“Oh my god, that has got to be one of the biggest waves ever paddled into,” said big-wave surfer and Jaws legend Dave Kalama. A statement like that—especially coming from someone with a clout as distinguished as Dave Kalama’s—has revolutionary implications. And who better to take that potential title than former big-wave world champion Greg Long?
Greg paddled into this massive mountain of water during round one of the Pe’ahi Challenge, the first-ever big-wave contest of its kind. The reward for this noble feat? Nine points and a buttload of respect for the California native.
“It was probably one of, if not the best waves of my life even though I didn’t make it,” Long said in his post-heat interview. “It’s been a dream of mine to catch one of these barrels and to see that vision. It’s the perfect direction to do it and get the waves from way out the back. Paddling in it looks impossible to make it all the way to the channel but then you get around that first section coming from behind and you’re set.”
Greg went on to surf in the final heat, but it was Maui local Billy Kemper who took the top spot. Regardless of whether or not this is the biggest wave ever paddled, you have to respect Greg’s insane ability to survive the howling offshore winds and knee-buckling chop, not to mention deciding to pull into that massive barrel, knowing he was unlikely coming out. Still, one question remains: Is this the biggest wave ever paddled into? Or was it Mark Healey in Puerto Escondido last May?