wave art, Maya Gabeira, gender preconceptions, big wave surfing, Nazare, science of measurement

Wave to the camera

Nazaré and big-wave surfing have entered the mainstream lexicon. Images, video — often captured by drone — populate journals and appear all over YouTube. We’ve written about Nazaré a couple of times. “Wave to the camera” is a familiar expression, but in surfing it bears another meaning. Measuring waves based on pictures and video involves relying on interpreting visual data. Ask the World Surf League (WSL), which has done the measuring before announcing award winners.

Let’s get scientific

This year something new happened. Collinear geometry — in short, science — made sense of the wave. The largest wave ridden by a woman surfer, 73.5 feet, was taller than the largest surfed by a male. Wave to the camera suddenly became “wave to the lab.”

An article in a major publication (The Atlantic) asserts that this caused some discomfort — apparently big waves are the province of male surfers and of maleness. Maya Gabeira, the woman who rode a 73.5 foot wave in Nazaré, Portugal, disturbed this iconic notion …

By the way I am not personally convinced at all that male surfers — or even the majority — carry this prejudicial preconception. But it is an interesting story and there is something to it no doubt.

Read the original article by Maggie Mertens in The Atlantic.

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Our previous Nazaré articles/mentions are here:

The Magus of Nazaré

There’s badass, then there’s Nazaré

Sea to summit pocket shower

Related posters and art

The image at the top of this article reproduces a painting, not a photo. Never mind, it is still good. It is an art poster you can get at Amazon.

Among my favorite big wave images has always been Hokusai’s “The great wave off the coast of Kanagawa.”

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