Ricardo Dos Santos, 1990-2015: A Video Tribute



As you’ve no doubt heard by now, Brazilian surfer Ricardo dos Santos was shot three times on Monday morning near his home in Brazil, and on Tuesday morning passed away.

Ricardo first came to the attention of the wider surfing world in 2011, when he won the Von Zipper Trials at Teahupoo, thereby booking himself a place in the Billabong Pro. He posted a solid score of 14.47 in his Round 1 heat of the contest proper, missing out by under a point to Jordy Smith. It was a warning sign of things to come, and he returned in Round 2 to cause a major upset, taking down Taj Burrow in sizeable Teahupoo waves. He was unlucky not to advance to Round 4, losing to Kelly Slater in his Round 3 heat by 17.60 to 15.84, but that was not the end of his Teahupoo love-affair.

Wins Teahupoo Trials, 2011

 

Wins Andy Irons Award, Teahupoo, 2012

Wave Of The Winter, Hawaii, 2012-2013

Tow Session, Teahupoo, 2013

XXL Wipeout Of The Year Entry, Puerto Escondido, 2015

The Killer Of Ricardo Dos Santos Claims Self-Defence



The man responsible for the killing of Ricardo dos Santos has claimed he was acting in self-defence when he shot the Brazilian surfer three times on Monday morning.

Brazilian magazine Hardcore, which has been on top of this story from the start, reported that the shooter told police he was merely defending himself and his brother, and that his response was justified. 25 year-old military police officer Luis Paulo Mota Brentano was off-duty when he shot down dos Santos near Embaú Guard beach. He was accompanied at the time by his younger brother, aged 17. The brother has alleged they were threatened by two men, including Ricardo, with knives.


The claims of the two brothers contradict the testimonies of other witnesses, who maintain the attack was unprovoked, and that the brothers had been taking drugs. According to Mauro da Silva, the uncle of the dead surfer, Ricardo merely asked the pair to move on, because their car was in the way of the construction work Ricardo was helping with. When he walked away, he was shot in the back; he then turned around, and was shot twice more in the front. Da Silva, who described the situation as “surreal”, said the gunman was obviously high, and was having difficulties speaking.

Notícias do Día, a Brazilian news site, has reported that the gunman has previously faced two charges from the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Santa Catarina, for abuse of authority, bodily injury, threat and home invasion. In both cases he was acquitted due to a lack of evidence.
Ricardo’s passing is made all the more tragic by his own efforts in the past to curb violence in the Embaú Guard area. In 2011 he posted an impassioned plea on social media, imploring the local community to unite together and “put an end to this farce”:
“Today it seems that this piece of ‘heaven’ is losing its charm, it seems that people no longer value the fact that they are in a beautiful and pure place… It is with immense sadness that I write this, but the Guard is being DESTROYED.”
The message ends on a defiant note, which bears repeating now more than ever: “together we will fight for a better Guard.” Foreshadowing the circumstances of his own murder, his post also noted that “residents do nothing because they are afraid of being shot”, and made references to the uselessness of the police force. Given that Ricardo’s killer was himself a member of that very police force, many have seen the whole episode as a microcosm of Brazil’s present troubles.


Dos Santos passed away on Tuesday morning, following four operations and 40 litres’ worth of blood transfusions. Much of this blood was donated specifically for Ricardo; due to a national shortage of available blood in Brazil, surfers such as Adriano de Souza and Alejo Muniz posted the image on the left to their social media accounts.

Read Kelly Slater’s Touching Instagram Tribute to Ricardo dos Santos


Beautiful morning but I was horrified to realize everyone was paddling out to Pipe to form a circle in remembrance of my friend, #RicardoDosSantos, who passed away in hospital after being shot three times yesterday in #Brasil. @ricardosantos90 was truly one of the great barrel riders of his short time (myself and a few others learned that the hard way against him at Teahupo'o a couple years back when he won the #AndyIronsAward in the event). He also won the #WaveOfTheWinter in 2012-2013 for a crazy barrel at #Pipeline and was a regular standout in any barreling or heavy conditions around the world. This was truly a senseless loss of life. It unfortunately brings to light the number of murders yearly in Brasil, officially documented at over 50,000 with many thousands more going unreported. Lack of education, poverty, and drugs don't make for a good mix and make life challenging in this country, one of the most beautiful and scariest places I've been. Condolences to Ricardo's friends and family around the world. Our small community has lost another way too soon. #RIPRDS #WTF #HardToBelieve

Five Surf Trips to Consider This Year

Have an appetite for travel? You should! Here are five worthy ways to satisfy your desires.

You need a vacation – even if you’re just getting back from one. Traveling is a tried and trusted way to fend off stagnancy, boredom, dullness, hypertension and all things made of gloom. And is there any better excuse to travel than surfing? We think not. An insatiable appetite for waves not only inks stamps on the thick paper pages of passports, it also engrains lifelong memories in the minds of those curious enough to see what’s around the corner. But which corner, exactly?

That’s why we’re here.
We’re assuming that you work hard for your money and aren’t one to just toss it away on something petty. We’re also assuming that you work hard for your money and are, indeed, one to burn it on something worthwhile. And as we just stressed, how fun are surf trips? The most fun. And if you need proof, consider these five sojourns in 2015.

France
Where wine meets culture meets perfect beachbreak. And, hell, why not mention the cuisine while we’re at it? Everything about France is romantic. A trip here is a legitimately unique experience, mostly because you’ll be just as enthralled with the land diversions as you are with the aquatic endeavours. It’s truly versatile, and you’d rather not miss it.


Bali, Indonesia
If you haven’t been to Bali yet, go. If you’ve already been, go back. And why? Because this lovely speck of Indonesian land offers a little bit of everything for a whole lot of everyone. Parties, barrels, air sections, mountains, volcanoes – Bali checks all the boxes. It’s quite easy to find a rhythm and begin to feel as if it’s a second home, which is probably why a bunch of people never leave.

South Africa
Do you have any interest in surfing J-Bay and watching a pride of lions hunt that very same day? Hmm, well how about threading your step-up board through a Cape Town tunnel shortly after being face-to-face with a Great White from the (relative) safety of a submerged cage? If yes and yes, you’ll need to go to South Africa. The cost of living there is very cheap; the experiences you’ll gain are paradoxically rich.

Caribbean
The bluest water. The whitest sand. The cheapest rum. And did we mention the plethora of swell during the Northern Hemisphere’s winter months? The Caribbean tends to light up this time of year and you should consider glowing right with it. Choose Puerto Rico for a cheap, safe bet. Choose Barbados for consistent trade swell and the chance at scoring Kelly Slater’s favourite wave, Soup Bowl. And choose somewhere in-between if you’re into the fickle, majestic, why isn’t this a postcard scene.

Western Australia
Open, starry skies by night and waves that closely mimic all that open space by day. West Oz is, for lack of a less alliterated word, wild. It’s not the cheapest trip on this five-spot, but please be assured that your dollars (or rupiah, shekel, yen, rand, etc) will be well-spent. Fear not the sharks and embrace totally the bush.

10 of the Best Shots ever of P-Pass

An easy roll-in into one of the world’s most photogenic barrels. What’s not to love?


It isn't the easiest wave in the world to get to. It's an island-hop across the Pacific that doesn't give much change back from 20-hours if you're coming from anywhere other than, say, Japan.

Even when you're on the island of Pohnpei in the Caroline Islands, there in the Federated States of Micronesia, it's still a 20-minute boat ride to get to a wave that, more often than not, is afflicted by wind.
The great thing about P-Pass, the righthander that breaks on an abrupt hunk of reef in the Palikir Pass (hence P-Pass), is it can handle swell (just off the back off the reef are radical drop-off) but can still be ridden at three foot.

The world's best surfers know all about it. They know it's a barrel that is as photogenic as it is challenging. And so when conditions show (north swells, no wind), tickets are booked and photographers engaged. And over the years, the best in the biz have set-up in the channel and captured this wave at its best.
Following, in this gallery, is the work of Raymon Collins, Ted Grambeau and DJ Struntz.

© Ted Grambeau


The best day ever at P-Pass

This day is still one of the best ever at P-Pass for its rare combination of a 10-foot plus swell with south-south-west winds. Usually the trades will blow onshore every day as soon as the sun heats up, but a storm cell just north of P-Pass kept the wind blowing straight into the barrel.

 © Ted Grambeau

Dan Ross inside a waterfall

The former tour competitor-turned-surf coach Dan Ross owns big waves. His size helps – yeah he's big – but it's that native desire that makes a surfer want to keep chasing waves that can deliver a lot of long-term pain in exchange for a few moments of pleasure.

 © Ted Grambeau

Mark Mathews inside part two

Mark Mathews, of course, needs only the briefest of introduction. Big wave surfer. Doesn't miss swells. Mark was on the trip alongside Shane Dorian and Dan Ross that found itself on the best day ever at P-Pass. Mark ain't a shirker. He goes where he needs to.

© Ted Grambeau

Tyler Wright screaming inside the barrel

The world number two Tyler Wright was supposed to be on a plane to Hawaii when she blew it off to chase swell on a three-day hit to Pohnpei. "I'm screaming in the photo because I thought I was going to die," Tyler said later.

 © Ted Grambeau

Andy Irons – a world champ at his peak

"This was the trip of a lifetime to be a part of," says DJ Struntz, of a trip that included Sunny Garcia, CJ Hobgood, Occy, Tom Curren, Andy Irons (pictured) and, of course, the impeccable cameo of P-Pass.

 © Ted Grambeau


Andy Irons upside down

For a trip of "world champs" Surfing magazine decided it was time to unveil the then relatively unknown wave P-Pass. Andy Irons had just beaten Kelly at Pipe and, according to the photographer, "was in the best form I ever saw…in-fact it was the best freesurfing I've seen in person before or since."

© Ted Grambeau

The submariner’s view

The great Australian water photographer Raymon Collins stole this image of the storm underwater at P-Pass. Push through to welcome the next set.

© Ted Grambeau

The view you seek

Just a regular kinda surfer and the theatre of the absurd. All you gotta do is make the roll-in take off (easy!) and wait for the world’s biggest club sandwich to fold over you.

 © Ted Grambeau

The P-Pass amphitheatre

A few metres away from the aggressive coral reef is a 30-metre deep channel. Which means safety, for camera crews, and a Coliseum-like atmosphere for the surfers. What do you do when everyone yells, "Go!"?

© Ted Grambeau

Untouched Canvas

Six foot and building, two surfers, crowd definitely not building. This day would see some of the biggest, and cleanest, waves ever ridden at P-Pass. 

Pipeline Must Approve of the Backdoor Shootout


Pipeline post-Christmas is often a better time to run a surf contest than before the festive period. Making that point in exemplary fashion the Backdoor Shootout kicked off rounds 1 and 2 in perfect barrels.
"After so many howling onshore days it was good to see the calm weather return with a vengeance this morning." Sean Davey told us "Beautiful glassy conditions with variable breezes and a solid 6 to 10ft west-nor-west swell showed Pipe in all her glory. A real gem of a day.

This year’s format had entire teams together in a single heat, because like the Eddie Aikau contest, it’s a progressive total. Some of the best rides of the morning went to Jamie O'Brien, Billy Kemper, Koa and Makua Rothman, along with rising Hawaiian star, Mason Ho, who bagged a brace at beautiful Pipe and Backdoor. Local lifeguard Dave Wassel also scored some insane rides in some of the better looking Pipe that I’ve laid eyes on this season."

Splits
Splits
© 2015 - Sean Davey

Water photogs
Water photogs
© 2015 - Sean Davey

Dave Wassel
Dave Wassel
© 2015 - Sean Davey

Mason Ho
Mason Ho
© 2015 - Sean Davey

Makua Rothman
Makua Rothman
© 2015 - Sean Davey

Leonardo Fioravanti
Leonardo Fioravanti
© 2015 - Sean Davey

Landon McNamara
Landon McNamara
© 2015 - Sean Davey

Mason Ho
Mason Ho
© 2015 - Sean Davey

Danny Fuller
Danny Fuller
© 2015 - Sean Davey

Koa Rothman
Koa Rothman
© 2015 - Sean Davey

Mason Ho
Mason Ho
© 2015 - Sean Davey

That man JOB
That man JOB
© 2015 - Sean Davey

Dingo Morrison
Dingo Morrison
© 2015 - Sean Davey

Dave Wassel
Dave Wassel
© 2015 - Sean Davey

Bourez
Bourez
© 2015 - Sean Davey

Billy Kemper
Billy Kemper
© 2015 - Sean Davey

The Duke overseeing everytthing
The Duke overseeing everytthing
© 2015 - Sean Davey

The roll in
The roll in
© 2015 - Sean Davey

Leonardo Fioravanti
Leonardo Fioravanti
© 2015 - Sean Davey

Eyes on the prize
Eyes on the prize
© 2015 - Sean Davey

Tough crowd
Tough crowd
© 2015 - Sean Davey

Peanut gallery
Peanut gallery
© 2015 - Sean Davey

Team talk:
Team talk: "Just slot the biggest barrel" Easy.
© 2015 - Sean Davey

Give Sean a follow on Instagram.

Truly tragic news,R.I.P. Ricardo Dos Santos



Today the surfing world unites in mourning the death of Brazilian surfer Ricardo Dos Santos. After battling for 24 hours in hospital, where he underwent four operations and 40 litres’ worth of blood transfusions, Ricardo has tragically passed away. He was shot three times on Monday morning near Embaú Guard beach in Brazil.

Brazilian magazine Hardcore has reported that his condition worsened late on Monday and into the early hours of Tuesday. After he suffered yet another hemorrhage on Tuesday morning doctors were forced to make a fourth surgical intervention. They succeeded in stopping the bleeding, but hours later he was pronounced dead.

Dos Santos made a name for himself in the enormous barrels of Tahiti, winning the Teahupoo trials first in 2011 and then again in 2012. In the second of these years he went on to beat both Taj Burrow and Kelly Slater in the main event, winning the Andy Irons award for his efforts. He cemented his reputation as a fearless barrel-rider of exceptional ability with a number of oustanding performances over the following years, and in 2013 was awarded Wave of the Winter.

The only two suspects in the case, Luis Paulo Mota Brentano, 25, and his brother, 17, have both been detained by police after they handed themselves in. The older of the two brothers, believed to be the shooter, is thought to be a military police officer who has previous charges of assault and abuse of power.

Various conflicting reports of the shooting itself have so far emerged. All begin with the two suspects taking drugs in their car near Embaú Guard beach, and Dos Santos approaching the two men and asking them to move. Some versions affirm that Dos Santos asked the two men to move because they were behaving antisocially, taking drugs and playing loud music where people access the beach. Surfer magazine reports that there were also children in the vicinity. According to other versions, Ricardo was doing some work on his Grandad’s house, and the men parked on a pipe that was part of the work.

Dos Santos was shot three times in total, suffering a punctured kidney and one punctured lung. Ricardo’s uncle says the first shot hit Ricardo in the back, whereupon he turned around, and was shot twice more in the front. The thoughts of the entire surfing community are with his family.

Ricardo dos Santos Dies After Emergency Surgery



With heavy hearts we report that Brazil’s Ricardo dos Santos has passed away after suffering gunshot wounds yesterday outside his home. He was 24 years old.

Reports flooded social media channels all day with differing accounts of the incident, but it appears that dos Santos was murdered by an off-duty police officer after an altercation during which dos Santos attempted to stop a group of men from openly using drugs in the street. After being shot three times, dos Santos was flown by helicopter to a local hospital. Doctors performed multiple surgeries, but ultimately the blood loss was too severe, despite waves of blood donors, eager to help save dos Santos’ life.

Local police have taken two men into custody—a pair of brothers, 25 and 17-years-old, with the older of the two suspected to have fired on dos Santos, and reported to be the off-duty cop.

Dos Santos was a fearless, world-class tuberider, who captured the surf world’s attention with an incredible performance at the 2012 Billabong Pro, Tahiti, for which he took home the Andy Irons Forever Inspiration Award. He was recently featured in a gorgeous, pristine barrel on the cover of our November, 2014 issue.
Dos Santos was widely loved by his peers, and his shocking death has cast the Brazilian surf community into mourning. From fellow Brazilian Adriano de Souza’s Facebook page:
“What about when you lose a great friend? What about when you lose a person so cheerful, with such a good heart as Ricardinho? I have so many good memories of him that it is difficult to choose one. But I want to keep in mind forever his qualities and his courage. Those we love never die, they just leave before us. May you be with God my friend and may you protect us from above.”
Our sincerest condolences go out to Ricardo’s friends and family.

Here is dos Santos receiving the AI Forever Award at Teahupoo in 2012:


Ricardo dos Santos Dies After Emergency Surgery



With heavy hearts we report that Brazil’s Ricardo dos Santos has passed away after suffering gunshot wounds yesterday outside his home. He was 24 years old.

Reports flooded social media channels all day with differing accounts of the incident, but it appears that dos Santos was murdered by an off-duty police officer after an altercation during which dos Santos attempted to stop a group of men from openly using drugs in the street. After being shot three times, dos Santos was flown by helicopter to a local hospital. Doctors performed multiple surgeries, but ultimately the blood loss was too severe, despite waves of blood donors, eager to help save dos Santos’ life.

Local police have taken two men into custody—a pair of brothers, 25 and 17-years-old, with the older of the two suspected to have fired on dos Santos, and reported to be the off-duty cop.

Dos Santos was a fearless, world-class tuberider, who captured the surf world’s attention with an incredible performance at the 2012 Billabong Pro, Tahiti, for which he took home the Andy Irons Forever Inspiration Award. He was recently featured in a gorgeous, pristine barrel on the cover of our November, 2014 issue.
Dos Santos was widely loved by his peers, and his shocking death has cast the Brazilian surf community into mourning. From fellow Brazilian Adriano de Souza’s Facebook page:
“What about when you lose a great friend? What about when you lose a person so cheerful, with such a good heart as Ricardinho? I have so many good memories of him that it is difficult to choose one. But I want to keep in mind forever his qualities and his courage. Those we love never die, they just leave before us. May you be with God my friend and may you protect us from above.”
Our sincerest condolences go out to Ricardo’s friends and family.

Here is dos Santos receiving the AI Forever Award at Teahupoo in 2012:

Best Places to Watch Big Wave Surfing



In ancient Hawaii, the sport of surfing was a sacred activity reserved for royalty and kings. Though commoners were still allowed to surf using small, lightweight boards, the best surf breaks with the largest waves were strictly for the use of the ali’i (chiefs), whose olo boards were reputed to measure as long as 24 feet. With the arrival of European missionaries, however, the sport of surfing was heavily discouraged for its ties to traditional culture. Fewer Hawaiians continued to surf, and for a tenuous period of about 100 years it appeared that surfing might die. As the missionary influence faded, however, and the Kingdom of Hawaii was controversially overthrown and annexed as a United States territory, the sport of surfing gradually regained prominence to become the sport that it is today.

Everywhere you seem to look in Hawaii, from the heart-shaped shore of Hanalei to the rocky coastline of Hilo, there are young groms (kids) and experienced adults who have a passionate view on surfing. Visitors, too, can get in on the fun by taking surfing lessons in Hawaii, but perhaps the most thrilling way to experience this sport is to watch the surfers who famously “ride mountains.” With the recent advances in board technology and the advent of jet-ski assisted tow surfing, surfers in Hawaii are now tackling waves of 70 feet or higher. In some cases, bearing witness to this level of aquatic courage can be more exciting than riding the wave yourself.

Before you get too excited, however, it’s imperative to understand that the largest waves only occur during the months of November-April. The 30- or 50- or 70-foot waves which grace the covers of magazines are only found on the north shores of the islands and only make appearances during the winter. In the summer months of May-September, the north shores of the islands are completely flat and the surf can be found on the south shore. While the surf in the summer can occasionally get large and grow to 12 feet or more (see photo below), the best places to watch big wave surfing is along the famous north shores of the islands. Should you find yourself traveling during the winter, however, and want to experience the heart-pounding excitement of watching the world’s best watermen, the following are some of the best places to watch big wave surfing in Hawaii.

Ala Moana Bowls
Ala Moana Bowls on the island of Oahu is about as big as the surf will get in summer; Photo Credit Daniel Ramirez on Flickr

Oahu

More so than any other island, the island of Oahu is the global mecca for watching big wave surfing. The stretch of shoreline from Haleiwa to Turtle Bay is so perfectly aligned towards the northwest winter swells, and offers so many different breaks in such a relatively small area, that surfers have dubbed it the “Seven Mile Miracle.” Every surfer who has ever waxed a board dreams of surfing the north shore of Oahu, although with waves this powerful and the world’s best surfers all vigorously vying for the waves, the overwhelming majority of visitors will only watch from shore.

Of all the surf breaks on the North Shore of Oahu, Waimea Bay is where you have the best chance of seeing the largest surf. This is the site of the Eddie Aikau Invitational, a surf competition featuring 28 of the best big wave surfers who hail from all corners of the globe. The catch with watching “the Eddie,” however, is that the contest is only held when the waves at Waimea reach a minimum of 30 feet. The conditions have to be exactly right for the competition to commence, and there have only been eight years that the Eddie has been held since its inception in 1984. The holding period for the Eddie is from December 1 until the last day in February, so if you happen to be visiting during a huge winter swell and it’s determined that the Eddie is a go, fight the traffic to the North Shore of Oahu to be part of one the surfing world’s largest spectacles.

Waimea Bay is one of the best places to watch big wave surfing in Hawaii
The legendary wave at Waimea Bay; Photo Credit: Steven Worster on Flickr
Other than Waimea and the fabled Eddie, Ehukai Beach Park is the next best place for watching big wave surfing on Oahu. This is the site of “Banzai Pipeline,” and what makes this wave so exceptionally dramatic is how it breaks so close to the sand. When compared to a place such as Sunset Beach where the waves break much farther out, the wave watching at Ehukai is far superior to anywhere else on the North Shore. In terms of when to visit, the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing is held from November 12-December 20 and takes place along this stretch of the North Shore. While the crowds and the traffic can definitely be a deterrent, this is your chance to watch the world’s best surfers tackle some of the world’s best waves. Or, if you would simply prefer to see some large surf and watch locals instead if professionals, places such as Makaha on the west shore of Oahu can get waves of 20 feet or higher.

Maui

Jaws is one of the best places to watch big wave surfing in Hawaii
A surfer paddles in during a big day at Jaws; Photo Credit: Jeff Rowley on Flickr
While Maui might not have the level of fame as the fabled North Shore of Oahu, there is one trump card that Maui is holding in the arena of big wave surfing: Jaws.

Also known by the Hawaiian name Pe’ahi, “Jaws” is a wave on the north shore of Maui that can make Oahu waves look like mere ripples. Due to the way that the offshore trenches are aligned in a certain pattern, the wave here can grow to over 70 feet when surrounding breaks barely top 30. If you plan to watch the surfers at Jaws, however, you better cross your fingers that you visit during a time when a large winter swell rolls through. The wave at Jaws only comes to life a handful of times per winter, and be sure to bring binoculars or a telephoto zoom since you have to watch from the top of a cliff.

For a more consistent chance of watching big waves when visiting Maui in the winter, Ho’okipa Beach Park near the town of Paia can get waves of nearly 30 feet, and it’s also one of the best places to watch windsurfing on Maui. On the northwest shore of the island closer to Ka’anapali and Kapalua, Honolua Bay is one of the island’s best waves and a favorite of Maui surfers. This long, barreling, right-hand point is three miles north of Kapalua, and you can get panoramic views from the top of the cliff which looks out over the bay.

Kauai

Kauai north shore surf
An iconic image of Kauai’s north shore surf; Photo Credit: Cliff on Flickr
Much like the islands of Oahu and Maui, it’s the north shores of Kauai which see the largest surf and are the best for watching big wave surfing. The waves on Kauai can be a little more raw since they are closer to the source of the storms, and while the surf on Kauai can be just as good (if not better) than the surf on neighboring Oahu, the local surfers of the “Garden Isle” aren’t quick to advertise its perfection.

For visitors who want to watch big wave surfing the easiest place is Hanalei Bay. This long stretch of sand is backed by lush mountains that rise dramatically into the blue sky, and the horizon is often frothing in whitewash thanks to the point where ocean meets reef. For an elevated perspective of the waves at Hanalei, consider venturing out towards the St. Regis Resort and the cliffside overlooks of Princeville. Many of the best offshore reefs on Kauai are a long distance out from the shoreline, so the elevated perch of standing on the bluffs makes a better vantage point for viewing.

Traveling farther west towards the end of the road and the start of the Na Pali coastline, the “Cannons” surf break past Ha’ena Beach Park has been called the “Pipeline of Kauai.” This barreling wave breaks close to shore and is a favorite of Garden Isle chargers, and this is a good place to get a photo of surfers while standing safely on the shoreline.

Big Island of Hawaii

A surfer takes to the air along the Kona Coastline; Photo Credit: Eric Schuttenmaer on Flickr
Yes, the Big Island of Hawaii gets its fair share of very good surf, but due to shadowing from the other islands, and surf spots which are exceptionally remote, the Big Island of Hawaii isn’t one of the best places to watch big wave surfing in Hawaii. Nevertheless, as long as you aren’t looking for 40 foot waves which are visible from an easy vantage point, there are still a number of standout spots to watch some scintillating surf.
Since the Kona coastline of the Big Island of Hawaii faces nearly due west, there can actually be surf during all months of the year — though the winter will still be larger. South of Kona, “Banyans” is one of the most popular surf breaks of experienced locals and professionals. “Pine Trees” is a spot located close to the airport that breaks pretty far out from shore, and on the largest of west swells during the winter months, “69 Point” at Waialea Beach can occasionally see 10-foot surf. On the east shore of the island, not far from Hilo, Honoli’i Beach Park is the best best for watching big surf in Hilo. The waves here can be warbly and windy since they are exposed to the easterly tradewinds, but the local surfers seem to make the best of the large, challenging conditions.

These of course, are just a handful of places where you can find big wave surfing in Hawaii, and if you remember one thing from all of this info, it’s that the best places to watch big wave surfing in Hawaii are almost all along the northern facing shores. Be sure to pack a fully charged camera battery and slather on layers of sunscreen, because watching the world’s best big wave surfers is an activity that is tough to leave.