You know how infamous surfers are for embellishing the glorious tales of their most memorable waves? Like that time your best friend told a babe at the bar about the 15-foot wave he caught earlier in the day and how he almost lost life and limb just by being in the water to begin with.
“If you want the ultimate, you gotta be willing to pay the ultimate price,” he says, ruffling his salty hair and taking a swig of his Corona. “It’s not tragic to die doing what you love.”
Dude, it was chest high at best, you think to yourself, fighting the urge to spill the beans that she’s being treated to a free Point Break Live reenactment. But you bite your tongue. Forget the fact that you’ve nicknamed him Bouey Brad because every time it’s even head high he scurries to sit out the back, safely bobbing past the impact zone for two hours while patiently awaiting the moment you wave him in to signal the session’s over.
“Ahhh, man. I was waiting for my set wave. It just never came,” he assures you.
Surfing is built almost entirely on playing one of two roles: One is the guy who sees himself beating Kelly in a heat and blows the memory of each enjoyable wave completely out of proportion. Their turns are suddenly crisper, tighter, and more stylish (or they actually resemble turns to begin with) and the wave itself is bigger and scarier, as they retell everything.
The other surfer is the one who declares everything “two feet.” Everything.
All-time, pumping Rincon? “Ehh, I’ve seen it better.”
That one trip to Bali where you scored freight train barrels and thought you might die? “It was like two-foot Hawaiian…”
Well, if there were ever a wave that couldn’t possibly be oversold, embellished, or “misremembered,” it’s Koa Smith’s two-minute long, eight-barrel Skeleton Bay screamer from earlier this year. And thanks to the video proof of it all — GoPros and drones and such— Koa doesn’t even have to talk the whole thing up. Just watch and count em, one through eight.
Here, thanks to the Associated Press, surprisingly enough, we actually get to hear it from the horse’s mouth. It features soundbites you’ll likely never hear another surfer say when recalling any wave: “This barrel…I forget what barrel this was…”