CARNIVAL CRUISE

posted by / News / January 16, 2004

Big-wave legend and Billabong {{{Odyssey}}} surfer Mike Parsons didn’t see this one coming in his worst nightmare. This past Monday (Jan. 12), as surfers up and down the West Coast pulled out their guns and headed to their favorite winter wonderland, Parsons did the same with Brad Gerlach, Shane Dorian, Noah Johnson and a handful of other heavywater noteworthies. The only difference is, his favorite big-wave spot just happens to be an underwater shoal {{{100}}} miles off the coast. The same spot he rode a 66-foot wave in 2001, turning the surf world on its head. And the same spot he rode on a flawless, 20-foot day in mid-December with only three other surfers.But when he and his crew jumped out of an A-Star helicopter on Monday, 8:15 a.m., Parsons was floored at what had become of Cortes Bank virtually overnight. More than 20 Skis buzzing around. A “Condor {{{Express}}}” catamaran, way too close to the impact zone, carrying a group of photographers and filmers. A fat guy learning how to tow surf on a kneeboard. Professional Jet Skiers trolling the lineup in Hoosier sweatshirts and jeans. Planes dive-bombing overhead. And inconsistent 10- to 12-foot surf rolling through. “It wasn’t just a joke,” said Parsons. “It was just plain embarrassing.”In the spot’s defense, it was the most over-publicized, over-hyped swell in the past couple of years. But with more big low-pressure systems coming down the pike, is this only the beginning? Parsons thinks so. “There were so many people out there with no clue, like they were watching a football game or something,” he said. “The thing they don’t realize is, it was small out there on Monday. If it had been breaking like it should have, it would have been a disaster.”Although both Snips and Dorian found a couple of solid waves in the afternoon, the writing was still on the big, blue wall for Parsons: it’s time to move on. “It’s still the place with the most potential for 100-foot wave,” said Parsons. “But until that 10-year swell comes, I’ll be somewhere else.” – Evan Slater

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