Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The World's Best Surfer

Laird Hamilton (born March 2, 1964) is an American big-wave surfer, co-inventor of tow-in surfing, and an occasional fashion and action-sports model. He is married to Gabrielle Reece, a professional volleyball player, television personality, and model. Hamilton and his family split their time between residences in Maui, Hawaii, and Malibu, California.

                                                                   Laird Hamilton


When 16, Hamilton left eleventh grade at Kapaa High School to pursue a modeling career and work in construction. At 17, Hamilton was discovered on a beach in Kauaʻi by a photographer from the Italian Men's Vogue magazine L'Uomo Vogue which landed him a modeling contract and later a 1983 photo shoot with the actress Brooke Shields. Hamilton continued to do occasional men's action sportswear print modeling.

In 2008 Hamilton announced his own "Wonderwall" line of affordable clothing, sold through Steve & Barry's until that retailer shut down at the end of January 2009. He has had long-time sponsorship from the French beachwear company Oxbow surfwear.

Ride at Teahupo’o Reef

Hamilton's drop into Tahiti's Teahupoʻo break on the morning of August 17, 2000 firmly established him in the recorded history of surfing. Teahupoʻo is a particularly hazardous shallow-water reef break southeast of the Pacific Island of Tahiti.

On that day, with a larger than normal ocean swell, Darrick Doerner piloted the watercraft, towing Hamilton. Pulling in and releasing the tow rope, Hamilton drove down into the well of the wave's enormous tunnel vortex, in full view of boat-based photographers' and videographers' cameras. With his signature artistic flair, Hamilton continued deeply carving water, emerging back over the wave's shoulder. A still photograph of him riding the wave made the cover of Surfer magazine, with the caption: "oh my god..." The wave became known as "the heaviest ever ridden".

In the filmed coverage of this event in the motion picture Riding Giants, Doerner said "I towed him onto this wave. And it was to the point where I almost said 'Don't let go of the rope,' and when I looked back he was gone."

Hamilton is regarded by surfing historians as the "all time best of the best" at big wave surfing, regularly surfing swells of 35 feet (11 m) tall, and moving at speeds in excess of 30 miles (48 km) an hour and successfully riding other waves of up to 70 feet (21 m) high, at up to 50 mph (80 km/h). Hamilton prefers tow-in surfing the giant waves of Peʻahi reef (known as the Jaws surf break) on the north central shore of the Island of Maui.

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