Crowds, amirite? Covid has undeniably exploded surfing’s popularity though, I’ll be honest, I only thought it was at soft n’ easy breaks. Longboard spots etc. Jonah Hill’s backyard but new drone footage shot over the great Waimea days ago during a very large run of swell seemingly proves that crowds are, in fact, everywhere.
That vicarious two-part UAV footage was taken January 22, when waves were reportedly surging in at over 20 feet, and dishing out beatings the Honolulu Star Advertiser said prompted 53 lifeguard rescues.
But the educational utility – and, quite possibly, nerve-ruining effects – of the drone video isn’t limited to its close-up perspective of the so-called “fun” of taking off late on a two story-high Waimea wave. With over 50 death-wishing surfers battling one another for each swell, it also provides an idea of just how crowded the sport has gotten, even on the heaviest of days in the most formidable of spots.
The other thing it offers less daring surfers and non-paddlers alike is an idea of how tough it is to control an enormous drop while also avoiding the small army of people wallowing out front as they scratch frantically to get outside the giant incoming set. Whether you’re risking your neck for a slide down Mt. Liquid while navigating the human slalom run, or one of those who’ve made themselves floating human buzzsaw targets in front, the commonly shared fate of surfing Waimea in winter is ending up worse for wear under an avalanche of white water.
Were you out?
Thinking about going out during next swell?
Part of the problem or solution?