Big wave surfing used to be limited to a few relatively unknown specialists. They were unassuming watermen mingling amongst the rest of the population until the right swell arrived, and then in an instant they’d transform into superheroes of the sea, indifferently absorbing the world’s adoration and gracing the front and back pages of the media for a few short days. Then, as quickly as it arrived, the swell would die, and these heroes would return to their anonymous day jobs leaving behind few clues to their personal experimentation in testing mortality.
That is until one Mr. Laird Hamilton got involved. Largely regarded as the ultimate waterman he came crashing into the public consciousness thanks to his proficiency in riding, paddling and sailing all sorts of weird and wonderful ocean-going craft. Although there is some mileage to be had in his feats on a hydrofoil surfboard, and he’s clearly talented on a SUP, it’s his big wave surfing that will guarantee him status amongst those who have truly redefined specific elements of our sport.