To get back to Laird's Tahiti wave. I'm transfixed by it. As was everyone when the photos came out. I think every surf rag that month ran the pictures. One cover simply ran a photo with the headline: "Oh. My. God."
Greg Noll in the film, who calls Laird the greatest big wave surfer ever, when, really, he is, said "I saw it and said, no way, that shit's impossible"
Because it's a freak wave. It's not meant to be surfed. If you're fit enough, and surfing Waimea 20 ft +, you can generally survive if you wipe out. Mavericks too, but that's harder, because of the jagged rocks and the cliff face that the gigantic waves run into. Mark Foo died there, remember.
But the Tahiti break, at that size, is a killer. Fall off, you die. However massive you are, your bones break like twigs. A lot of surfers have died there.
It took a while for Laird to recover. There's footage of him sitting on the jet ski after that wave, in tears. Apparently, for weeks after, he talked in an edgy 'anger management' style whisper.
Then he surfed 40 ft jaws again, and he was alright.
Laird Hamilton is fucking bananas! Gotta love him, though! What a weird life!
I realise I'm talking to myself here, by the way.