Legendary surfer Laird Hamilton will be by at 1:30 p.m. ET to take your questions!
Laird is here!
when you're out there trying to get a big wave and that second that you know you got it, how does that feel?
I think the feeling of exhilaration kind of happens after you've made it. Getting is just the beginning. It's just the horse in the gate. You hear the buzzer and then it's a matter of the thrill of the ride and the accomplishment once you've gotten to safety. But the feeling, that's the never-ending pursuit. The feeling is exhilarating, exciting, scary, it's everything all at once.
What's the biggest wave you've ever hit?
I've had a few big ones hit me. We rode waves that were somewhere in the 80-100 feet range. I think we've been on waves that were at least 100 feet.
Where can you surf in the Northeast?
Yeah, it depends on the conditions. It's all about hurricanes and big Atlantic storms. I've only surfed in New York and down in Long Beach. But anywhere there is water and wind, there is a wave.
What were you looking to accomplish with this book?
I'm just one of the characters in this new book. Susan's writing is magnificent. It's an incredible read. But the information from the book, I've learned a lot from reading it. My participation was just letting Susan be in our world and follow us. Experience what it takes to do what we do.
I think Susan's idea behind the book really has to do with trying to understand the ocean better. We can go to the moon, but we don't understand how a 100 foot wave can appear when there are only 30 footers around.
how far out from the shore do you go looking for waves?
There is a break called Cortez Break out of L.A. that's 125 miles from shore. Most of the giant waves we surf in Hawaii are somewhere in the range of half mile to mile and half off shore. Something like that.
You are an idol for a lot of young kids today. Who are some of your idols growing up?
There are a couple. Jose Angel. Butch. A couple of other early pioneers of big wave riding.
Is just going close to the shore and riding regular waves do it for you any more?
Absolutely. I don't discriminate. At the end of the day, I enjoy a one foot wave as much as I enjoy riding a 40 foot wave. Each has its own emotion and experience.
It's been a while since you learned, but can you remember the first time you got up on the board?
Yeah, because I fell on some urchins. That left a lasting impression. Things like that have a tendency to stick with you, literally.
I just surfed for the first time and it was hard, any tips?
Definitely make sure you have the right equipment and is in a location that's good for beginning. Get some advice from somebody that knows what they're doing. A surf instructor or someone that can direct you to the right wave or right board.
What would you consider the heaviest paddle-in wave at this time? Also, with new tracking technology, do you think one of these deep sea rogue waves could ever be towed into?
The heaviest paddle in wave is dictated by the conditions. There are waves like Jaws and others like Cortez Banks that are somewhat unpaddleable. They are moving so fast, so much water, you're not able to paddle into them. You have waves like that and then waves like the ones in Tahiti where there are paddle in days and there's not. The line of what's paddleable and not is really dictated by the conditions and location.
As far as the rogue waves, we already tow into rogue waves. The Southern Hemisphere has more rogue waves than anywhere else. A rogue wave just means it's bigger than the ones around it. Once they're over 100 feet, you start to enter into a mathematical equation that really might not allow humans to be on it riding.
Insane promo for the book. How loud is it out on the water when you are in the barrel roll or don't you really hear it?
It's so loud that it's deafening, which somehow makes you think you don't hear it. But when you're conscious of trying to listen, it's a roar that drowns out any other sound. You can have a helicoptor 100 feet away and you don't even hear it.
You can hear these waves 3-4 miles away.
Any tips on going from a longer board to a shorter one?
Yeah, just make sure that it's something you can still paddle. It's really about the wave. When riding shorter boards, you need more powerful surf. You need a better wave. Most of the waves in California are suited for a longer board. It has to do also with your size and weight. Just make sure you don't get one so small that you can't paddle it.
Keep your eyes on the horizon. It looks like we could be getting some big ones this winter.
Thanks for chatting Laird!