, this spot was originally located in the late ‘60s by early big wave surfers Walter and Flippy Hoffman, and then again by photographer and editor of Surfing Magazine Larry Moore in 1990. However, it wasn’t until 2001 that big Cortez Bank was actually surfed.
- Sunday, April 1, 2001
Shipsterns was most likely surfed years before the 2001 easter sessions but those photos put the spot light on this cold and forbidding break. Often included in the lists of the heaviest waves in the world, this break can scare the life out even the most seasoned surfer. It's like Teahupoo but freezing cold and angry. &feature=PlayList&p=2164947C02236B88&index=0&playnext=1
- total distance: 59,797 miles (96.234 km)