James Cook certainly couldn’t have tweeted a photo when he arrived on the shores of Hawaii, accompanied by the appropriate “#WTF” caption. But had the technology been available, I’m sure it would have blown up each of his social media accounts. To Cook and anybody that had yet to witness the act of riding a wave, gliding on water effortlessly and gracefully, literally dancing on the surface of the ocean, it had to at least feel like some kind of witchcraft. What kind of magic was at play here? Is this even human? Hashtag. What. The. F***?
For the most part, this is the same reaction we all give to most things Laird Hamilton does on a wave. Whether you screen grab him shooting the Malibu pier and post “#WTF” or not, your inner monologue is probably going to be a mixed bag of “I guess that’s just Laird being Laird” and “Seriously, bro?” But the truth is, I can watch Laird tow in at Teahupoo and somewhat understand the mechanics of pulling into that wave mixed with a healthy dose of superhuman fortitude it takes to stand tall in those conditions. Many of us have caught enough waves to simply get it. The motions. The technique. The application of our typical wave riding skills. Then multiply those factors by about a hundred, along with superior balance, intuition, strength, etc., and you’ve got Laird on a wave. I can at least start to wrap my head around that. But Laird Hamilton riding a foil board, on the other hand? What kind of magic is at play here? Seriously, how in the world do these things glide on top of the surface of the water? What kind of spells are being cast to make this possible? Hashtag what the f***?