The wave is indeed awesome! Just look at it and compare the incredible size of the surf with the surfer. The Discovery article estimated it at 85 feet. The surfer in the picture is Mike Parsons. It was taken at Cortes Bank, 105 miles off the California coast last Saturday, January 5, 2008.
Was it really the biggest surf wave ever?
According to an Larry O'Hanlon's article a year ago, the largest verified wave ever ridden was a 70-footer by Pete Cabrinha of Maui, in 2004. No one seems to have toppled that record since then. In today's new Discovery News article also by O'Hanlon, this 2008 gargantuan surf was
. . . powered by the strong winter storm that passed through California the night before and a second storm approaching fast in its wake.I think another news article called the giant waves were "awakened" by the storm. Either way, we don't really know what caused the gigantic size of this surf. Anyway
Here are some insider's further explanations on how and what as alluded in the Discovery news article:
"This will probably set the new record," said Robert Brown, the surfing photographer who captured images of the historic rides. Easily said, perhaps, but it was no easy task to get to the waves or to ride them, Brown told Discovery News.
As in all big wave surfing, surfers worked in highly coordinated pairs. Towing is the only way surfers can reach the high speeds of such giant open ocean waves. Once up to speed and in the right location on the wave, the surfer-in-tow releases his towline and drops down the face of the wave atop his board -- and the ride begins.And
Wow! What a ride! At any rate, surfers are the ones that really know what a monster surf wave is all about. All power to them! (I, for one, just be very contented to be just an ordinary spectator of the spectacular -- on the internet.)
Making matters even more harrowing was the fact that the surface of the waves and the water between the waves was riddled with humps up to five or six feet tall, he said. Once riding the waves, there was yet another test of sanity.
"The wave felt like you never got to the bottom," recalled Parsons.
"It felt like one endless drop."