Health

Water water everywhere

Cosmic VarianceBy Daniel HolzDec 16, 2009 1:50 AM

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Northern New Mexico is an absolutely fabulous place to live. But, on occasion, I wish I had a teleporter handy. One of those occasions would be when the "Swell of the Century" hits the Hawaiian Islands, as it did last week. It turned out to be more like the "Swell of the Decade", but apparently was nonetheless quite spectacular. Spectacular enough to hold the Eddie, a big-wave contest that can only be held in epic conditions.

There's some good video here and here. Conditions were apparently squirrely, so most of the footage consists of fairly spectacular drops leading to gnarly wipeouts. Every now and then someone (often Kelly Slater [at left above]) emerges intact. Unless you've been out in overhead+ surf, I think it's hard to fathom just how powerful these waves can be. You've bodysurfed three footers, and you think you have a clue. But you don't. For a little perspective, here's an excellent video from a (professional) surfer who wiped out at Jaws (on the north shore of Maui; it only fires on big days [like last week]). He survived (more-or-less). While Hawaii was being slammed by water horizontally, we got a vertical contribution (in the form of a couple of feet of snow). It's time to go dust off my snowboard.

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