The New Classics: Rhino Chasers

Jetski assists are yesterday's heroes. Get those bare hands of yours wet.

Ian Walsh looks back at a crashing lip as he races down the face of a massive wave at Jaws.
© Red Bull Content Pool

Tow whips and tow tubing is so much fun it hurts. Maybe it's the funnest thing ever. And you wanna know why?

Because when you take out the extreme risk of putting yourself on a ledge and paddling into a 10-foot tube you get to experience all the sights and sounds of what big-wave surfers have been talking about for years. Can you imagine being in something so round 20 years before it would've put you on the cover of every single surf mag in the world? Oh how the times they be changing!

But the easy fun of tows wears off a little while. Think about it. What's the most exciting bit about gnarly waves? The takeoff! Of course it is. It's that moment when all your strength, all your skills and your fortitude have to combine to get you over the hump and inside the wave.

It ain't easy. It's a long long way from easy.

And, therefore, the newest of classics is riding a real-live rhino chaster, a surfboard eight feet or longer, in waves of 10 feet or above.

If you're Ian Walsh you'll take it to the farthest extreme and you'll paddle an 11-footer down the face of 30 foot waves at Jaws. Go now, go get to Google and get some of that paddle-in juice of Ian and pals (Makua, Doz, etc). What's real exciting about the footage is how different the wave looks. Ian and co are actually surfing in the pocket.

And Jaws, far from being the monstrous semi-burger it appeared for so many years as strapped guys and gals quasi-faded but mostly rode the shoulder for all it was worth, is actually a rifling almost point-like right-hander.

I ain't saying, I ain't suggesting, you dive headlong into that kind of battle. But find yourself a big board. And be ready to ride it. It's a helluva feeling.