Skip to content

Laird Hamilton takes on Teahupoo

I was listening to the Tim Ferris Podcast recently where he had both Laird Hamilton and his wife, Gabrielle Reece for an interview. It was then that I learned about who he is. For those who are uninitiated, Laird is a big wave surfer who had surfed the heaviest surf ever ridden at Teahupoo. A picture of that went into the cover of Surfer Magazine below:

06

From wiki: (and watch the video below)

“Hamilton’s drop into Tahiti’s Teahupoʻo break on the morning of August 17, 2000 firmly established him in the recorded history of surfing. Teahupoʻo is a particularly hazardous shallow-water reef break southeast of the Pacific Island of Tahiti.

On that day, with a larger than normal ocean swell, Darrick Doerner piloted the watercraft, towing Hamilton. Pulling in and releasing the tow rope, Hamilton drove down into the well of the wave’s enormous tunnel vortex, in full view of boat-based photographers’ and videographers’ cameras. With his signature artistic flair, Hamilton continued deeply carving water, emerging back over the wave’s shoulder. A still photograph of him riding the wave made the cover of Surfer magazine, with the caption: “oh my god…”The wave became known as “the heaviest ever ridden”.

In the filmed coverage of this event in the motion picture Riding Giants, Doerner said “I towed him onto this wave. And it was to the point where I almost said ‘Don’t let go of the rope,’ and when I looked back he was gone.

Hamilton is regarded by surfing historians as the “all time best of the best” at big wave surfing, regularly surfing swells of 35 feet (11 m) tall, and moving at speeds in excess of 30 miles (48 km) an hour and successfully riding other waves of up to 70 feet (21 m) high, at up to 50 mph (80 km/h).[citation needed] Hamilton prefers tow-in surfing the giant waves of Peʻahi reef (known as the Jaws surf break) on the north central shore of the Island of Maui.”

How amazing is that. And as I listened to the Tim Ferris podcast, I learned a lot about this man not only from himself but also from his wife, Gabrielle Reece who is herself, a world class athlete. Laird has a perseverance and patience for excellence. His wife talks about how he will persevere to master a technique even if it takes him years to master it. He is also very innovative in his training which includes doing underwater drills while holding his breath, breathing (he encourages people to learn the Wim Hof method) and also meditation. If you wish to listen to the podcast, please click here.