Ever met that sweet wonderful child you could never say anything bad about. Then you hear stories of that sweet child turning into a monster. Meet Waimea Bay.
By summertime it’s a serene Hawaiian beach with a nice long, beautiful stretch of sand. Come fall and into winter, the big swells thunder in with consistent vengeance. Prior to 1957, when it got big, many thought it was unrideable.
Greg Noll’s language…not appropriate for kids
Enter a young kid dressed who would become famous for white and black jail house striped trunks nicknamed the Da Bull. November 7, ‘57 Greg Noll, the Velzy protégé, took a bunch of guys known for being big wave riders out. Noll’s goading worked. None of them thought Waimea was rideable. Noll did.
By 1964 Noll’s reputation had grown mythic in the community. As his reputation and skill grew, so did surfing bigger and bigger waves. He became increasingly immune to what should have increasing levels of fear.
In December of that year a huge swell was exploding at Waimea. Mike Stang captures the day and Noll’s experience, “I have a photo of Greg at Waimea, taken several years after we were the first to surf there. In the photo, he’s riding the biggest wave I’ve ever seen anyone ride. I didn’t see him ride Makaha in ’69, and I’m glad I wasn’t there — he probably would have talked me into going out there with him, like he did at so many other places. But I remember that set at Waimea. It was December of ’64. I had lost my board in the previous set and had to swim in, climb over the rocks to get my board. I stood up just in time to see another set come through. I couldn’t believe it. It was monstrous, preternatural. And there was Greg, taking off on the biggest wave of the set and streaking across with the channel starting to break in big and Greg looked so unbelievably small.”
Here are some photos I took in October 2012 swell
Jim Caldwell Redondo Beach