August 12, 2011

'"It's like watching Evel Knievel jump the Grand Canyon," says Evan Slater'

Los Angeles Times "At the Mavericks surf spot south of San Francisco, the ocean is on steroids." By Dan Weikel and Sachi Cunningham

'A huge groundswell, the gift from a storm off Japan, closes in on dozens of surfers who dot the bluish-green Pacific. Most sit on their boards while a few jockey for the takeoff spot as the wave crosses a crescent-shaped reef and morphs into a peak three to four stories high.

'The rising swell lifts Mark Healey of Hawaii. After paddling hard at the crest, he jumps to his feet, drops down the near vertical face and turns toward the unbroken shoulder. He is pursued by an avalanche of whitewater, so thunderous it can register on seismic instruments at UC Berkeley 30 miles away.

'So begins "Chasing the Swell," a surf video in three chapters produced by the Los Angeles Times. The film chronicles the exploits of a handful of big wave hunters last winter as they traveled to Waimea Bay on the north shore of Oahu, Mavericks off Pillar Point in Half Moon Bay, and Isla Todos Santos, a small island off Baja California. It is an exciting primer for anyone interested in this year's big wave season, which began last week.'

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