Take a look at these images, then, after you lift your jaw off the floor, scroll down.
These are from the Bodyboarding World Tour event at Mexico’s Zicatela. A building swell through the contest peaked in epic form for the finals, and these are just a couple of images from a crazy day (you can click on either image to go to the official IBA gallery).
I’ve only surfed ‘big’ beach breaks a couple of times, and the waves on those days were about half the size of the biggest waves in this contest. The sheer quantity and speed of water movement on such days is humbling, and I can’t imagine how intense it must be to try to compete out there in a pressure situation. The waves are basically two-story, moving, collapsing buildings of water, and the riders not only need to survive, but master the waves to win.
Pierre Louis Costes was unlucky enough to be cleaned up by one of the biggest sets of the day and was visibly shaken even after winning his round – to break the composure of one of the bravest and fittest wave riders in the world emphasises how crazy the contest was!
Jeff Hubbard, of Hawaii, walked away the winner over Australian Ryan Hardy – but anyone who competed on that last huge day deserves massive respect for putting their lives on the line.