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Final Word on How BIG the waves were the other day

Final Word on How BIG the waves were the other day

Final word…follow the money!

Final Word on How BIG the waves were the other day: In the world of surfing, the measurement of waves has been a subject of debate and controversy, particularly in Hawaii, where the sport holds deep cultural and historical significance. Traditionally, wave height was estimated by surfers based on their experience and visual judgment, but with the advent of big wave surfing and the desire for more accurate measurements, different methods have emerged.


One widely used method globally is the “Hawaiian scale,” which measures waves from the back. This method often yields lower wave height measurements compared to other systems used in various parts of the world. It’s based on the measurement of the wave’s face from trough to crest, excluding the back or “hollow” part of the wave. This can result in a considerable disparity in reported wave heights between the Hawaiian scale and other measurement systems, such as the more common “face height” measurement.

The controversy arises because Hawaiian surfers and some purists argue that the Hawaiian scale provides a more realistic representation of the wave’s actual size and power. They believe that measuring the wave from its back better captures its rideable face and the true challenge it presents to surfers. This viewpoint is deeply rooted in the cultural and historical context of Hawaii’s surfing heritage, where wave riding is seen as an art form deeply connected to nature.

Big wave surfing contests

However, this difference in measurement systems has implications beyond cultural significance. It affects competitive surfing, where standardized measurements are crucial for fair judging and comparison between different surf breaks worldwide. Discrepancies in reported wave heights can influence how surfers strategize and prepare for competitions, potentially impacting their performance and results.

Efforts have been made to bridge this gap by seeking more uniform measurement standards across the surfing world. Still, the debate persists, reflecting the tension between preserving the authenticity of Hawaii’s surfing culture and the practical need for standardized measurements in a globally expanding sport. Ultimately, finding common ground while respecting diverse surfing traditions remains a challenge in the ongoing controversy surrounding wave measurement in Hawaiian surfing.

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