Big wave surfing has become big business in recent years. The winner of the Oakley/ASL Big Wave Awards will be announced on Wednesday night in Bondi.
It's a hell of a spectator sport, that is when spectators can actually get within viewing range. Most of the action happens offshore on big wave reefs in the Pacific, off the US west coast, or the West Australian coast.
Occasionally you get something closer to home. I took these photos standing on Coogee point last April, five minutes from my house, with a crowd watching a couple of guys towing in to some pretty big waves.
As a kid in 1981 I was fortunate to be sitting on the cliffs at Bells Beach the day Simon Anderson won the Bells Classic in what was reported as 15 foot surf. Maybe that was 15 foot measured from the back of the wave, because the face of those waves was closer to 22-24 foot.
Anyway, size - in vertical numbers - isn't everything. Check out this footage of Laird Hamilton at Teahupoo reef off Tahiti.