Well it’s been a few weeks now since the XXL Awards and your big win. Has it settled in that you and your partner Mark Anderson scored the biggest wave of the season and a fat check to go along with it?
Dan: It is just now hitting me. The same night of the awards, I was up all night. At 4 a.m. the following day, I drove to LAX to catch a flight to Mexico so I could spend some time with my wife. I was really out of touch the whole time I was down there and I sort of missed out on all the buzz. When I got back a few days ago it kind of hit me, with all my friends congratulating me.
Tell us in detail about that wave and what happened to you after you had to straighten out.
There where a lot of teams sitting too far outside and Mark Anderson and I where kind of sitting closer inside. That wave really swung wide from the channel than shifted back to the deep peak. There where 2 other teams trying to jockey for position. Mark had to hold his ground and mussel them out. I think we ended up approaching the wave deeper than we should have because of that.
I remember he was driving really fast on that one and when I let go of the rope it felt like I was going faster than I had ever gone. The bump and cross chop was really bad on that wave. I couldn't seem to find a smooth spot to get a turn off anywhere on the wave and it seemed like there where a number of smaller waves within the bigger wave. It was a strange feeling going that fast and not being able to control my little 6’ board which only weighed 10 lbs. By the time I approached the last section I was about as deep as I've ever been and I had lost most of my speed because of the bumps.
One more good turn and I could have pulled up into the inside barrel, but I just couldn't get there, so I was forced to straighten out. I tried to stay on my feet as long as possible to avoid the bulk of the explosion, but it took me down kind of quick. When your being trashed that bad I think your brain shuts down, so I don't remember that much of the beating. I went into my normal relaxed mode and of course the whole time your just waiting for the monster to pass over.
When I came up, I felt pretty good and was able to get another breath seconds before the next wave hit me. That one was just as bad as the first one and seemed to hold me down just as long but at no time was I short of air. When I came up, Seirra Emery was right there to grab my arm and pull me onto his sled. “Thanks buddy!” I was pretty close to the rocks.
They got my board right away, which was a good thing and I thought I was back out for more. Then I felt my ankle starting to hurt and that’s when it started to swell up like the size of a softball. I remember on the drive down from Lahina with Mark, I had asked if he had a screw driver to adjust my new foot and heel straps on that brand new back up board, but he didn't have one. I think what happened was my back foot came out of the strap right away on the first explosion and my front foot did not. The board wrenched and ended up fracturing my left ankle. Basically, I caught the wave of my life, paid the price, couldn’t surf for five weeks after that session and then got rewarded for it. My injury heeled up just fine and I'm back in action.
December 15th, was a day that most won’t forget including myself. What was it like for you seeing so many teams, heli’s, photogs and observers in the water and lineup?
There where definitely more boats then I can remember on past big days. I remember times during the day when it just seemed really dangerous with so many teams amping to catch waves. I guess you just have to drive smarter and more aggressive.
You and Mark have been towing together now for a few years, how stoked is he on the whole idea of pulling the top prize with you this year?
Mark is one of those guys that will tell you exactly how he is feeling and trust me he his stoked out of his mind on the whole thing.
So it’s safe to say that you are splitting the prize money with him?
I never even gave it a second thought. Mark is very deserving of receiving half of the check. You don't catch a wave like that with out a great partner.
You used to tow with Ken Bradshaw for many years and then you guys just kind of started towing with new partners. Has he called to congratulate you and Mark?
No not yet. He's been off snowboarding in Cali. Ken and I are on really good terms. When I spoke to him before the award’s he sounded sincerely happy for us being in the finals.
At 48 years old, you and Pete Cabrinha have truly raised the bar for those surfers in their mid to late 40’s. What are you doing to stay in shape and keep a strong mental attitude?
I believe the fact that I kite board all the time has kept me in great shape. Flying through the air going extremely fast on a small board across the water is a good cross training. When it's not windy and there's no surf I hit the gym a couple days a week. One hour of cardio and isolated muscle training.
When do you think the time will come that you feel you might need to slow down and not push it so hard in giant surf?
That's one of those tuff questions you may or may not know the answer until that day comes. I feel I have at least 5 more good years of competitive surfing left in me. A lot of big wave riding is your mental state of mind. Keeping that sharp and just staying in the game each year will help extend or slow down that process.
How do you feel the level of towsurfing performance has changed over the past few years?
The board equipment has been refined quite a bit these past few years which has helped guys step it up a notch. Now with Billabong offering $1,000.00 a foot for the biggest wave ridden, your going see guys throw themselves into things they may not usually surf.
What is the magic towboard for you when surfing big Peahi?
I ride a 6-0 in just about everything. It's about 15-3/4 wide. I have different 6-0s with different weight for different wind conditions. A normal day at Peahi with the normal bumpy water conditions I'm riding a board that weighs about 15 lbs.
So I understand that you are getting married soon. Tell us about the lucky woman.
I meet her in Switzerland 4 years ago on a snow boarding trip. She's an amazing women. She grew up skiing competitively in the Swiss Alps and she also loves the ocean. I've been giving her kite boarding lessons and we really click. We were married this past February in St.Moritz, Switzerland.
Would you like to have children someday?
Sure, I might be nuts but maybe in few years. I think it might be a great experience.
How’s your movie project coming along?
It's still pushing forward. It's really difficult to produce a good movie. I have been financing it myself and it's been a struggle. We just recently got word that we have some money people coming on board, so that will help.
History tells us the "biggest wave ever surfed" was Ken Bradshaw on 1-28-98 at Log Cabins, and the only person who saw that famous ride UP CLOSE was you. Have you seen any other waves ridden that were as big or bigger?
Ken’s wave that day in 1998 at outside Log Cabins was the biggest wave I had seen up to point of my tow-surfing big waves. It was close to an 80 foot face for sure. Since then, I've seen Laird catch a left on Maui that was at least that big on Jan. 10th 2004 and also one on Dec. 15th 2004. Weather Laird’s waves were bigger than Ken’s? Couldn’t tell you.
You are also an avid kiter. How do you like the cross training?
Kite surfing is the bomb. I don't think I will ever get tired of that sport. It' is very taxing on your body and forces you to be in good shape. We've taken the sport into big waves and that's like surfing in outer space. Going 35 m.p.h. on a small board and flying 40 feet in the air is about the best training you can ask for. What doesn't kill you will make you stronger.
Congrats again to you and Mark for your big win this year!
Thanks for the support E and it was great to see you again and hang with the boys. If you would like to e-mail Dan: DanMoore@Towsurfer.com