Well, we’ve all wanted to learn how to surf and the majority of us have probably tried it. This is not a rarity in big-wave surfing! The waves in big wave surfing are usually up to 30 meters high and can only be tamed by very experienced surfers. Therefore, it is also not possible to paddle towards the waves, so the surfers have to be brought out to sea by helicopters or jet skis.
And though surfing itself is quite an extreme sport, big wave surfing is much more dangerous and involves taking risks for the sake of an acute, genuine and exceptional experience. What are the dangers of this sport? Big waves are very powerful. They can easily push the surfer 6-15 meters under the water. It is very easy to get disoriented under strong pressure and lose your balance, so it is extremely important to get to the surface before the next wave arrives latestforyouth .
Usually, there are only 20 seconds to do this. It is difficult to withstand one powerful wave, and several consecutive waves are almost impossible. Therefore, big wave surfing is a very risky activity, and only experienced surfers dare to try it. No less dangerous for surfers is also the bottom of the sea/ocean. No matter what it is: just sand, stones or coral. Anything can cause damage if there is a huge wave of such inhuman strength. Also, water pressure at 20 to 50 feet can be strong enough to rupture eardrums. Strong currents and water exposure at these depths can also hit the surfer against the reef or ocean floor, which can cause serious injury or even death.
The size of the waves results in different sizes of surfboards for surfing big waves. A larger and longer board allows the rider to paddle fast enough to catch the wave and has the advantage of being more stable, but it also limits manoeuvrability and surfing speed.
The oldest and most prestigious big wave competition is the Eddie, named after the Hawaiian lifeguard and surfer Eddie Aikau, who lives on the north shore of the island of Oahu. And it must be said that this sport has slightly different criteria compared to conventional surfing. The tricks of the surfer are of secondary importance, and the first place is given to the wave itself, or rather its size.
But are there many destinations with big waves? No, and one of the several spots with enough big waves is Nazare in Portugal. The coast of Nazare was familiar to surfers since the middle of last century but surfed here only on the “smallest” waves close to the shore. Generally, until about 1990, waves higher than 6 meters were not considered particularly suitable for surfing. On the biggest waves of Nazare, you can surf only by speeding up behind the jets. And surfing there is no longer a selfish activity for one person, it’s a whole team effort. If we’re talking about surfing on moderately large waves (about 15 meters), the team consists of two or three people: one jete with a driver who takes the surfer to the lineup and speeds up on the waves, and sometimes a third person with a radio on shore for backup. Each driver of each jet has a walkie-talkie, and they are all tuned to the same frequency.
Is big wave surfing worth trying? Well, it depends on many factors. As already mentioned above, it is an extreme sports discipline for only experienced surfers. And it is not so easy to start big wave surfing, since there are only a few big wave surfing destinations in the world.