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The Inertia

Chances are good that you remember the infamous Code Red swell. It would be strange if you didn’t — it was a swell that produced waves of such monumental consequence they were seared into the brains of those watching and especially those surfing. The waves were so big, in fact, that basically everyone was banned from the ocean.

It was August 27, 2011, when the Billabong Pro Tahiti was put on hold because the waves were simply too gigantic. Forecasts called for surf of unprecedented size, and the Tahitian Coast Guard wanted everyone on the shore, out of the channel, and out of harm’s way.

The Code Red swell starred alongside Dave Rastovich and Craig Anderson in Taylor Steele’s This Time Tomorrow. The film followed the swell over the Pacific, for nearly 20,000 miles and eight days. The idea, of course, was to surf the same wave twice as it pulsed its way through the ocean.

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“The plan to chase a single swell across the entire Pacific Ocean required a serious swell,” Steele wrote on The Momentum Files. “Well, the infamous ‘Code Red’ swell was very serious. This is where the journey started…virtually disastrous, and would descend into chaos and delirium from there. But through it all, there were moments of brilliance, like the unmade wave of Dave Rastovich’s…and the fact that he and Craig Anderson paddled out (with no boat) at all.”

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