Big wave surfing at Cortes Bank

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 10, 2008

Recent Pacific storms have resulted in some epic big wave surfing at Cortes Bank, a seamount located 105 miles off the California coast.

Big wave surfing at Cortes Bank

The NY Times has a nice overview:

With a second major storm bearing down, four of the most experienced big-wave surfers in the world launched a boat and two Jet Skis toward Cortes Bank, an underwater mountain range whose tallest peak rises 4,000 feet from the ocean floor to within about four feet of the surface. The perilous spot, about 100 miles off the coast of Southern California, had been surfed only a handful of times in the past decade. With just the right conditions, its shallow waters turn huge ocean swells into giant, perfect breaking waves.

On a big wave site set up by Billabong, one of the riders said that 100-foot waves will be ridden out there:

Cortes Bank veteran Mike Parsons returned from the voyage absolutely certain that larger sea monsters are awaiting around the spooky open-ocean shoal. "It's getting closer and closer now...I guarantee you there will be a 100-foot-wave ridden out there," said Parsons. "For sure. There were several big peaks that jumped up at the top of the reef outside of us that could not have been too far off that size. If you put yourself in the right place at the right time, it will happen. It's only a matter of time now."

For photos and a nice audio feature with the crew that took the trip out there, head on over to Surfline.