World-record surfer a prisoner of his talent

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In December of 1969, a man named Greg Noll rode the biggest wave ever surfed. It happened in Hawaii, at a place called Makaha, and there was no doubt about the magnitude of his achievement; it surpassed all that had come before.

Most stunning of all was Noll's reaction. He was a legend in the sport, a larger-than-life character who had ridden giant waves for years, and he suddenly retired at the age of 31. That was his swan song. For those devoted to the sport and its lifelong benefits, it was difficult to fathom how Noll could simply walk away.

2

bluefish
19 weeks ago

Prisoner of talent or of dopamine?

tedbottomturner2
19 weeks ago

"Immersed in introspection, euphoria passed, mental depression, life isn't the same, relationships aren't the same, unreceptive to family, spaced-out, detached, sadness!" Oh brother!! Drama, much? We're talking surfing here, people, not PTSD. Sorry for the cynicism but you'd think the guy just had a man die in his arms as he saved a platoon of soldiers on the beach at Normandy during the D-Day invasion.

Greenandcold
19 weeks ago

Seriously. I lawled when I read this article. The article definately passed some time, though.

wavecraver
19 weeks ago

In fairness to Mr Dollar these kinds of articles can often present a picture that is almost unrecognizable to the subjects themselves, so any personal judgment is reserved. Also, this kind of big wave riding moves more into the realm of dangerous and extreme than your everyday version of wave riding. It is similar to mountain climbers, freedivers, land speed record pursuers, etc etc, they often define themselves by pushing the limits. I don't really care, it's a deeply ego based drive that other than being fun to watch on video is really somewhat meaningless. The emotional turmoil that can result is basically the same whether you are climbing Mt Everest or competing for an important job. I hope he is able to spend many many years with his family.

overheadandsunny
19 weeks ago

Mr. Dollar seems stoked on it. Haters gonna hate.

tedbottomturner2
19 weeks ago

I can appreciate the always measured responses from Mr. Craver! But IMO the required sustained effort lasting over a period of weeks and the ensuing emotional toughness needed to climb, say, a Mt. Everest is not quite the same as surfing a big wave. Shawn Dollar is probably a nice guy and a humble dude. I don't know him so cannot say for sure. But, that the article comes off a little bit as self aggrandizement is probably more a product of the writer (and I actually like and admire Jenkin's writings!) than it is Dollar's.

THE DUDE
19 weeks ago

Hated the terrible writing, as my wife said its written super cheesy. He is a pro big wave surfer which is absurd to begin with so he does have some dilemnas as far as getting paid but (for me) once you become mature you realize courage is about sacrifice and helping others - not the gonad comparisons that is charging a big wave. Surfing is selfish and about personal adrenalin fixes and if someone pays you or is getting off watching so be it. He is depressed from withdrawal and the reality of growing up and the reality that he will have to transition to another career. That is a challenge no doubt

THE DUDE
19 weeks ago

"prisoner of his own talent" how much more cheesy can you get

Doctor Who
19 weeks ago

tedbottomturner2: that is pure bullshit. All it takes to climb Everest is the money to pay a guide. People with one leg, people with no legs, and blind people have climbed Everest. People who have never climbed mountains before have climbed Everest. You really want to compare that to making the drop at Cortes? Really?

pelicanpaul
19 weeks ago

I like a lot of Jenkins' work but that article was lame. All the usual stereotypes. It seemed like they needed to fill in the bottom of the home page for all the folk who have never been in the water and need something to talk about at the BBQ in walnut creek. Pretty silly. People got to get over this measuring wave shit. There is a lot more going on than the size of the thing.

fbr
19 weeks ago

why does an article like this have to be perceived with such negativity. i commend craver and his wife for their honesty and openness in sharing. and, i think all of us, whether it is working up to or beyond doh at ob, or much much bigger down south can relate to an extent with what he struggles with. even beyond surfing, there is an analogy to letting go of one's youth that i think a lot of people personally understand. we are all on our own journeys, and while the obstacles we put in front of ourselves differ in magnitude, often the spirt and fight behind them don't. and finally, in a time when beaches across the globe are concentrated with more and more surfers, i think it is high time we all try and find some compassion. i understand that surfing is such a personal act, and at times borders on spirituality for a lot of us, but that does not mean any of has the right to take that away from someone else. not looking to offend anyone, but was bothered by the negative responses here and on the sfgate site.

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