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Giant Wave Surfing

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The civil defense had called the condition black alert no one was allowed in the oceans if any surfers made it out to the offshore seas and found themselves in situations beyond their control only the United States Coast Guard would be able to save them specially outfitted helicopters patrolled the shoreline with swimmers on board ready to be deployed for an emergency rescue mission but even then there would be no guarantees I don’t know that we’re ever gonna have to pull any of these guys out we’re ready if we need to but most of them professional lifeguards or professional water men or work in some other way around the ocean they have their own jet skis they work together as teams they briefed what they do just like we do in the aircraft before they go most of them are really good at what they do it looked like everyone would have to sit and watch some of the biggest waves ever recorded in the Pacific Ocean to hit the shores of Hawaii but the extreme film crew launched their helicopter to take pictures of a rare and beautiful sight with slim hopes that someone anyone might make it out to the one spot that was servable an outer reef half a mile out in 50-foot deep waters at a break called log cabins when it when it goes over 25 feet there’s no other spot that you can surf the logs is the only one that’ll hold that size that log cabins this shelf out there is quite steep but it’s deep there’s a break around 50 feet that drops to 60 feet about a 10-foot shelf and that’s what actually triggers the wave to break now when it’s 25 feet it’s not gonna break out there it’s too small and so it goes right over that shelf and it goes up a little bit and then doesn’t break and comes in however when the surf is like 40 45 feet it hits that shelf goes top to bottom and breaks when it actually barrels that you know with a sixty to eighty foot face the waves of incredible it’s the most perfect giant wave I’ve ever I could ever imagine actually but just because the waves at log cabins were perfect didn’t mean anyone was going to get to them first they had to get past the treacherous breakwaters and rip currents that were pounding the entire coastline of the North Shore it was like the rapids on the beasts Rivi that is seen you know that whitewater rafters wouldn’t even negotiate one of the most difficult things about getting out was the size of the rib chops were like eight to ten feet of just movements of ocean which was like being in a just a washing machine we’re like two little pieces of cork bobbing around on this little boat and just surrounded in in ocean we’re about 60 yards from getting out and this wave just jacks up it’s the biggest wave I’ve ever seen in my life is probably about 50 feet it was that big and it went all the way down you couldn’t see the end of it we’ve done charging up this way and were like we’re thinking we go we just hit the lip flew up into the air and landed on behind it and there was there was no wife behind it and we made it at in all 12 people made it through the treacherous breakwaters to the open ocean that day what they saw once they got there was beyond comprehension mammoth swells as wide as football fields with tubes big enough to fit a house blue sky offshore winds 30 to 40 foot seas perfectly manicured that were barreling they were standing up it was absolutely the most amazing sight I’ve ever seen in surfing the waves looked as big as like ten-story buildings you know is this pure glass and the swells were just coming in so clean it’s the biggest cleanest swell I’ve ever seen in my life and they’re ready and waiting was the extreme film crew in their helicopter now the only question was where the way it’s too big arrived the waves looked kind of otherworldly you couldn’t really tell how big they were and then when people started dropping in everyone’s mouth just dropped and then we were aghast to see these tiny figures on these mountains it never happened before it’s like six seven stories tall and you’re into it and you’re looking across a block long and the whole thing is moving at 30 miles an hour and you’ve got to get across this it’s so amazing to me to get a feeling that you get from that it’s pretty much indescribable like I couldn’t translate my feeling across with words it was really incredible almost a life-changing experience Peter Cole has been living and surfing on the North Shore of Oahu since 1958 and has witnessed much of surfing history I was witnessing the most fantastic display of surfing and maneuvering in big ways I’ve ever seen in my life and these guys are doing all these turns on these giant waves you don’t even think about big wave riding it doesn’t look dangerous at all it looked like they were just having fun I saw history in the making the waves were so big and the guys were surfing so amazingly well we were all just in complete awe of what was going on out there and we all knew our limitations on that day we all knew that we didn’t have the guts to do what they were doing meanwhile the helicopter pilot was going right into the action this guy was from Vietnam War he felt like it was Vietnam in war that day and he would go down and a lot of times the surfers were above his helicopter he was in so tight to that day at that point realized this is history in the making and here we are with our IMAX cameras capturing that after successfully towing into a handful of perfect waves Ross clarke-jones and Tony Ray found themselves in the worst situation imaginable they were chased down running for their lives from a monster wave that was moving faster than they were I tied Ross under the wave and look like we’re in the perfect spot but the wave just kept building and getting bigger and all of a sudden I realized that the way it was actually sucking me back into it must my equipment wasn’t fast enough it’s a very unpleasant thing being mowed over by you know 40 feet of white water I just remember looking behind me and just seen this huge wall of white water I realized it was gonna get me but I was still trying to get out of the situation I was like head down and just go as fast as I can the biggest danger was was the ski hitting me that’s a 500 pound piece of fiberglass and metal it’s going to heat in their head and could kill you in a second I had a few seconds to try and get a full lung full of air I’ve got that long for there and I’m still riding in this just enveloped in this white screen of foam and is actually Rove little while had time to release that breath and get another breath I did it a third time and then finally eventually smashed me and threw me around like quite violently I was hanging onto the ski the way blast me and I hang on as tight as I could and it just disappeared it was like it evaporated from home to me I didn’t know where it was and I was flying through the air for soon like 20 seconds before I landed back in the ocean you got pummeled by the way I was waiting for Tony to pop up and he hadn’t popped up anyway which was quite frightening I was frightened for his life you know a few seconds later he popped out he was actually further out than I was and yeah it was the experience the worst place to be is at the point where a hitching wave hits the surface of the bottom of the wave that is the place where the full force of the wave explodes on itself no one came closer to that place on January 28th than Noah Johnson shape the wave was really good really hollow and he looked like it was gonna be exactly what I’ve been after you know it ended up being so big that my board wasn’t making enough enough headway down and across the way but I just was just doing everything I could to get my line going where I needed to go and I just wasn’t getting there when you fall in or around the lip it can be dangerous so I turned down the way started trying to get away from the lips I didn’t want to land on me and I ended up timing it just about as good as I possibly could off because the thing hit the back of my board on my back foot it wasn’t quite close enough to me that it knocked me down I ended up being able to ride out the initial explosion the thing ended up just plowing into being mowed me off my board just sent me spinning that washing machine cycle and it was gonna be the worst way I’ve ever had to deal with I stopped spinning and tumbling in the water calm down and my partner Aaron was right there he’s right there to pick me up North Shore local Aaron Lambert was one of the lucky ones who made it out that day he was the only one who was actually able to get inside one of these massive barrels and ride out of it

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