Sixteen years ago today Teahupoo Laird Hamilton caught "the single most significant wave in surfing history", according to Sam George. People called it other things too: the "Millennium wave", the "wave that was heard around the world", and it featured on every surf magazine and website.
Looks relatively tame now, which shows how far surfing has come. It's kinda hard to recall just how earth shattering this wave was at the time when waves like this are being ridden every other month.
I remember my reaction well. Stunned. It was the still photo that amazed.
Never ever seen that much water pouring into a lip to go over a surfer's head.
But really the shock was, how glassy it was. You very rarely see even a waist-high wave that glassy. And even that glassy waist-high wave, is the lip still so glassy? But that massive quantity of glass, it just seemed utterly surreal.
That was then, this is now...
Wow great pic you can see how much it sucks the bottom out! How many feet variation is there from left of the photo to the base of that wave Wow!!
Ouch! That last pic is frightening. Not sure that waves like Laird's are being ridden every other week, but it is a good insight into how far big wave surfing has come.
Especially Teahupo, where the code red day seemed to have waves that dwarf Laird's. Then there's the Peahi waves, although a very different beast.
Stu, try to dig up the background of the bloke in your photo above. He of course lived to tell the story but if I remember correctly he took the most amazing wipeout at Peahi sailboarding. A Frenchman he is.
Lairds wave is still the one - the conditions, the wave itself, the man - yes definitely surreal.
Niccollo Porcella, of Italian extraction but raised in Maui, brother to Francisco, good kite boarder, and the number one T.O.A.D exponent (Take Off And Die) in all surfdom, something we love him for.
Also owns a mean pair of stretch jeans and he ain't afraid to use 'em:
Is he surfing answer to Jean Claude Van Damme..the resemblance is uncanny