Do pro surfers get scared of big waves?


Q

Big waves are scary for a lot of us who are not pro surfers. I was wondering if there are any Top 44 guys willing to admit that they ARE afraid of the contests at Teahupo'o, Pipe, and especially big Sunset. How do you deal with it when it's your job to? And has anyone ever not paddled out because of how heavy it was?
asked by Keola Simpson

A
Top pro and formidable Teahupo'o/Pipe rider C.J. Hobgood replies:

I think every surfer is somewhat afraid of these waves and the whole ocean for that matter. You can't be a surfer, period, pro or not, and not have respect for the ocean; that's why we're all addicted to it.

I think a lot of the pros and probably myself included are afraid, we just like to use different words to describe afraid, like "respect" and "man I just got the worst beating of my life".

How do you deal with it? I guess the same way you deal with pressure. You know the feeling, what it's like being afraid, and either you love that feeling or you hate it. When anyone looks over a big ledge their heart starts racing and either you can love that feeling or hate it.

As far as not paddling out Neco Padaratz got a really bad beating at Chopes his first year, near death, and he hasn't gone back the last three years so i guess you could count that as not paddling out.

(Nick Carroll adds: There's only one public example of pro surfers backing down in the face of the ocean at a major pro event. At the Billabong Pro at 20-25-foot Waimea Bay in 1986, surfers Gary Green and Bryce Ellis both chose not to compete on the day. Numerous other clandestine examples exist of pros, both male and female, avoiding heavy-water competitions; usually the surfer claims injury or family problems in advance and misses the entire event.)

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