Author: Dr Abalone

I’m a marine biologist living in the Pacific Northwest who got started as a surfer on the California coast in the early 1970s. In addition to writing scientific research articles, I also write about surfing, making videos, wine, and the US west coast / Hawaiian life styles.

Aiming for the Ultimate: Riding the Tube

The first thing that got my attention was how the noise of the crashing wave suddenly went silent. … Another interesting aspect was how everything seemed to slow down. This slow motion sensation, combined with the silence, had me wondering whether I had entered a different world from the one outside the tube. The most…

The Giant 200-Foot Wave at Trinidad, California

One hundred years ago, on Dec. 31, 1914, the lighthouse at Trinidad Head was assaulted by a wave of monstrous proportions. Although the details are unclear, we know that the storm that produced the waves was unusual and that the wave was greater than 100 feet and perhaps much more. The only eyewitness was the keeper of the lighthouse at Trinidad Head at that time, Captain Fred Harrington, and here is his account of the notorious wave.

Gifts from the Sea: the Lives We Touch

Twenty-two years ago I saved a women from drowning and I was recently reminded of how we are all connected and how simple acts can have profound consequences. It was 1992 and I had just moved to Hawaii to start a position as an Assistant Professor at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, my dream job. Barely…

What Lies Beneath: the Waves, Reef and Marine Life of Maverick’s

The wave at Maverick’s is unique in many ways: its location, the geology and geomorphology of the reef, and the massive swells that surfers ride. In many ways Maverick’s allure is the story of its reef, which is legendary for creating both a perfect large wave and a reef seemingly designed to punish those attempting to ride it . As if the reef and wave weren’t enough you can add the fact that great white sharks frequent the area and occasionally clear the lineup with their presence. In the early days, before it became popular, surfers knew it would eventually kill people with its strong currents, long period swells, 10-15 wave sets and multi-layered inner reef full of valleys, holes and crevasses leading into a boneyard of exposed, jagged rocks. And it has.

Best Years of Our Life: Pacific Beach 1971

It was the best years of our life When we were children remember what it’s like To bring back memories of the good things we once knew To be right, there’s so much we gotta do. — Iron Butterfly, Best Years of Our Life, Metamorphosis ▲ click to hear the music ▲ Listening to Iron Butterfly transports me…