Ride the World - The outdoor blog
Scouring earth daily for healthy doses of fun and adventure. Edited by Chris Mauro
"That's nothing. I've seen bigger waves behind my Mastercraft on Lake Piru."
steve grier says:
"Shane Dorian and his homies, they all stand tall. What ever happend to Laird Hamilton? I thought this was his backyard, waves like this were something he trained so hard for. I can remember back in 1969, I was on a plane returning from Japan, stopped over in Honolulu, herd the north shore was breaking with waves over 25ft. I drove out there and was able to see Gregg Noll ride the biggest wave I have ever seen someone ride. These guys and ladies get better and better each year, the waves they ride are to awesome. Good on them."
When Nathan Hedge burst onto the pro surfing scene over a decade ago he was considered the latest in a long line of talented Aussie threats. "Hedgy" was instantly identified as one of the last of a dying breed. His preference for using the full length of his rail ran counter to his generation, which was disengaging the rail in favor of wafting the tail. Hedgy was a throwback of sorts: a young Tom Carroll, with some Occy and Egan thrown in for good measure. Back then that was considered a massive compliment.
But it was Hedgy's home-spun Australian pride and patriotism that really resonated with his mates on tour. His fierce favoring of Aussie accomplishment harkened back to the height of the cold war between them and those "American wankers." Whenever an Aussie won an event, the first man to greet him at the water's edge was Hedgy, who reveled in draping the Aussie flag around his mate before chairing him up the beach.
Of course, in true Aussie fashion, he was also the first to buy that guy a beer. First to fund another round. And the first to lose his voice as the evening's festivities progressed. For all these reasons, and others, he was considered a treasure on tour. And for all those same reasons Hedgy ended up with some residual issues when his competitive results started to fade.
After some soul cleansing years, Hedgy is finally revealing just how dark things got for the man who loved nothing more than to shine a light on others. In part of Surfer magazine's series on comeback stories, Hedge talks about how his journey led to a self-imposed exile on the Sunshine Coast, where he completed a rehab program. You can watch the Surfer magazine video by clicking here, or on his mug shot above.
For the last 19 years Kevin Windham has been a Supercross series fixture. He's appeared in over 200 Supercross races, winning a total of 19. For much of the last decade he's been the cagey veteran, the paternal provider, and the esteemed patriarch of the sport. So it was an emotional Saturday evening at Round Three of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series in Anaheim, California, when the 34-year-old star announced that he was walking away.
Dirt Rider magazine's photo gallery from Anaheim
Though he thought he would be riding through the 2014 season, after suffering two frightening crashes in 2012, including one that ended his Supercross season, he decided that the risks were starting to outweigh the rewards.
"I would love nothing more than to ride forever," Windham told the crowd. "To the fans of Supercross, this might seem to be a hasty decision, but I've been talking to a lot of people for a lot of months. I thought I would be able to come into the season and ride myself out of that funk and that mental hurdle I was having to overcome. With every passing lap--be it at the test track, my home track, or the stadium--it became more and more difficult to ride with the clarity I needed to be safe, fast, and successful."
Chuck Patterson is quite the Renaissance man when it comes to outdoor adventure. Whether he's chasing sharks, swells, or snow, he's usually turning heads at each stop. The 6'2" 220-pound waterman is best known these days as a racing champion in the fledgling sport of standup paddling, but come winter he always reverts back to his skiing roots, even if he happens to be riding 50-foot waves in Hawaii.
Patterson was enjoying some fresh powder in the Sierras with friends earlier this month when a storm in the Pacific began to light up surf forecasting websites. Massive swells were headed straight toward Hawaii. Rather than head back to his Southern California home to pick up his surfboard, however, Patterson just decided to bring his skis, boots, and poles with him.
See the full interview with Chuck Patterson
The inspiration for this feat came from Patterson's friend who has been combining skiing with base jumping, launching off towering cliffs then pulling a parachute open. "He said that big waves are like liquid mountains," Patterson told SUP magazine. "So I should try skiing them."
The concept wasn't exactly new to Patterson. He first attempted the feat 14 years ago. But back then the equipment wasn't nearly as refined, and the waves surfers were riding weren't nearly as big. Both circumstances rendered those early attempts failures.
But when it comes to skiing down big blue mountains that are guaranteed to avalanche, Patterson made a significant breakthrough recently by conquering 50-foot waves at Jaws, the most feared big-wave break in all of Hawaii. His latest descents were on waves double the size of his strike there last year.
What's most startling about his most recent effort is he's not bound to his skis in old-school waterski fashion. Instead, he's wearing ski boots. He's clicked in to ski bindings. He's even turning with the help of his ski poles. "The ski poles made it feel natural and gave me extra balance," he told SUP. "I could feel where I needed to be."
Watch Chuck Patterson get circled by sharks
Of course, Patterson is well aware of the fact that if he wiped out in those boots and bindings, he'd likely break a leg before sinking straight to the bottom. But for some reason, that didn't scare him. "More than 25 years spent in the ocean has taught me which waves to choose."
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VIDEO - Big-wave surfers share the spoils at the Mavericks Invitational
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The scene from the water at Mavericks on Sunday was chaotic, with more than 50 watercraft vying for position to view the best big-wave surfers in the world compete in the annual invitational. Photo: Grant EllisPeter Mel wasn't the only winner at Mavericks on Sunday. While the 43-year-old big-wave surfer from Santa Cruz, California, finally bagged the Mavericks Invitational title that's eluded him for more than a decade, he shared the spoils of his victory with the other finalists.
Mel has been surfing Mavericks for more than twenty years. He was among the first wave of surfers to converge on the hallowed big-wave break when its well-kept secret was finally revealed in the early 90s.
In the two decades since, Mel's been a dominant player in the Mavericks lineup, making him a favorite in the prestigious big-wave surfing competition. Though Mel had never won the Mavericks event until Sunday, he was crowned the 2012 world champion of the fledgling Big-Wave World Tour.
His status also helped land him a small role in the movie "Chasing Mavericks", a true-life tale based on the famous wave, and the life of the late Jay Moriarity, who gained surfing world fame in 1994 by conquering the hallowed wave as a 16-year-old. Sadly, Moriarity lost his life in a diving accident back in 2001. He was one of Mel's good surfing friends from Santa Cruz. The Mavericks Invitational is held in memory of Moriarity.
And Moriarity certainly would have been smiling Sunday, as perfect conditions and an incredible gathering of big-wave talent converged on his beloved break.
While the huge waves forecast for Sunday didn't live up to the hype, there were still some incredible rides when the bigger sets did rumble through. Due to the inconsistent conditions, however, the finalists all agreed to split the $50,000 prize before they took to the water for the final heat. It's a move that demonstrates the big-wave camaraderie Moriarty was so proud of.
"In conditions like that, it felt right," Mel told Surfer magazine afterward. "I don't know, maybe we should just all split the money every time. We do it because of the love we all have for riding big waves, and the feeling that you get from doing it. Everything else is just kind of an afterthought."
Mel's full post-victory interview
Other finalists included Zach Warmhoudt, Greg Long, Alex Martins, Mark Healey, and Shawn Dollar. For Long, Sunday was his first public appearance since his near drowning last month at Cortes Bank. Long has been the most dominant figure in the big-wave arena for the past five years, but many wondered if his recent episode would slow him down. They got their answer when Long advanced to the final with a smile on his face.
In the end, the finalists all got what they were looking for: perfect surf, a beautiful day, good friends, great rides, and not a bad payday.
While the huge surf that was expected on Sunday didn't live up to forecasters' predictions, there was still enough water moving around to justify holding the event, and the conditions couldn't have been any better. Competitors were happy to have the entire lineup to themselves. Photo: Don Montgomery.
Mark Healey flew in from Hawaii to compete in the event. When he's not hunting big waves Healey is known for riding on the backs of sharks. Seriously. See for yourself. Photo: Glaser/Surfer magazine.
So just how big was it on Sunday? Well, surfers are known for having conservative scales. But all you need to know is this board is almost 10 feet long, then do the math. Photo: Montgomery.
Media, fans, and competitors spent much of their day on the water in the massive channel dwelling flotilla. Horns were blaring when the big sets arrived. Photo: Montgomery
This one's for Jay. Photo: Montgomery
See Surfer magazine's full photo gallery of the Mavericks Invitational here.
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It's rare to find surfers who can will their way across snow covered beaches to get to the lineup. But for the surf-starved in the North East, it's always summer on the inside when conditions are this crisp and clean. Photo: Zak Bush/Surfer magazine
See the full video of this session here
Zak Bush is an East Coast surf photographer who'll do anything to catch a few waves, as evidenced by his latest trek. After suffering through a particularly long flat spell in New Jersey, his buddy Mikey DeTemple (who checks the weather forecast every four hours) figured out a solution. He told Bush the surf conditions in Maine would be perfect the following day, if they could just get up there. There was just one problem, DeTemple noted, "We have to drive into a blizzard."
See the photo gallery here
Fortunately, Bush and DeTemple made it up there in one piece. And when they arrived, they were rewarded with heaven-like lineups. With beaches buried in a fresh blanket of snow, and perfect surf being brushed clean by offshore winds, the boys got their fix of beauty, brotherhood, and board riding.
Bush put together a photo gallery of their road trip for Surfer magazine, and you can view the more of the stunning images by clicking the photo above. And while you're at it, check out the video, too.