10 Tracks Surfing Facts that may, or may not, blow apart your tiny brain.
1) The Biggest wave
Forget Jaws, Mavericks or Nazare, the biggest wave ever recorded was in Lituya Bay on the southern coast of Alaska in 1958. An earthquake measuring 8.3 on the Richter scale hit the area and shook loose an estimated 40 million cubic yards of dirt and glacier from a mountainside. When the debris hit the water, a massive 1,720-foot wave was created and washed over the headland. By all accounts, none of the local Alaskans had a crack. Pussies.
2) The First Aussie Surfer
The first Australian ever to surf was in fact a woman, or a 15-year girl to be precise. When the legendary Duke Kahanamoku was doing the first ever surfing demonstration back in 1914 at Freshwater Beach he chose the young Isabel Letham, who on her very first wave stood up on the board. Surfing in Australia had officially stated.
3) Double Joints
The 11 times world champion Kelly Slater (see above) has a genetic anomaly, often incorrectly called a double jointed back, but correctly known as hypermobility. This means has has no extra joints, just ones that that stretch abnormally. In this he is joined by former pro and now writer Derek Hynd, who has “double jointed” elbows.
4) Perfection, not invention
Hawaiians didn’t invent surfing, they perfected it. Locals had ridden variety of surf craft, usually done for only a few seconds in countries such as Africa, Peru and Tahiti. However the Hawaiians could use the huge koa trees to make the boards longer and wider, enabling the rider to not only steer with his foot, but to stand up on a wave and ride it for a considerable amount of time. They are still banging on about it till this day.
5) The First Fin
The first ever surfboard fin was actually a keel from a speedboat. Back in 1935 Tom Blake found an abandoned speedboat and bolted the keel to his board. “My first wave revealed the truth,” he said later. “Never before had I experienced such control and suitability.”
6) Dog Eat Dog competition
The longest running Surf Dog competition is the Loews Coronado Bay Resort competition that takes place at Imperial Beach, California. Each dog had ten minutes to catch his or her best two waves, and are judged in categories like confidence level, length of ride and their overall ability to “grip it and rip it.” Pig dogging is actively encouraged.
7) The Best Dummy Spit
Whilst surfing professionals have never been afraid of a good old dummy spit in a competition, Mikey Dora still holds the claim for the best. In the semi-finals of the 1967 annual Malibu International, he pulled down his trunks and mooned the panel. Suffice to say, he didn’t make it through to the final. In a close second Victor Ribas once sprayed the entire judging panel from close range with two handfuls of coral rocks at an event in the Maldives.
8) Sharks vs Coconuts
It’s a fact, you are more likely to get killed by a coconut then a shark. Worldwide, more people die on average annually from falling coconuts, around 150 per year. Of course, no one ever made a Hollywood movie about deadly falling coconuts.
9) The Longest Hitchhike
In the 1960s Australian surf adventurer Peter Troy hitchhiked, solo, with a ten foot long malibu, from the world’s most southerly town, Puerto Williams, south of Tierra del Fuego in Chile, to the most northerly, Spitsbergen in Norway, stopping only when he found good surf. It took him more than a year.
10) Longest Hold Down
While there is no official record, it seems Australia’s Jason Polakow holds the award for the longest hold down, suffering three waves on the head at Jaws in 2009. After wiping out on the first wave of the set, the former windsurfing world champion was caught by the next three, yet somehow managing to come up alive. “I wasn’t dead, but every thing went black and I could feel my brain shutting down,” he said afterwards.