Greg Noll. Rest in Peace. Jeff Ellmore: “Oh he was the character. Biggest influence in big wave surfing is his legacy. Like the many riders that followed, he was fearless. The equipment and knowledge base was antiquated and non existent but the talent and guts to paddle out alone at Waimea in conditions that no one would dare. Is the number one poster in all of surf lore. Sad day.”
Noll became known for his exploits in large Hawaiian surf on the North Shore of Oahu. In November 1957, he surfed Waimea Bay in 25–30 ft surf; at the time, this was thought to be impossible, even by the local Hawaiians. He was the first surfer to ride a wave breaking on the outside reef at Banzai Pipeline in November 1964.
“The wave I caught at Outside Pipeline that day walled up twenty-five-feet high about half a mile in front of me. It broke to the left, so I was riding with my back to the wave, goofyfoot, and it was a god-awful uneasy feeling. Instead of getting smaller as I rode it, the sonofabitch grew on me. It got bigger and bigger, and I started going faster and faster, until I was absolutely locked into it. I felt like I was on a spaceship racing into a void. At first, I could hear my board chattering across the face of the wave in a constant rhythm. As my speed increased, the chattering noise became less frequent. Suddenly there was no noise. For about fifteen or twenty feet, I was airborne. Then I literally was blown off my board.”-Greg Noll
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