Steve Pike

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

Ionce thought a 100-foot wave was im­pos­si­ble to ride. Surely the sheer vol­ume of wa­ter within the build­ing wave as it moves across the rel­a­tive shal­lows from the deep is too much for a tiny hu­man be­ing to surf ?

Not ac­cord­ing to by­standers and surfers who ex­pe­ri­enced the mon­ster swell in Europe this week.

The wave caught by Car­los Burle this week has been plas­tered across the me­dia all over the world.

From CNN news to Cape news­pa­pers, we have seen that tiny speck skit­tishly bounc­ing down a gar­gan­tuan rolling hill like an ant on a gar­den wall.

They claim it will break the world record of the largest wave ever rid­den, which is held by Hawai­ian Gar­ret McNa­mara at the same spot (Nazare in Por­tu­gal) on a 100foot wave.

It was a day of drama as a huge win­ter storm pounded Europe.

Brazil­ian Maya Gabeira took a heavy wipe­out that nearly cost her her life. Sick­en­ing footage by a Por­tuguese TV sta­tion shows her roiled by tons of white wa­ter like a tiny rag doll in a mael­strom of an­gry foam.

Her com­pa­triot Burle comes to her aid on a jet­ski. With a bro­ken an­kle and dizzy from the beat­ing and loss of air, she passes out as she grabs the sled.

He ac­cel­er­ates and we see her go un­der­wa­ter, still hold­ing on, cre­at­ing a wake be­low the sur­face.

The tenac­ity of that was quite some­thing. Even un­con­scious, she had some­how gripped that thing for dear life. Burle gets her to shore and they re­sus­ci­tate her.

Then he goes on to ride ar­guably the big­gest wave ever rid­den – well over 100 feet, those who saw it say.

“Ar­guably” be­comes quite apt, be­cause of some­thing that the Hawai­ian Laird Hamil­ton said in an in­ter­view with CNN af­ter­wards.

The mod­ern- day Greek God, and he of im­peach­able big-wave cre­den­tials, said that Maya should never have been out there in the first place be­cause she did not pos­sess the right skill lev­els.

He also told CNN (you can catch it on YouTube): “I’d say he (Burle) wiped out on the big­gest wave ever rid­den, but you can’t ex­pect to ride the big­gest wave ever rid­den and not fin­ish the ride.”

Of course we know that Laird is no opin­ion­ated arm­chair ig­no­ra­mus. He pi­o­neered tow-in surf­ing, par­ticu- larly at the surf spot in Hawaii called Jaws, and he caught the “wave of the mil­len­nium” at Teahupoo, Tahiti, in 2000.

He pi­o­neered all sorts of wave craft, and is known as the guy who pop­u­larised the Standup Pad­dle board.

His opin­ion has elicited a storm of re­sponse, with half the surf­ing world con­cur­ring and the other half ac­cus­ing him of be­ing a jeal­ous has­been.

But at no point does Laird say it wasn’t a 100-foot wave, and the great man con­cedes that even if Burle fell off it, it was still the big­gest wave ever rid­den.

Nei­ther does he ques­tion the way that the wave at Nazare breaks. For me, it seems like a mas­sive slop­ing

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.