What is the Billabong Odyssey about?


The Billabong Odyssey is an action sports documentary that follows the industry's best big wave surfers as they travel the world searching for the largest waves. The journey spanned 18 months, 6 continents and produced up to 70 foot waves.

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Cortes Bank is a shallow seamount (a barely submerged island) in the North Pacific Ocean. It is about 100 miles (166 kilometers) west of Point Loma San Diego, USA, and about 50 miles (82 kilometers) south-west of San Clemente Island in Los Angeles County. It is considered the outermost feature in California's Channel Islands chain. At various times during geologic history, the bank has been an island, depending on sea level rise and fall. The last time it was a substantial island was around 10,000 years ago during the last ice age. It is quite possible that this island was visited by the first human inhabitants of the Channel Islands, most notably San Clemente Island, whose seafaring residents would have been able to see "Cortes Island" from high elevations on clear days. The shallower reaches of the bank comprise about 15–18 miles of sandstone and basalt and they rise from the ocean floor from 1000 fathoms, or just over a mile in depth. The bank has been described as a series of mountaintops, but really it is more of the shape of a wave-scoured mesa with a few hard, basaltic high spots along its length. The shallowest peak, the Bishop Rock, rises to between 3 and 6 feet (1–2 m) from the surface, depending on the tides. On very low tides, the rock can be visible in the trough of passing waves. Other shoal spots besides the Bishop Rock also spawn giant waves. These shoals range in depth from 30 to 100 feet and are a hazard to shipping. Nine Fathom spot is about 4.5 miles (7 kilometers) northwest of Bishop Rock and also rises to about 54 feet (18 m) below the surface. Both are noted scuba diving locations featuring clear water, vast kelp forests and abundant sea life. The Bishop Rock also creates a renowned big-wave surfing spot recognized as being capable of producing some of the tallest surfable waves in the world. It has long been reported that the Cortes Bank was discovered in modern times by the captain of the side-wheel steamship Cortes, TP Cropper. In 1853, during a voyage from Panama to San Francisco, Cropper reported seeing the seas "in violent commotion" above an uncharted seamount that would eventually be named after the ship. Cropper at first thought he was above a volcano. However, it seems likely that the very first modern sighting of the Bank was not by Cropper but by US Navy Lt. James Alden and Captain Jonathan "Mad Jack" Percival. This occurred on January 5, 1846. At that time, the frigate USS Constitution was passing well off the US West Coast from Monterey to see duty in the Mexican American War. The logbook of the Constitution from this day puts the ship in the vicinity of the bank and reads: “At 4-20 (p.m.) discovered breakers bearing N.E. about 10 miles distant.” Alden would eventually become an officer with the United States Coast Survey, an organization charged with mapping the U.S. coastline. In the wake of the Cortes sighting, and because of his own earlier sighting, Alden dispatched the crew of the USS Ewing to discover the source of the open ocean breakers. Under Alden's orders, Lt. TH Stevens discovered and mapped the location and a rough outline of the Bank, which was for years incorrectly named "Cortez Bank." Stevens discovered waters around 54 feet deep, although he failed to discover the dangerously shallow area around the Bishop Rock, and it does not show up on the first Coast Survey map published in 1853. Bishop Rock is today marked by a nearby warning buoy. It was named for the clipper ship Stillwell S. Bishop that reportedly struck the rock in 1855, then continued to San Francisco with a patched hull. There is some uncertainty over whether the Bishop actually struck the rock, though the captain of the ship, William Shankland, surely at least encountered waves along its periphery, likely in 1854. In the wake of the Bishop's voyage, James Alden placed a talented navigator and inveterate explorer from Wilmington, NC named Lt. Archibald MacRae, USN in command of the Ewing and dispatched him to discover the Bank's shoalest reach. On November 3, 1855, the New York Times carried the story "Dangerous Rock off the Coast of California," which reported MacRae's finding and the fact that he and the crew of the ship had anchored a pair of casks bearing a flag to mark the spot. Two weeks after the story appeared, MacRae committed suicide aboard the Ewing in San Francisco Bay, shooting himself in the head with a large caliber Colt revolver, while anchored alongside Alden's ship, the USS Active. Among other notable events in the history of the Cortes Bank is the fairly disastrous exploration of the Bank for treasure in 1957 by Mel Fisher. He was convinced that the wreckage of a Spanish Galleon lay on the seafloor off the Bishop Rock. The expedition found no treasure, but the ship carrying Fisher nearly burned to her waterline. There have been at least two efforts to turn the Cortes Bank into an island nation. The most notable occurred in late 1966, when a team of entrepreneurs planned to turn the Cortes Bank into the constitutional monarchy of Abalonia. The general plan was to scuttle a WWII era concrete hulled freighter—probably the Tampa-built McClosky ship Richard Lewis Humphrey, which was later badged Jalisco in Mexico—atop the Bishop Rock in very shallow water and surround the ship with an ever expanding ring of boulders so she could be used as a seafood processing factory. The group reasoned that international maritime law would allow them to become the rulers of their own nation because the Bank lay in international waters. The ship was instead destroyed atop the Bishop Rock by the same waves that are surfed today and her crew was nearly killed. The wreck of the Jalisco today lies beneath the surf zone in three pieces in 6 to 40 feet (2–12 m) of water, and is a diving location. When another company planned to form a nation called Taluga, the US government declared that the bank, as part of the continental shelf, was US territory. On 2 November 1985 the aircraft carrier (CVN-65)EnterpriseUSS struck the Cortes Bank reef about one mile east of Bishop Rock, putting a 60-foot (18 m) gash in her outer hull on the port side, ripped-off her port keel, and severely deformed her outboard port propeller blades. She continued operations, then went into dry dock at Hunter's Point Shipyard for repairs. In the summer of 1961, a surfer named Harrison Ealey of Oceanside, California became one of the very first people to surf a wave at the Bishop Rock. In around 1973, surfer Ilima Kalama, father of famed big wave surfer Dave Kalama, nearly lost his life when the abalone fishing boat he was aboard sank on the Bishop Rock in the middle of the night.][ In the early 1990s Larry Moore, photo editor at Surfing magazine, and Mike Castillo, veteran surfer and pilot, made flights out across the bank on rumors of giant waves. During a monster swell in 1990 that has been dubbed "The Eddie Aikau Swell," they were astonished when they found empty waves breaking atop the bank in the 80 to 90 foot range. By 1995 Moore had seen and photographed waves and that year he led an expedition with a small group of surfers out there (including Surfing magazine editors Sam George and Bill Sharp) and pro surfer George Hulse. The team found relatively small but very glassy waves in the fifteen foot range, and George Hulse was the first to catch one. "It was the only time I wrote out a will before a surf trip," Sharp said of the mission. Several surfers planned for the ideal conditions at the bank. In 2001 a storm called "Storm 15" in the Gulf of Alaska and a high pressure ridge over California came together to create huge swells but light wind over the bank. A team of surfers went out on the F/V Pacific Quest from San Diego, with big-wave tow surfers Ken Collins, Peter Mel, Brad Gerlach and Mike Parsons, plus paddle-surfers Evan Slater and John Walla. On the morning of 19 January 2001 they found smooth glassy conditions and enormous, half-mile long waves breaking across about 1 mile (1.5 kilometer) of reef. Walla and Slater tried to paddle for one of these waves and both nearly drowned. Larry Moore photographed from a circling plane, Dana Brown shot from a boat for his surf film Step Into Liquid, and Fran Battaglia shot from two other boats for his wave science film Making The Call: Big Waves of the North Pacific, his documentary for Swell, XXL, NBC Dateline, Billabong Odyssey and Activision's Kelly Slater Pro Surfer video game. Parsons was towed into the wave of the day. His very first ride at the Cortes Bank was estimated at 66 feet (20 m) on the face. It won him the first of two Guinness World Records and the Swell XXL Biggest Wave Award (now Billabong XXL) prize of $66,000 for the biggest wave surfed in 2000/2001. On January 5, 2008, Mike Parsons, Brad Gerlach, Grant "Twiggy" Baker and Greg Long returned to the location in the midst of one of the worst storms ever recorded off the coast of California. Mike Parsons was photographed on a wave bigger than his award-winning ride of 2001, judged by the Billabong XXL judges as 70+ feet on the face—later determined to be at least 77 feet—and Parsons second Guinness World Record. Although remote, the Cortes Bank draws crowds when conditions are good. On a trip with the Billabong Odyssey in January 2004 Sean Collins counted 10 or 12 boats with about 40 surfers. Surf films featuring Cortes Bank: Chris Dixon, "Ghost Wave," The Discovery of Cortes Bank and the Biggest Wave on Earth," 2011, by Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA. ISBN 978-0-8118-7628-5,
Samuel Pyeatt Menefee, "Republics of the Reefs": Nation-Building on the Continental Shelf and in the World's Oceans, California Western International Law Journal, vol. 25, no. 1, Fall, 1994, pp. 102–03.
Big wave surfing is a discipline within surfing in which experienced surfers paddle into or are towed onto waves which are at least 20 feet (6.2 m) high, on surf boards known as "guns" or towboards. Sizes of the board needed to successfully surf these waves vary by the size of the wave as well as the technique the surfer uses to reach the wave. A larger, longer board allows a rider to paddle fast enough to catch the wave and has the advantage of being more stable, but it also limits maneuverability and surfing speed. In 1992, big wave surfers such as Laird Hamilton and Darrick Doerner introduced a cross over sport called tow in surfing. While many riders still participate in both sports, they remain very distinct activities. This type of surfing involves being towed into massive waves by jet ski, allowing for the speed needed to successfully ride. Tow in surfing also revolutionized board size, allowing surfers to trade in their unwieldy 12 ft. boards in favor of light, 7 ft boards that allowed for more speed and easier maneuverability in waves over 30 ft. By the end of the 1990s, tow in surfing allowed surfers to ride waves exceeding 50 ft. In a big wave wipeout, a breaking wave can push surfers down 20 to 50 feet (6.2 m to 15.5 m) below the surface. Once they stop spinning around, they have to quickly regain their equilibrium and figure out which way is up. Surfers may have less than 20 seconds to get to the surface before the next wave hits them. Additionally, the water pressure at a depth of 20–50 feet can be strong enough to rupture one's eardrums. Strong currents and water action at those depths can also slam a surfer into a reef or the ocean floor, which can result in severe injuries or even death. One of the greatest dangers is the risk of being held underwater by two or more consecutive waves. Surviving a triple hold-down is extremely difficult and surfers must be prepared to cope with these situations. A major issue argued between big wave surfers is the necessity of the leash on the surfboard. In many instances, the leash can do more harm than good to a surfer, catching and holding them underwater and diminishing their opportunities to fight towards the surface. Other surfers, however, depend on the leash. Now, tow in surfboards use foot holds (like those found on windsurfs) rather than leashes to provide some security to the surfer.][ These hazards have killed several big-wave surfers. Some of the most notable are Mark Foo, who died surfing Mavericks on December 23, 1994; Donnie Solomon, who died exactly a year later at Waimea Bay; Todd Chesser who died at Alligator Rock on the North Shore of Oahu on February 14, 1997; Peter Davi who died at Ghost Trees on December 4, 2007; and Sion Milosky who died surfing Mavericks on March 16, 2011. On 4 January 2012, Greg Long, Ian Walsh, Kohl Christensen, Jeff Rowley, Dave Wassel, Shane Dorian, Mark Healey, Carlos Burle, Nate Fletcher, Garrett McNamara, Kai Barger, North Shore locals and other of the best big-wave surfers in the world invaded the Hawaiian Islands for a historic day of surfing. Surfers had to catch and survive the wave at Jaws Peahi without the use of a jet ski. Jeff Rowley made Australian history by being the first Australian to paddle into a 50-foot plus (15 metre) wave at Jaws Peahi, Hawaii, achieving his 'Charge for Charity' mission set for 2011, to raise money for Breast Cancer Australia. On 30–31 January 2012, Jeff Rowley and a number of international big wave surfers including Greg Long, Shaun Walsh and Albee Layer spent two days paddle-surfing Jaws, on the Hawaiian island of Maui, as part of their ongoing big-wave paddle-in program at the deep-water reef, further cementing the new frontier of paddle-in surfing at Jaws. On 12 March 2012, Jeff Rowley paddled into Mavericks Left, California, and became the first Australian to accomplish this task. Mavericks is traditionally known as a right-hander wave and Rowley pushed the boundaries of what was possible at the Mavericks Left hander, a task that wasn't without its challenges, requiring a vertical drop into the wave. On 30 March 2012, Jeff Rowley was a finalist in the Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards 2011/2012, in the Ride of the Year category with his rides at Jaws Peahi in Maui, Hawaii on 30 January 2012, placing 4th place in the world of elite big wave surfers. A big wave surfing contest hosted by Red Bull will be held at Jaws Peahi, with invitation of 21 of the best big wave surfers in the world. The waiting period for the contest is from 7 December to 15 March. Some of the known invitees to the contest include Jeff Rowley, Albee Layer, Greg Long, Shane Dorian, John John Florence, Kala Alexander.
Billabong (, ) is a Wiradjuri word that is used for an isolated pond that is left behind after a river changes course. Billabongs are usually formed when the path of a creek or river changes, leaving the former branch with a dead end. Billabongs, reflecting the arid Australian climate in which these "dead rivers" are found, fill with water seasonally and are dry for a greater part of the year. The etymology of the word "billabong" is disputed. The word is most likely derived from the indigenous Wiradjuri term "bilabaŋ", which means "a watercourse that runs only after rain" and is derived from "bila", meaning "river", and possibly "bong" or "bung", meaning "dead". One source, however, claims that the term is of Scottish Gaelic origin. Billabongs attained significance as they held water longer than parts of rivers and it was therefore important for people to name these areas. Oh there once was a swagman camped in the billabong,
Under the shade of a Coolibah tree,
And he sang as he looked at the old billy boiling,
Who'll come a'waltzing Matilda with me Banjo Paterson's popular folk song "Waltzing Matilda" is set alongside a billabong, while Mary Grant Bruce wrote a series of books, known as the "Billabong series", in which the adventures of the Linton family, who live at Billabong station during World War I— from around 1911 until the late 1920s—are depicted. Both Australian Aboriginal and European artists use billabongs as subject matter in painting; for example, Aboriginal painter Lance Tjyllyungoo's watercolour painting "Trees at a billabong". Billabong is the name of an Australian surfwear and skateboard brand. Media related to Billabongs of Australia at Wikimedia Commons
Ken Bradshaw (born October 4, 1952) is an American professional surfer and winner of the 1982 Duke Kahanamoku Invitational Surfing Championship. Bradshaw was born in Houston, Texas. On January 28, 1998, Ken Bradshaw successfully towed into, and rode, a wave with a face estimated as over 80 feet. The site was Outside Log Cabins, an outer reef on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. This wave was his second of the day at about 11:30am. The ride lasted about 30 seconds. There is a poster of a Bradshaw riding a 60+ footer that has been mistaken for the biggest wave ever surfed. His record-breaking wave, which was about 20 feet taller than that photo, was not photographed. Only some grainy video footage exists which was shot from shore (which appears in the videos The Moment and Making the Call), but the view was partially blocked by a smaller, unbroken wave in front of it. He took part in a hypothermia experiment for Discovery Channel which lasted for 4 hours at 0°C (32°F, 273 K) without clothing. His body temperature dropped to 35°C (95°F, 308 K). Bradshaw is a vegetarian.
Billabong International Limited is primarily a clothing company that also produces accessories and skateboard products under other brand-names. Founded in 1973 by Gordon and Rena Merchant, the company first traded on the Australian Securities Exchange on 11 August 2000. The name "billabong" is derived from the Wiradjuri word "bilabaŋ" that refers to a "creek that runs only during the rainy season". Von Zipper, Nixon, West 49 and Element are some of the prominent brands that Billabong owns. From late 2012 onwards, following the company's collapse in the period since 2008, Billabong International has been the subject of a protracted bidding process that the company's former United States (US) chief Paul Naude has been a participant in. Billabong was founded in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia in 1973 by Gordon Merchant. At first, he designed and created the board shorts at his home and then sold them to local surf shops. Surfers soon realized the durability of Merchant's board shorts that was the result of his triple-stitching technique. Merchant understood that his company needed to expand to achieve success, so Billabong started to sponsor contests—these contests increased the public's awareness of Merchant's products and the company consequently expanded. By the 1980s, Billabong board shorts were present throughout Australia.][ Based upon his success in Australia, Merchant decided to export Billabong's products and, by the late 1980s, Merchant's board shorts were available in other countries, such as New Zealand, Japan and South Africa. In the 1990s, the surf industry as a whole grew exponentially and Billabong was a part of this growth process. The company was first traded on the Australian Securities Exchange in mid-2000, and this development provided the company with the funds to further expand and acquire other companies.][ As the company developed further it acquired new brands and retail outlets so that it could move beyond the area of wholesale business, and the first decade of the 21st century was a particularly active period of expansion for Billabong. Von Zipper, an eyewear brand, was acquired in early 2001 and the acquisition of skateboarding apparel and hard good brand Element was announced in July 2001. The acquisition of the Kustom surf shoe brand, as part of Billabong's purchase of the Australian Gold Coast-based Palmers Surf company, was disclosed in September 2004. The following year in December, an official press release was published to announce the acquisition of Nixon, a watch and accessories brand in the board sports market. The acquisition of wetsuit and technical watersport accessories brand Xcel became effective on 1 September 2007, and Jodhi Meares' Tigerlily brand was acquired shortly thereafter in December of the same year. The Tigerlily decision represented the first time that Billabong had acquired a brand that focused exclusively on the 'girls' market, and the intention of management was to position the new addition so that it complemented the company's own 'Billabongs Girls' line. In 2008 Billabong continued with the consistent acquisition activity that occurred in 2007 and announced four acquisitions over four successive months. Following the acquisition of the Gold Coast store Kirra Surf in May, the company announced its acquisition of the retail operations of Quiet Flight, a retail company on the east coast of the US that had already been operating licensed Billabong and Element retail outlets in Times Square, New York, US. The Quiet Flight deal resulted in the addition of 14 Quiet Flight and Surf Warehouse retail stores, most of which were located in Florida, US. Then in June 2008, the founders of the Sector 9 skateboard company accepted an offer from Billabong that also included the purchase of the Gullwing skateboard truck brand. Finally in August, Billabong confirmed the acquisition of boardsport accessories brand DaKine, which specialises in backpacks, bags, gloves and accessories, in a press release that projected that "DaKine is expected to contribute approximately 4% of Billabong International Limited’s Group sales in the 2008-09 financial year". Billabong's retail expansion continued later in the year with the November purchase of the United Kingdom (UK)-based 13-store retail chain Two Seasons for an undisclosed sum. Billabong only announced a single acquisition in 2009 with the purchase of Swell, a US-based online retailer of boardsports brands, for an undisclosed sum. Billabong commenced 2010 with the signing of a ten-year licensing deal with popular skateboard company Plan B, and Plan B subsequently entered into a partnership arrangement with Element. In May 2010, Billabong's retail expansion continued with the acquisition of American surf retailer Becker Surf & Sport in May (the Becker deal included the business' online operations, but not its surfboard operations), followed by the purchase of prominent Canadian action sports retailer West 49 in late June. Further acquisitions were then announced in the remainder of 2010: the acquisition of apparel brand RVCA was confirmed in July and the label's founder Pat Tenore explained his decision in the Billabong press release: "One of the key things about Billabong is its respect for the creative independence of each of its brands and that level of flexibility will allow RVCA to maintain its identity while benefiting from the support of the wider Billabong group"; after RVCA, Billabong then returned to the retail market and ended the year with the October acquisition of the Australian retail stores Surf Dive 'n' Ski and Jetty Surf—from vendor General Pants Group—for an undisclosed amount. On 16 February 2012 trading in Billabong shares was halted at the company's request because of reports of a A$776 million takeover offer from TPG Capital, a United States private equity firm. On 17 February 2012, Billabong announced its intention to undergo a major restructure. Up to 150 stores will be closed. 400 full-time jobs will be lost internationally, including up to 80 in Australia. 48.5% of its Nixon watches and accessories brand name will be sold to Trilantic Capital Partners (TCP) to establish Nixon as a joint venture. The partial sale will give approximately $US285 (A$265.78) million in net proceeds to Billabong. It is intended that proceeds from the sale will be used to reduce debt. In February 2012, TPG Capital made two takeover proposals which were both not accepted. Billabong announced that Gordon Merchant, who owns 15% of the company's shares, had rejected both the offers. On 27 August 2012, Chief Executive Laura Inman presented her four-year plan to try to return Billabong to positive sales growth and increase earnings. The plan included a range of measures with the key focus being on simplifying the business, leveraging its namesake brand, improving its supply chain and e-commerce offerings. The new initiatives are estimated to cost approximately $80 million. In September 2012 two private equity firms, TPG Capital and Bain Capital, are bidding for ownership of Billabong. As of 5 June 2013, the company was yet to finalise a takeover deal with either of the two American private equity suitors; however, a refinancing deal was nearing completion as of this date. On 4 June 2013, Billabong stated that it was unable to reach an agreement with US private equity funds Altamont Capital Partners and Sycamore Partners, 16 months after the first takeover move emerged. A media report published on July 18, 2013 conveyed that the takeover process had "exploded into acrimony", as two US hedge funds contested the offer from Altamont Partners that was accepted by the company on July 16, 2013. Acting together, the hedge funds claimed that they had made a superior offer to the one that was accepted, whereby a debt-for-equity swap was proposed that would result in a 60 percent stake in Billabong. As of July 19, 2013, Billabong rejected the claim from hedge funds Centerbridge Partners and Oaktree Capital, stating that the proposal in question was conditional and could therefore not be accepted. In 2000, the company was listed and had sales of $225 million, growing to $1.7 billion in 2011. Profits of $249 million were achieved in 2007. For the six months to December 31, 2011 Billabong had a 71% drop in net profit to A$16.097 million. The Billabong brand sponsors teams of riders in different subcultures who play an ambassador-like role for both the brand and the lifestyle that is being promoted.
Tow-in surfing is a surfing technique which uses artificial assistance to allow the surfer to catch faster moving waves than was traditionally possible when paddling by hand. Tow-in surfing was pioneered by Laird Hamilton, Buzzy Kerbox, Dave Kalama, Milton Willis, Michael Willis, Sandra Chevally, Thomas Bernard, and others in the mid 1990s. A surfer is towed into a breaking wave by a partner driving a personal watercraft (PWC, commonly known by the brand name Jet Ski) or a helicopter with an attached tow-line. This method has a demonstrated advantage in situations where the wave is too large (such as ahiPe off the north side of Maui), or where position on the wave is extremely critical (Teahupoo off southeast Tahiti). The use of a helicopter for tow-in surfing started to appear in the mid 2000s, and has several advantages over the use of a personal watercraft. The pilot, positioned high above the surfer, is able to spot large waves from farther away and position the surfer accordingly. A helicopter can go faster, and is not affected by the ocean surface like a watercraft, but is much more expensive to operate. Critics of tow-in surfing decry the noise and exhaust fumes made by PWC engines, as well as the likelihood that new participants can get into predicaments that they have not been trained or conditioned to survive. On the other hand, a skilled team of driver and surfer, who often swap roles in the water during a session, develop a rapport and an understanding of ocean conditions that allows them to pro-actively watch out for each other. Environmentalists and surfing purists have passed a proposal to shut down tow-in surfing at Mavericks in Northern California, saying that is hazardous to local wildlife and a nuisance to residents.
Mike Parsons (born March 13, 1965, in California) is a surfer sponsored by the Billabong company who was towed into a 66-foot wave at Cortes Bank, CA in 2001, for which he was awarded $66,000 the highest prize ever awarded in the history of professional surfing. This money was awarded by the Billabong XXL competition which has run since 2001 paying tribute to the biggest waves ridden each year. He is actually more famous for riding a 64-foot wave during competition at the Jaws break on the north shore of Maui. It was filmed by helicopter and used as the opening scene of the 2003 film Billabong Odyssey. A usually uncredited clip of this sequence has gone on to become a viral video, attributed to a number of different surfers, locations, and in many cases, a Tsunami. Parsons later broke his record on January 5, 2008, at Cortes Bank, when he was photographed surfing a wave that the Billabong XXL judged to be 77 feet, which put him in the Guinness Book of World Records, officially, for biggest wave ever surfed. Nearly 4 years later Garrett McNamara improved on this record with a 78-foot wave off Nazare, Portugal on November 1, 2011. Unofficially the biggest wave ever surfed remains Ken Bradshaw's wave at Outside Log Cabins, Oahu on January 28, 1998, at about 80 feet. On January 20, 2013, Parsons suffered a broken C7 vertebrae in his neck and nearly drowned while surfing triple-overhead surf at Ocean Beach, a beach break in San Fransisco, California. Mike was inducted into the Surfer's Hall of Fame in Huntington Beach, California in 2008.
action sports documentary

Tow-in surfing is a surfing technique which uses artificial assistance to allow the surfer to catch faster moving waves than was traditionally possible when paddling by hand. Tow-in surfing was invented by surfers who wanted to catch big waves and break the 30 foot barrier. It has been one of the biggest breakthroughs in surfing history.

Mike Parsons

Randy Laine (born Elliott Randolph Laine on July 17, 1952 in North Carolina) is an American big-wave surfer, co-pioneer of tow-in surfing, extreme watersports athlete, celebrity-enthusiast, television personality, commercial product endorser and spokesman, and on occasion a men's fashion and action-sports model. Laine is considered to be one of the top, if not the best professional freestyle Jet Skiers to date. In October 2008, Laine will be inducted into the IJSBA's (International Jet Sports Boating Association) Hall of Fame, where he will be honored for inventing many of the extreme aerial maneuvers used in freestyle jet ski competition today. The ceremony is to take place in Lake Havasu, at the conclusion of the IJSBA World Finals.

Laine, who is nicknamed "The Father of Freeride" is sponsored by Red Bull, Billabong, Jet Pilot, Pro Tec, Skat Trak, and Hydro Turf, and has appeared in and on the cover's of over two dozen magazines, including a 1970's spread in Playgirl Magazine. In January 2001, as a part of the first documented expedition to the Cortes Bank, Laine set a world record for the biggest wave ever ridden on a Jet Ski (actually a Yamaha Super Jet), where he conquered a 72-foot wave. Beginning in 2002, Laine joined the Billabong Odyssey as marine coordinator, and has been searching for an unprecedented 100-foot-tall (30 m) wave to ride in an effort to set a record for tow-in surfing.Laine has resided primarily in San Diego, California for the last thirty-five years. He splits his time between San Diego, Baja California, Mexico, and the Northshore of Oahu, Hawaii. Laine has one daughter, fashion designer and model Michelle Laine. Randy Laine is the brother of professional surfer Wes Laine, and great nephew of american actor Randolph Scott, through his great grandfather Rufus Butler Scott. Both Randy and his sister Scott Laine, were named after their great uncle.


Big wave surfing is a discipline within surfing in which experienced surfers paddle into or are towed onto waves which are at least 20 feet (6.2 m) high, on surf boards known as "guns" or towboards. Sizes of the board needed to successfully surf these waves vary by the size of the wave as well as the technique the surfer uses to reach the wave. A larger, longer board allows a rider to paddle fast enough to catch the wave and has the advantage of being more stable, but it also limits maneuverability and surfing speed.

In 1992, big wave surfers such as Laird Hamilton and Darrick Doerner introduced a cross over sport called tow in surfing. While many riders still participate in both sports, they remain very distinct activities. This type of surfing involves being towed into massive waves by jet ski, allowing for the speed needed to successfully ride. Tow in surfing also revolutionized board size, allowing surfers to trade in their unwieldy 12 ft. boards in favor of light, 7 ft boards that allowed for more speed and easier maneuverability in waves over 30 ft. By the end of the 1990s, tow in surfing allowed surfers to ride waves exceeding 50 ft.

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In journalism, a human interest story is a feature story that discusses a person or people in an emotional way. It presents people and their problems, concerns, or achievements in a way that brings about interest, sympathy or motivation in the reader or viewer.

Human interest stories may be "the story behind the story" about an event, organization, or otherwise faceless historical happening, such as about the life of an individual soldier during wartime, an interview with a survivor of a natural disaster, a random act of kindness or profile of someone known for a career achievement.


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