The Last Big Wave

“Whatever happened to big-wave surfing?”

In late 1982, Hawaiian surf journalist Leonard Brady posed this question in SURFER magazine. For several weeks Brady had been watching a few big-wave holdovers take on Waimea Bay, and he couldn’t believe the drama that was on display: the huge, up-thrusting field of play; the raw line of attack; the pursuing avalanche of whitewater; the cleaved difference between a made ride and a wipeout. How was it possible, Brady wondered, that this brutal but mesme...

Waimea hardass Greg Noll wasn't against the new-fangled performance riding in small waves. "But at some point the emphasis begins to change. And what’s left is a big, damn, terrorizing wave.”