Join 3,513 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Bringing waterskiing to a whole new level!
February 8, 2011 12:23 PM   Subscribe

Skiier and Waterman Chuck Patterson takes on Hawaii's famous Pe'ahi break on skis!

You're going to want to watch this one fullscreen. It's absolutely jaw-dropping (no pun intended). via
posted by empatterson (34 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
That looks like a lot of fun. I'm surprised how much he carried over from snow skiing - the technique looks very similar, and he even uses his poles and actual ski boots. I'd love to try it, but I'm very aggressive in my pole planting - that would be a good way to die on these waves I think.

Thanks for the link.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 12:34 PM on February 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


The idea of having my feet attached to something on waves like that seems crazy, and then to be attached to two separate boards makes me downright uncomfortable. I'm not a skilled skier by any means, so my falls were all pretty slow, and on a relatively stationary surface. Thinking about catching one ski in those waves ... eep.

But beautiful. Thanks for sharing this.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:39 PM on February 8, 2011


I believe the scientific term for this is legit as fuck.
posted by wcfields at 12:42 PM on February 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm sorry, I can't get past the way he wears his hat. I'm a terrible person.
posted by desjardins at 12:56 PM on February 8, 2011


I'm sorry, I can't get past the way he wears his hat. I'm a terrible person.

I think he's wearing it straight forward, but the graphic on it (and shadows from it) give the illusion that it's turned slightly to the side.
posted by zylocomotion at 1:05 PM on February 8, 2011


It's cool that he did it, but it appears that a board is a much better tool for the waves, just as on snow, skis are better tools than a snowboard.
posted by exogenous at 1:07 PM on February 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


He sorta drags his poles like I do (on snow). But then I am a pretty crappy skier.
posted by Danf at 1:19 PM on February 8, 2011


exogenous: I'd have to disagree completely -- it appears that skis and boards are universally interchangeable approaches to riding the same terrain, whether it's snow, water, waves, or streets (skateboard vs roller blades). They're just different. I can't see any case that one is better than the other anywhere.
posted by rusty at 1:21 PM on February 8, 2011


rusty - fall off a wave on waterskis and you will find a case in which one is better.
posted by anthill at 1:23 PM on February 8, 2011


skis and boards.... They're just different. I can't see any case that one is better than the other anywhere.

It is possible to surf with a board without being towed into the wave. Sort of eminently possible.
posted by gurple at 1:25 PM on February 8, 2011


That seems completely insane to me. Kind of cool, yeah, but insane. What happens if - I mean, when - you wipe out? You've got big boots on your feet; do they quick-release from the skis? And then quick-release from your feet? Jaws is not known for its kinder, gentler wipeouts and hold-downs.
posted by rtha at 1:26 PM on February 8, 2011


anthill: How? I've fallen off waves on a surfboard and sometimes it really sucks, and sometimes it doesn't. I've fallen snowboarding and I've fallen skiing. I've fallen on waterskis and on wakeboards. I've fallen from skateboards and roller blades...

Pretty much skiing on waves is the one thing I haven't done -- I don't claim to have done any of them well, by the way, but I have extensive falling experience! I can't see any reason why falling while skiing on a wave is likely to be so much different than any other thing.
posted by rusty at 1:32 PM on February 8, 2011


gurple: It's possible yes. But lots of people surf tow-in. Especially big waves -- the biggest waves are not surfable without a tow. I don't see how needing a kickstart somehow invalidates the whole idea.
posted by rusty at 1:34 PM on February 8, 2011


Cool yeah, but I'm still a little fuzzy on the poles. Do they help balance him? I'm assuming he can't actually plant them somehow and get resistance.
posted by GuyZero at 1:37 PM on February 8, 2011


But lots of people surf tow-in. Especially big waves -- the biggest waves are not surfable without a tow. I don't see how needing a kickstart somehow invalidates the whole idea.

I think I've figured out why this annoys me. It's because, like all big-wave riding, it relies on getting towed into place, but unlike regular big-wave riding, you can't learn the skills involved without doing another sport entirely that has nothing to do with surfing or even with the ocean.

Sort of like, let's take this thing called surfing, and clip out a whole bunch of pieces until it's distilled down to just this one skill, which happens to be somewhat transferable from skiing.
posted by gurple at 1:39 PM on February 8, 2011


(Just for a little conventional-surfing comparison point -- when you fall while surfing, you get tumbled around in a wave with a very large piece of fiberglass that has sharp fins sticking out of it, and it's also tied to your leg. Good luck! A buddy of mine got run over by his own board in a very small wave, and ended up at the hospital getting lots of stitches in his scalp.)

gurple: Well, ok I guess. Seems sort of pointlessly purist to me, but de gustibus and all.
posted by rusty at 1:44 PM on February 8, 2011


gurple: Well, ok I guess. Seems sort of pointlessly purist to me, but de gustibus and all.

I'm sure it's because I'm a beginning surfer. It's sort of like, maybe, if you're learning to brew beer, and you've had a couple batches go OK but nothing great, and then there's this video about this guy who brewed this phenomenal beer by using this setup that did most of the work but let him play HALO and, the better he did at HALO, the better the beer came out.

Or something. Anyway, something about kids and lawns.
posted by gurple at 1:53 PM on February 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


The weird thing is, it appears he's taking to things that are easy, and making it hard. He's what, water skiing at 30 MPH on two skis? Easy, I can do this and I'm feeble loser. He's also skiing down a not particularly steep slope at a very nominal rate of speed, something even a big wuss like myself can do with ease.

And yet you can see easily that it is very difficult. Two easy things = one very difficult thing.

And I agree with the hat-chat above. It's doubly terrible if it's a graphic that gives the cap an askew appearance. Maybe that even makes it triple terrible.
posted by Keith Talent at 2:12 PM on February 8, 2011


Sort of like, let's take this thing called surfing, and clip out a whole bunch of pieces until it's distilled down to just this one skill, which happens to be somewhat transferable from skiing.

Laird and the boys aren't snowboarders. They took the idea of going down a big wave as if it were a hill, and they refined the boards for tow-in because you don't need to have a canoe to get up to speed of the big waves.

In fact, I can't think of a single snowboarder who has done Peahi or Teahupoo or even towed in to smaller breaks that isn't also a surfer. You've got to know how to swim (obviously), and you've got to know how to stare down a wall of water and have the self-confidence to hold your breath for a full minute while you wait for the opportunity to grab another one. And then you've got to have the sack to ride a wave weighing hundreds of thousands of pounds; you've got to get out in front of that thing and pray some very probable mistake doesn't kill you. You've got keep your shit together when you catch an edge and find yourself hurtling backwards ten or twenty feet down into shallow water with a freight train car full of water at your side. Ball up, or dive in, and catch a breath before you break water. Ditch your board as far away from you as possible, and try to punch down when you do break water so the wave doesn't suck you right back up and flip you over again, possibly smacking you against the surface of the water and knocking the single breath you have out of your lungs, dooming you to die. And then when you are down, don't panic and suck in water, or try to take a breath when you feel like there's air, because it could just be foam and now you're hacking and coughing salt and praying to God that the thundering echo is the wave that just passed, and not the beautiful merciless arc most certainly poised above your puny human body. But then the echo pitches higher and the roar swallows your whole reality, and you're getting dragged along sand if you're lucky, and reef and rock if you're not, hoping you've got enough air and strength left to make it to the surface again, to try and survive another round.

I've only been out in 10-15, and they scare the holy hell out of me, and nearly killed me at a little beach break when I started daydreaming and got trapped in a freak set. Any dude who is out in 25-35 and even crazy enough to do 50-60 footers has my blessing. I don't care what he's strapped to.
posted by notion at 2:13 PM on February 8, 2011 [6 favorites]


Seconding notion. The biggest I've seen is 12 feet (in a sea kayak) and I paddled over the lip of one of those and thought "This is the biggest wave I've ever seen in person and I'm probably going to die now." I pretty much just can't judge anyone for going anywhere near one of those monsters, in any capacity and with any equipment.
posted by rusty at 2:16 PM on February 8, 2011


I can't see any case that one is better than the other anywhere.

The deficiencies of skis on water have been pointed out above. Regarding snow, for one thing skis allow a person to move around on flats and even up hill without taking them off. In my mind these factors make for "better." People will use what they enjoy and that's fine.
posted by exogenous at 2:36 PM on February 8, 2011


Re catching a ski - it looks like he has releasable bindings on those boards.
But 'Waterman'* or not, he does look pretty awkward, like a gumby skier doing this, but then I think he does say he's only done 4 sessions.
I can imagine with practise and maybe better equipment this could be done more fluidly and more, like, rad.

*I loved how they showed that he'd made the official list of 'Who is a Waterman'
posted by Flashman at 2:38 PM on February 8, 2011


it looks like he has releasable bindings on those boards

Still, trying to swim with ski boots on?
posted by exogenous at 2:40 PM on February 8, 2011


Re catching a ski - it looks like he has releasable bindings on those boards.

Yeah, I don't know - is it possible to find your feet to release the bindings as you're going over the falls, or having a building dropped on you at 40 miles an hour? And then you have boots rolling around in the water with you, waiting to kick you in the head. The more I think about it, the worse it sounds. I'd be interested to hear Patterson or anyone else who's doing this talk about what happens in a wipe-out.
posted by rtha at 2:51 PM on February 8, 2011


That looks ridiculously difficult. Then again, I'm a skier and I think snowboarding looks difficult.

Ever seen a video of a snowboarder with an avalanche bearing down on them from above? They can cut right across the mountain to a side faster than a skier - which is why skiing on a wave looks so hard to me.

I would like to see the video of him testing if its best to set the bindings to release early or tighten them right down.
posted by jeffmik at 3:06 PM on February 8, 2011


I water-ski a lot. Every week, conditions permitting. Twin, single and barefoot.
I also enjoy the odd rip and tear.
There is no fucking way I'd attempt this.
To quote wcfields, legit as fuck.
posted by Duke999R at 3:08 PM on February 8, 2011


I'm sure it's because I'm a beginning surfer. It's sort of like, maybe, if you're learning to brew beer, and you've had a couple batches go OK but nothing great, and then there's this video about this guy who brewed this phenomenal beer by using this setup that did most of the work but let him play HALO and, the better he did at HALO, the better the beer came out.

I really want to try this set-up, only instead of Halo it should be EVE Online Dwarf Fortress.
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:15 PM on February 8, 2011


"but I'm still a little fuzzy on the poles. Do they help balance him? I'm assuming he can't actually plant them somehow and get resistance."

I looks he is using them to help steer and position himself on the wave, much as a surfer uses his hand to "scratch" the face. It slows you down slightly and turns you towards the hand. I'm sure it helps balance too, on burly waves slapping the face feels like a concrete wall.

Definitely looks awkward and going through the rinse cycle with those strapped on would be unthinkable. I don't see them replacing surfboards any time soon, but then I said the same thing about snowboards.
posted by Manjusri at 3:26 PM on February 8, 2011


Yeah, No. I would not like to be underwater wearing boots and perhaps skis. Maybe if you could rig up a mechanism where you could pull a couple of lines that ran to a belt to release your bindings. His body language as he rides down the waves looks very much like he is in that "oh shit don'tfall don'tfall don'tfall" posture common to all beginning snow skiers when they are skiing near their limit. Then again he said he is just starting.

It is interesting to note that you can turn with more alacrity on water with one edge but better on snow with two. Hmmm. Very deep powdery snow possibly excepted - perhaps that's the key: if you are getting more penetration into the medium then you don't need as much length of edge.
posted by vapidave at 3:26 PM on February 8, 2011


WHOA! I know Andy McDermott, the older of the brothers that made those skis. They are from Freeport, ME. When they were in the shaping and testing phase Andy lived with my cousin.
posted by MNDZ at 3:46 PM on February 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I grew up in a Maine fishing village. If there was one thing I learned about the ocean, large boots fill with water. Weight on your feet that you can't escape is bad. Ultimately, it will drag you to the bottom of the ocean permanently. I knew at least 3 separate kids who lost direct relatives this way.

More power to him, and good of him to have buddies around.
posted by Nanukthedog at 3:53 PM on February 8, 2011


His body language as he rides down the waves looks very much like he is in that "oh shit don'tfall don'tfall don'tfall" posture common to all beginning snow skiers when they are skiing near their limit.

I can't quit watching the video. I actually think his form is pretty good and in control - he's staying out over his skis. Moreso here than in snow skiing, getting caught sitting in the back seat is an instant wipeout. Since he can't really use his edges to scrub speed, he has to move up and down the face. That's what makes him look a little shaky balancewise, I think.

I still love the concept, but I think it's too much effort for too little ride. Especially for an old guy like me. But this is what being young is for.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:14 PM on February 8, 2011


It's the first-person shots that do it for me.

I agree with those above who said that it looks clumsy from point of view of the camera. But once I got to experience it from his point of view... I could see what the attraction is.

legit as fuck

(full disclosure: I ski, but I don't surf or snowboard).
posted by Jazz.bot at 6:36 PM on February 8, 2011


Note for people freaking out about boots in the water -- it looked to me like he had a PFD on. Which seems sort of like an obvious thing to do. Also I've been rolled by a wave with a 16 foot boat attached to my lower body. I'm not going to say it doesn't sort of make you naturally panic a little, but it's not the end of the world. Boots, hey, at least you can still move your legs.
posted by rusty at 8:33 AM on February 9, 2011


« Older The Baseball Prospectus' Wezen-Ball blog solves a ...  |  Generate the next Malcolm Glad... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments