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The Big Juice: Epic Tales of Big Wave Surfingby John Long
Fifty years ago, pioneering big-wave surfer Buzzy Trent said, “Big waves are not measured in feet and inches, but in increments of fear.”
Up at Mavericks, Peter Mel had surfed two amazing waves and was up on his third when it hit an undersea ledge and jacked vertical, sucking the bottom out of the wave. As the six-story wall of water folded and detonated, Mel simply ducked, covered, and prayed. “It was like I was run over by Niagara Falls,” he says. “I thought it was going to tear the limbs off my body.” His partner Ryan Augenstein rushed in and stopped cold. The ocean was so churned, the impeller couldnt get a grip in the foam - like a car spinning its wheels in snow. As another wave bore down, the jet ski suddenly caught, Mel grabbed the sled and the two shot to safety. “It was one of the most amazing saves Ive ever seen,” Mel says. At 12:30 a rescue team motored out. A crab boat named Good Guys had foundered, its two fishermen lost to the waves.
Down at Ghost Tree, Anthony Ruffo had tow-surfed into four menacing bombs. Peter Davi was determined to tow into at least one wave on his traditional paddleboard. “Im 45 years old and I want one of the f***ing waves,” he said from the back of Sorensens Jet Ski. “Those were the last words I heard him say,” Sorensen says.
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