When it comes down to it, there are only two outcomes from catching a wave. You either make it… or you don’t. Wipe outs are as central to surfing as are surfers, surfboards and waves. Surfing magazines, every year, print thousands of images of surfers “making it” in the most extraordinary ways. On top of that we can read any number of stories about the amazing contest wins of top surf pros… or about elite surfers taking incredible surfing trips to wonderful destinations. It’s all about the up side. What the literature usually leaves out is that, along with the amazing surfing successes are the awful failures. Along with the exhilaration of the perfectly executed turn are the terrible beatings that the ocean dishes out to surfers who get it wrong. Surfing is as close to a perfect sport as there is but the down side is that along with the good, surfers have to suffer the bad… and bad it can surely get! The uninitiated might suspect that wipe outs are the domain of inexperienced surfers. As surfers know, while beginners do cop some terrible canings, the very worst wipe outs are experienced by the top guns who are going for so much more.
This is about the waves that went wrong. Here you will find images of waves that went bad… and stories from surfers about their surfing mishaps. Why focus on the negative? Other than surfing itself the next best thing about surfing is the stories. Many of the most amazing, exciting, funny, frightening, sad and moving stories from the world of surfing are not about surfer’s successes but about the down side… when the ocean turned on the surfer.
Some of the pictures and some of the stories are about elite surfers but many are not. Surfers from every walk of life and every level of ability make up its pages. The is dedicated to every surfer who has come up from an awful hold-down thinking that they were about to die and let out a big sigh of relief (just before being smacked by the next set wave). I suppose that means all of us!
Why do surfers attempt to ride un-makeable waves? Why do surfers attempt manoeuvres totally inappropriate to the situation? How much hell can the puny human body take against the might of the ocean? All good questions… left completely unanswered here.