ASK CAPTAIN BLACKSHORTS

posted by / Magazine / January 6, 2004

THIS MONTH’S CHALLENGE:
Is there really such thing as a {{{100}}}-foot wave?
Asked by
Guillerme Filoso

BLACKSHORTS RESPONDS:
One thing’s fer sure, Guillerme, you’d not be asking had you seen one! Devilish surges of 100 feet or more have surprised ships and shores for centuries. These aren’t tsunamis caused by seismic shifts either. No, these “rogue waves”– d’ar, me likes that name — occur when two waves combine from colliding swells, most often in the open ocean. On September 11, 1995, the Queen Elizabeth II ran into a wave whose crest was level with the bridge, 100-feet above the water line; and most recently, Maverick’s herself saw a 10-story closeout that shocked PWC princess Shawn Alladio and Jonathon Cahill on November 21, 2001.

But me thinks you mean to ask whether there be a ridable100-footer. According Surfline.com’s new video, Making The Call, Big Waves of the North Pacific, there are precious few places could handle such size. Waimea turns off at a mere 60 feet, Todos Santos and Maverick’s shut down at 85 and Jaws slams her trap at 95. Truth be told, of all Poseidon’s haunts, only the legendary Cortes Bank can control such behemoths, able to multiply a mere 20-foot swell a full five times and still offer shoulders smooth as any mermaid’s. But considering it took 40 years just to surf her at 60 feet, even ol’ Blackshorts may not live to see that bowbreaker.

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