Posts Tagged ‘Big Wave Surfing’

January 12th, 2012 | By | 6,425 Comments

Todos Santos Paddle Session – Amazing Photos from an Epic Day – January 6, 2012

One day he’s joking at a local bar about going to Todos and the next he’s sitting in the channel puking up foam from a freak set on the head. Lifeguard and budding surf photog, Jordan Gonzales headed down to Todos Santos last Friday to snap some pictures of friends Bryce and Tj Saeman. These brothers, both skilled and highly competitive when it comes to big wave surfing, invited Jordan to join them on one of their many treks to this notoriously large Baja break. While this swell wasn’t as big as they all had hoped, the day long session did offer some of the cleanest conditions anyone had seen in recent memory.

Jordan packed his new toy, a Canon 50D, and snapped some incredible photos from the chartered boat in the channel:

Images May Not Be Re-Used or Reproduced w/o Consent. Photos: Jordan Gonzales.

After grabbing a bunch of shots from the boat and little dazed from the 3am wake-up call & subsequent race out to the famed Baja island, Jordan said he reluctantly got talked into jumping in the lineup with a GoPro in hand. Several waves and GP stills later, Jordan found himself right in the path of a rogue set wave. “This thing must’ve been 25 feet and it landed right on my head,” Jordan explained. It rag dolled him and pulled him under on a vicious rollercoaster ride in the whitewash. “I was hacking up foam and wanted to kill Bryce when he did finally pick me up on the ski. Of course the biggest wave came though right when I decided to jump in the water.” Overall Jordan was stoked to experience Todos on such a rare and remarkably clean & sunny day.

The above photos are unedited, straight from the camera shots. “The water was so blue and the conditions were so calm it didn’t seem like I was at Todos at all.” Rusty Long, Derek Dunfee, Jamie Mitchell, Dylan Graves, Maya Gabiera, Pat & Tanner Gudauskas, Dooma and of course Bryce and TJ Saeman were out there among others. Special thanks to Jordan for sharing his story and photos.

Click Below for the Surfline TV Video Edit from this day:

Todos Santos Paddle Session Surfline -TV

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April 30th, 2011 | By | 3,148 Comments

Dorian, Couto, Sanchis, Kennelly and Sion Honored at the 2011 BIllabong XXL Awards

Danilo Cuoto wins $50 at the Billabong XXL Awards

Danilo Cuoto Winner of 2011 Ride of the Year

Friday, April 29, 2011: Anaheim, California. The XXL awards unfolded at Anaheim’s Grove theatre, where big wave pioneers convened to watch some of the latest and greatest chargers push the limits of both tow-in and paddle surfing. Hundreds of the event’s invited guests hooted and hollered as madmen from around the world slid down huge mountains of water on 3 giant screens where the true scale of the waves were definitely illuminated.

Shane's Monster Wave that Won Him 2 Awards

Shane's Monster Wave that Won Him 2 Awards

It was no surprise that Shane Dorian dominated this year’s awards with his massive paddle in at Peahi. He earned both Monster Tube and Monster Paddle prizes for his World Record setting 57-foot bomb at Maui’s premiere big wave spot. Although not winning the $50,000 prize for Ride of the Year, Dorian walked away with an impressive $20k, which he promised a portion would go to the MiIosky family. As many already know, the late Hawaiin charger Sion Milowsky tragically passed away this year during a massive day at Mavericks, California. To everyone’s best wishes he was posthumously honored with this year’s Surfline Mens Performance Award, which his family graciously accepted with an emotional speech. It was a great way to honor the waterman who inspired so many people on the North Shore and the surfing community in general. His passing was a sobering reminder of the dangers of big wave surfing and his presence was greatly felt, honored, and remembered throughout the evening.

The biggest purse of the night went to Danilo Couto who took the Ride of the Year award for yet another impressive Peahi paddle in. The Brazilian’s $50k wave included a gravity-defying airdrop down a monumental windswept face. You could picture Brazilians everywhere rejoicing as he accepted the award. Other winners included Frenchman Benjamin Sanchis’ enormous tow-in at Belharra France snagging Biggest Wave and Keala Kennelly’s impressive Puerto tube receiving the Girls Best Performance Award. Mark Mathews was awarded the Verizon Worst Wipeout award for his hair raising spill at Shipsterns where he was unable to outrun a chunky behemouth after miraculously landing two consecutive inside ledge drops. While no one really aims for this award, the accolade seemed well deserved for such a brave yet disastrous feat.

The crowd at the event included waterman and legends from both inside and out of the industry. Tony Hawk, Tito Ortiz and Jenna Jameson, were some of the celebs to show face and even the lead singer of Incubus, Brandon Boyd, made it on stage to help present an award. Although unfortunately not winning an award for one of his impressive big waves, Mark Healy was hands down best dressed at the event showing up in a beige leather cowboy jacket with tassels running throughout. The jacket was so impressive that even the event’s MC, Sal Masekela, couldn’t resist recognizing it in the midst of presenting on stage. Throughout the night many a cocktail and Monster energy drinks were consumed and respect was rightly given to those with the cojones to raise the bar of surfing. Even though a somber presence lingered in the room, the event was a great way for the big wave community to come together and honor both present and past surfers.

Watch Danilo Cuoto’s $50,000 Wave Here:

For more information or to watch the winning waves and nominees head to

The event will premiere Sunday, May 1 on Fuel TV

February 3rd, 2011 | By | 405 Comments

Interview: First Responder From The Rescue At Mavs

Alex Botelho is the team rider for Volcom Europe who secured the unconscious Jacob Trette on the back of the jet ski at Mavericks. He traveled from his home in Portugal to California to get a taste of the XXL winter swells, and soon became a respected Mavericks charger.

Knowing that Trette made a full recovery, he agreed to give the gnarly details of the rescue.
SWELL: How would you describe the conditions leading up to the set that cleaned up the pack so violently?

Alex: The conditions that morning looked a little smaller than expected, there was a huge storm covering almost the hole north Pacific and we were expecting a big swell. It was inconsistent and most of the set waves were not bigger than 15 feet, most waves were in the 12 foot range. But it still was a very strong swell with big intervals so it should have been kept in mind that the occasional big set could come through, and thats what happened.

SWELL: How many waves were in that set. It looked like you were in the worst spot and how did you endure such beatings?

Alex: That set had a first smaller one, and then the two bigger ones behind it. I was in the worst spot because i did the mistake of paddling to the first smaller wave of that set without knowing what was behind it. The moment i saw that wave i knew i was going to take that beating on the head, so i thought to my self, this is going to happen and you have no escape so do it right, and after that it all pretty much went instinctively. I guess staying calm is what gets you through a beating

SWELL: Your actions are being described as heroic. Tell us how you located and carried Jacob Trette’s body to safety.

Alex: After those sets my leash was broken and i had no board, Russell Ord picked me up on the ski and took me into the lagoon, we found some boards floating around, and i jumped in to get them. Then a man on a kayak in the lagoon called for attention and thats when we saw Jacob floating in the water. The kayaker spotted him, then Russell pulled him on the sled of the ski, and i got on the back to hold Jacob in place on the sled. I think we all did what we could in our positions, i happened to be there on the spot to help.

Alex(left) signalling for help

Alex(left) signalling for help

3. Do you think the PWC ban should be uplifted for lifesaving purposes?

Alex: Yes, i definitely think the PWC ban should be uplifted. I can understand some reasons why they have banned it, and that as a surfer paddling out there you must understand the risks that you are putting yourself through without having to count on a ski to help. But there are skis out there allot of the times, and in any situation if help is possible, then it should be done, not imposed because of a law, and that is what Russell did, who knows how long it would have taken to find Jacob another way.

SWELL: What other lifesaving actions on led to Jacob Trette’s surprising survival and progress?

Alex: The fact that the ski was there to pick him up so quickly was the key. On the sled i held him down firmly with my elbows holding his shoulders in place and both of my hands holding his neck straight and firm, in case of neck injury. As soon as we got him to the beach we took his wetsuit off and checked for any cuts, since it was probable that he went through the rocks while he was unconscious. While others on the shore helped us, we put him in a slight angle and in safety position to help get the water out of his stomach and lungs. We kept on assisting him until the arrival of the paramedics

SWELL: I heard You paddled Out at Mavs the very next day. That must have shocked people. Are you hooked on that wave or just crazy?

Alex: I paddled out the next day, which was a smaller day, because i didn’t want to leave that spot with the last experience being that way, and i wanted to feel comfortable again, because maybe the next session would only be in almost a year from now, i did not want to have that in my head for that long.

SWELL: Is there anything else about that day that was especially eerie or interesting?

Alex: The whole experience was a little eerie, to be picking up someone in that state and seeing so close what a wave there can do to you after i was just surfing there was a little shocking. But at the same time it was a big eye opener, and it made me realize some very important aspects about the wave, and it brought a new perspective to me of the way Mavericks should be approached. But most of all i am very happy that Jacob has made a good recovery so far, and i intend the most respect with everything i said here towards Jacob and his family.

Alex Botelho on a Bomb