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Riding the faces of giants

Big wave art on exhibit in Oceanside

California Surf Museum’s Going Big exhibit opened this week
California Surf Museum’s Going Big exhibit opened this week

Big-wave surfing was born in the minds of Southern California surfers in 1953, when a photo of George Downing and Buzzy Trent riding a 15-foot wave at Makaha, Hawaii, appeared in Life magazine and National Geographic. Downing had moved to Oahu to study the break on the reef after the Second World War.

In 1950, he designed a ten-foot board with a skeg that was stable and solid that allowed him to tackle the powerful waves at Makaha and pioneer what was to become an extreme sport. The longer board was needed to paddle into the larger wave successfully, but anything over 20 feet was nearly impossible to drop in on. In 1992, Laird Hamilton and Darrick Doerner first used a jet ski to tow each other into waves up to 30 feet tall. This technique allowed them to use a seven-foot board. By the turn of the century, big-wave surfers were riding faces over 50 feet high.

Place

California Surf Museum

312 Pier View Way, Oceanside

For an in-depth look at the history of big-wave riding and competition, Oceanside’s California Surf Museum is hosting the exhibit Going Big: A History Of Big Wave Surfing Around the World, December 1st through the 31st.

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California Surf Museum’s Going Big exhibit opened this week
California Surf Museum’s Going Big exhibit opened this week

Big-wave surfing was born in the minds of Southern California surfers in 1953, when a photo of George Downing and Buzzy Trent riding a 15-foot wave at Makaha, Hawaii, appeared in Life magazine and National Geographic. Downing had moved to Oahu to study the break on the reef after the Second World War.

In 1950, he designed a ten-foot board with a skeg that was stable and solid that allowed him to tackle the powerful waves at Makaha and pioneer what was to become an extreme sport. The longer board was needed to paddle into the larger wave successfully, but anything over 20 feet was nearly impossible to drop in on. In 1992, Laird Hamilton and Darrick Doerner first used a jet ski to tow each other into waves up to 30 feet tall. This technique allowed them to use a seven-foot board. By the turn of the century, big-wave surfers were riding faces over 50 feet high.

Place

California Surf Museum

312 Pier View Way, Oceanside

For an in-depth look at the history of big-wave riding and competition, Oceanside’s California Surf Museum is hosting the exhibit Going Big: A History Of Big Wave Surfing Around the World, December 1st through the 31st.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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