“THE GREAT WAVES OF DECEMBER ‘SIXTY-NINE,” BY RICK GRIGG

This article was originally published in the August 1971 issue of SURFER. Photos of Waimea Bay, above, by Roger Sames. 

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At 11:30 p.m. on the night of Monday, December 1, 1969, Madeline Valentine awoke to the sounds of screaming sirens. A Sunset Beach fire truck was slowly moving down the road behind her beachfront home. Someone was yelling, "Evacuate! Evacuate!" Rushing outside, she and her husband Val were met by a curtain of water racing over the protective bank in front of t...