As California soaks up some much-needed El Niño-fueled rain, Hawaii has been feeling the weather phenomenon’s effect as well. Record-setting waves with faces 50 feet high have been slamming into the island’s coast, soaking homes and onlooker’s swim trunks, and surfers have flocked from around the world to gawk at these aquatic freight trains. Unfortunately, for all but the most skilled and steel-nerved riders, paddling out into these behemoths is essentially a suicide mission.
Even for the experienced, the risk is high, such as when big-wave rider Tom Dosland took the wipeout in the video above, which became an Internet sensation almost immediately.
“I was free-falling for a while,” he told Surfer in an interview soon after the slam. “It felt like I jumped off a cliff. That’s when my leash stretched out all the way and flipped me over head-first. From there, I hit the face and it was just a brutal beating, like I was in a car crash. It was so intense that I basically froze and forgot to pull my vest.”
Dosland goes on to note that, beating aside, he did indeed paddle out again the very next day, even managing to “get a few.”
Some of the biggest names in the sport decided to hedge their bets, however, and play it safe instead of risking it all in hundreds of thousands of pounds of hammering salt water.
“Well that was fun,” 11-time world champion surf legend Kelly Slater, who made news over the weekend rescuing a child swept from shore by one of the monster waves, noted on Instagram. “Sitting here watching closeout sets roll thru after getting sent to the beach trying to paddle out. First time I've had a walk of shame at Waimea.”
Potential watery pummeling aside, the stalwart keep paddling out, or at least trying to, and there were those who managed to catch a ride on some of these legendary monsters.
For more adrenaline-in-paradise porn, check out the video below from Peahi, Hawaii, filmed just a couple weeks ago. Makes that whole snowpocalypse fervor the news shows get whipped up into this time of year seem pretty tame, eh?