The thing is about Nelscott Reef in Oregon – it’s the North Pacific. That means really cold water and towering waves. Yeah, there are great white sharks out there, too. But, don’t worrry about those man eaters. It’s the waves that will kill you.
From the Nelscott Reef site:
In 1995 Nelscott Reef pioneer John Forse took an underpowered zodiac out in the 17 feet at 20 second swell and after several tries was able to penetrate the Siletz rivermouth and got outside. The speed of the wave combined with the wind keeping him on the peak prevented him from getting down the face and felt like the “Jay Moriarty stuck in the lip at Mavericks” famous wipeout and got blown out the back only to find the wave’s “big brother” bearing down on him.
Today, it’s a tow in race. You get towed in so you can make the wave.
But here’s the cool part.
The contest season runs from October 1 through the end of the year. Surfers get 48 hours notice before the start of the competition. Once the green light goes on, surfers rush to Lincoln City for the competition. Last year, the green light went on once the waves hit heights of 20 to 30 feet. That was the end of November.
My question. Are these folks ultimate athletes? They are surfing superstars. They can ride huge waves, keeping their balance down a face that is almost a sheer drop. Go down and it’s anyone’s guess if they survive. If these guys can participate in any other number of sports, what is to say they are not overall, the greatest athletes in the world.
And could a great athlete with no surfing experience ride such a wave? Riding waves of such height is a technical challenge as much as one about physical capability. But I bet the greatest athletes could learn pretty quickly how to ride those waves.
Some sports seem so daunting that they should only be for the people with the experience and learning to participate. But is it that ability to defy normal expectations that makes the ultimate athlete so extraordinary?