In December 1969, Greg Noll capped off a trail-blazing big wave career by riding “the biggest wave ever ridden.” Or did he?
Records were broken and legends forged at Makaha on December 4th, 1969. It is a more storied day than perhaps any other in big wave surf history. The “greatest swell of the 20th century” uprooted trees, trashed houses and hurled boats onto the Kam Highway. It annihilated the North Shore but lit up Makaha where Greg Noll bullrushed the wave of the day. The feat was later declared the biggest wave ever ridden, an unofficial record it maintained for over twenty years. No one knows exactly how big the mythical wave was because, as was reiterated recently in the documentary Riding Giants, “not a single shot or frame of footage exists.”