Tag: Waves

Unbounded Courage: the First Surfers to Ride Waimea Bay

When I was a young surfer I read about the first surfers to ride Waimea Bay in 1957. Surfers at that time were too afraid to surf Waimea, and for good reason.From the beach Waimea appeared too big, too fast, too steep and just generally too treacherous to ride. Add to that a raging rip current, sharky waters, and the presence of a church on the point and a Hawaiian heiau in the valley and it all added up to a scary, forbidden place.

SmartFin: Environmental Wave of the Future

As the world’s environmental problems expand the challenge is to keep up with the increasingly larger scale of the issues. Decades ago we worried about individual beaches, now we are focused on whole coastlines, and indeed entire oceans are at risk.  To keep pace marine biologists and oceanographers have deployed huge arrays of sensors across the…

Surfing Crystal Pier: Life as a Grommet

Crystal Pier, 1966 In the long arc of my surfing life my early years remain indelibly etched on my psyche, as is true of most surfers. Why is simple: we are pulled in by the ocean’s allure, rapidly learn her inner-most secrets, measure our courage against her power, but are ultimately humbled by fear. It is the beginning of…

How I Became a Marine Biologist: My Transition from Surfing

It all boils down to one emotion: passion. That’s how I became a successful marine biologist. I was passionate as a surfer and I translated my passion for surfing and love for the ocean into marine biology. It wasn’t planned, it was actually quite serendipitous, and I have never regretted it. And it all started while hitchhiking.…

Peril on the Sea: Nautical Nightmares

As a marine biologist and surfer I have spent a lot of time on and in the ocean. And while surveying the shore, riding waves, scuba diving, or being underwater in a submersible, I have developed a great respect for the sea. She is all-powerful, magnificent, unpredictable, inspiring, and terrifying all at once. And there are moments you face the realization that you are helpless, the sea is in control, that you may die; all you can do is surrender to its power. It is a completely sublime, humbling but ultimately a life changing experience.

Getting Busted Surfing at Fort Point, 1973

Early 1973 Awakened by stones hitting my window I grab my clock, it’s 5AM! Wow and a school day too. I grab my board and wetsuit and pile into the car with Jeff Chamberlain and Sam George as we drive over to the city; San Francisco that is. There is a slight haze on the…

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.