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Mike Parsons was towed into this wave at Cortes Bank on 1-05-2008. Spelled CorteS not CorteZ. This painting is based on a very low, water-angle photo taken about 15 seconds into the ride. The photograph by Robert Brown did not show the trough of this wave, which you can see in this painting, because another wave was blocking our view of the trough. At the moment of this photo the wave was officially judged as 77 feet high by the Billabong XXL. It was accepted by the Guiness Book of Records in 2008 as biggest wave ever surfed. My own estimate through photo-analysis agrees at 13 times overhead. This is still the only water-angle view in existence of a legitimate 13-times-overhead wave.
(Garrett at Nazare on 11-1-2011 does not count because it was overestimated in my opinion. Rodrigo Koxa's wave at Nazare on 11-08-2017 has no water-angle view, and I am not sure about the WSL estimate of 80 feet. Koxa's wave may have been 80 feet tall, but I cannot make an estimate based on a low resolution video).
This wave must have been over 80 feet high near takeoff. Notice how high the whitewater is exploding in the background, higher than the face, when water-angle foreshortening is factored in, indicating that only seconds before the lip plunged violently, exploding higher than the face height. Larger waves were ridden that day but not photographed. The few witnesses agreed that Greg Long got the biggest wave that day, nearly 90 feet, but not photographed.
Few useful photos (besides this one) were taken due to very dangerous conditions. Maybe next time a drone cam would help. The video shot by Matt Wybenga has seldom been seen since it is hard to watch without getting seasick. Read about this historic trip to Cortes Bank in the recent book "Ghost Wave" by Chris Dixon, chapter 11. See my next painting based on this photo "Analysis of Cortes 1-5-2008" for more details about this historic surfing excursion.
To see the actual photo Google "Surfers Defy Giant Waves Awakened by Storm" article in the New York Times.
I hope to get permission from Mike Parsons to view his video and reconstruct a single frame in a painting. How tall is Mike Parsons? A reliable source told me he is about 6' tall.
May 21st, 2015
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