HISTORY OF SURFING: WHEN THE WAVE CHARGES BACK

HISTORY OF SURFING: WHEN THE WAVE CHARGES BACK

EXAMINING OUR PERSONAL OBSESSIONS WITH BIG-WAVE DANGER, THROUGH THE LIFE OF JOSE ANGEL

Matt Warshaw’s newest HOS chapter opens just as the North Shore swapped distinction with Makaha as surfing’s big-wave colosseum. A group of California transplants, including Pat Curren, Greg Noll, Ricky Grigg, and Fred Van Dyke, brought fresh cool and bravado to surfing giant waves. Give the chapter a read here, but give Warshaw’s recent EOS blog entry a read, too, and peer inside the mind of Jose Angel, the Californian perhaps least understood among his peers but described by Noll as “the gutsiest surfer there ever was.” Warshaw explains:

Gentle and easy-going on land, a favorite teacher at Haleiwa Elementary School, [Angel] shifted into a different gear when the surf got huge. Intensity was what mattered to Angel. Riding a huge wave to the end was great and all, but Angel wanted to get closer yet to the power source. Right after takeoff, with a Tourette’s-like compulsion and suddenness, he might jump up from the tail of his board, tuck into a backward summersault, and skip down the face as the curl pitched overhead and exploded into the trough. “Or he’d take an unbelievably hairy drop,” Grigg recalled, “make the hard part of the wave, and then step off his board and let the thing destroy him.”

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