Germany and China don’t immediately call to mind hanging 10, but that’s about to change. The latest urban extreme sport pastime in these cities is urban surfing the big waves on their river systems. As reported by CNN, Munich’s Eisbach River and Hangzhou’s Qiantang River are fast becoming two of the world’s top spots for inner-city surfing.
Lest you think this is for those who can’t cut it on the ocean, it’s not for the faint-hearted. Each fall on the Qiantang, the world’s largest tidal bore, “a wave that travels against the current,” flows upriver. This creates waves up to 27 feet high, traveling at nearly 25 miles per hour. Surfers need to be towed in by jet-ski to ride the “Silver Dragon,” as it’s known.
Living in a land-locked place and thinking of taking up the sport? Watch this clip for inspiration (or a reality check).
Hawaiian pro big-wave surfer Garrett McNamara may have just broken his own world record for surfing the world’s largest wave. Via Skype with Anderson Cooper on CNN, McNamara described the “endless drop” of the estimated 100-foot wave he surfed on January 28 off the fishing village of Nazaré, Portugal.
Nazaré is also where McNamara set the world’s record in 2011, for conquering an estimated 78-foot wave. When asked by Cooper if he got an adrenaline rush from his latest feat, McNamara responded, “No rush, so it’s probably not at 100 feet! I’m not kidding you, Anderson. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. There’s definitely something wrong.”
For those who don’t know very much about the world of pro surfing, it isn’t very often that a professional contest gets cancelled because the surf is actually too big. That’s exactly what happened in Tahiti, however, when a massive swell generated by hurricane force winds in the southern latitudes rendered the surf too powerful for any human to possibly paddle in to.
With the 2011 Billabong Pro Tahiti on hold due to the exceptional surf conditions, many of the world’s top surfers instead opted to whip into the aquatic monsters via tow-lines attached to the back of jet skis. In case you’re unfamiliar with the sport of tow-surfing, this video should be a nice little introduction.
Taking place on the ridiculously shallow reefbreak known as Teahupoo (or simply “Chopes” to those in the know), the spot is renowned for having a wave shape that more resembles a dark, bulbous pit of death than a casual, inviting day at the beach. It’s the same place where Laird Hamilton in August, 2000 rode the wave that forever changed big wave surfing history.
While the contest has since resumed, this is a glimpse into the types of days that professional big wave surfers consistently travel across the globe attempting to conquer.
Many surfers are willing to travel vast distances to find the perfect wave, following the currents in search of the endless summer. But last week a few adventurous souls ventured out into the turbulent waters off the coast of Ireland hoping to find a once in a lifetime ride, and what they discovered were record setting swells that went beyond even their wildest imaginations.
Despite a variety of weather warnings, Duncan Scott, Alistair Mennie, Gabe Davies, and Ritchie Fitzgerald, were pulled out into the rough Irish waters by jet ski, battling waves that had risen to unprecidented levels. Observers estimated that the swells were in excess of 55-feet in height, easily making them the largest that any of these experienced surfers had ever seen, let alone ridden.
Scientists say that the waves were brought on by a set of unusual circumstances that only occur about once every five years. A low pressure system over Iceland caused sea levels to rise and sent waves rolling across the Atlantic Ocean, uninterrupted, for nearly 600 miles, crashing against the Irish coastline with tremendous force.
The four surfers aren’t willing to divulge exactly where they found these monster waves, which are the largest recorded since 44-foot breakers appeared back in 2005. One thing is for certain however, you can bet they’ll be back in 2015 to see if they can find an even bigger wave to ride.
To get a real idea of what these giant waves are like, check out the video below.