Will the open ocean become the new big wave frontier?
At 23.8 metres (78 feet) it was the biggest wave ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere. According to an article on the Sydney Morning Herald’s website, the colossal swell was measured by a buoy moored at Campbell Island off New Zealand's South Island.
The linked article above goes into further detail about the meteorological forces, which conspired to create the wave, but essentially a rapidly evolving low-pressure system that travelled at the same velocity as the wave it was pushing was responsible for the mountainous lump of water.
A couple of weeks ago Rodrigo Koxa won the Quiksilver XXL Biggest Wave Award for riding what was called by some, an 80 ft wave at Nazare in Portugal.
Meanwhile the quest to conquer the 100ft wave remains big wave surfing’s Holy Grail. With the recent improvements to foil boards and the corresponding surge in their popularity, one wonders how long it will be before the likes of Laird Hamilton and Kai Lenny start tracking open ocean swells in pursuit of waves bigger than an anything ever seen. Laird already ventures well beyond the coast of Kauai to escape crowds and chase down big swells.
Maybe the deep ocean session is just a hypothetical, aquatic fantasy and there will always be the argument that an open ocean swell is not a breaking wave, but after Koxa’s ride at Nazare where do you go next?