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The Inertia

Almost two decades ago now, tow surfing was reaching the peak of its popularity. Step Into Liquid was all the rage and surfers had figured out a way to get into waves so big they were previously unthinkable. Waves were being surfed that had never been surfed before, and it seemed that tow surfing was well and truly going to become a huge part of surfing. The addition of the ski didn’t just prove that surfing waves of those proportions was possible — it proved that surviving the wipeouts was, too. Right smack in the middle of that was a Central California behemoth called “Ghost Tree.”

It was hailed among the better big waves on the planet, alongside Jaws and Maverick’s, but like tow surfing itself, Ghost Tree just kind of vanished from the surfing world. The waves still break there as big as they ever did, but the hype around them has waned. In the first of a three-part series, Red Bull begins its investigation into how Ghost Tree took big wave surfing by storm… then disappeared.


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