Kate wanted to go up to the North Shore, and so I took the day off to go with her. We had a great hike out at one of the state parks where we saw monk seals and nesting/flying albatrosses. As it turned out, while we were up there, the big waves rolled in and they held a not-so-annual big wave surfing competition. In fact, it had not been held for a half dozen years because the waves have to be at least 30 feet for a sustained period. Earlier this year it was scheduled, but then called off. Because we were just 4 miles down the road, we got to see this event, and that’s exactly what it was.
The crowds were everywhere. I think I heard that something like 25,000 people descended onto this beach. Some people had gotten their spots the evening before, while others came at 6am for the competition that started at 8am. The crowds were remarkably well behaved, and they cheered when surfer’s went for a wave and when they came in. A very supportive crowd.
The event was broadcast on CBS, and there were quite a few sports photographers there. We ended up adjacent to the launch spot – fantastic seating to see the surfers come in and out. The event also used drones that flew up and down the beach and all the way out to where the surfers were riding waves.
The surfers all seemed very collegial with each other and most appeared to know each other. Since I am not into surfing, I had no idea who these celebrities were. Here are some photos in the event that you know.
There was one fellow whose name was given to us by the person next to us. That was John John Florence, and he was a local who apparently was a favorite in the competition and did in fact win.
Here’s a picture of him studying the water while the crowd looks on.
Just so you realize how dangerous this appeared to be, here’s a photo of a surfer making an entry onto the wave. The boards that they are carrying are 10-12 feet long. Apparently the height of the waves was around 40 feet. Some of these entries appeared to be near-vertical descents.
All in all, it was good fun. And if you’re going to go to a surf competition, I guess this one was a good as it gets from what I gathered.