In the last few years, safety has pulled a chair up to the big wave table. Like snowboarding and helmets, what was once scoffed at is now the norm–and rightfully so. Protect ya neck, as Wu-Tang says.
With big wave surfing officially entering the WSL’s contest arena and boundaries being pushed further than they’ve ever been pushed it’s become more and more important for everyone in the water to know what to do when disaster strikes. That’s why TAG Heuer, the watch company that supports the WSL, has a series called #Don’tCrackUnderPressure, with an unexplained hashtag at the front.
What these athletes are doing is some of the craziest stuff in the sporting world. It’s strange that there’s not more money in it–many of them are footing their own bills, scraping together whatever money they can, risking their lives for the most old-school of rewards: respect, notoriety, and straight up love for the game.