The Bodacious and the Beautiful: the aerial view of Banzai’s massive waves

While I might not be a surfer, I sure do love waves. And I am loving this footage of the incredible waves at Banzai pipeline on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. These beautiful and unique movies were shot by Eric Sherman who used a flying drone to get the unique aerial perspective. Usually, all we ever get to see are surfers flying down the face of the wave. In these shots you can see the entire life cycle of the wave from curl to crash.

Each winter, atmospheric storms in the North Pacific churn the ocean sending huge waves southward. When these energetic waves reach the shallow reefs of Oahu’s North Shore, they steepen so fast that wave crest over takes the wave trough creating the beautiful curls seen in the video above. Oceanographers can even predict when these waves occur, combining theoretical surface wave physics and atmospheric data to create the NOAA WaveWatch II Model. Wavewatch was originally developed for ships traversing the oceans. Surfers have also adopted this technology, but instead of avoiding these waves, they actively hunt them out.  Because when science can help surfers find that truly perfect wave, it sure is a beautiful thing.

Wavewatch implores your ship to stay out of the North Pacific, but tells Hawaii to grab their surfboards.

Kim Martini (85 Posts)

Kim is a Physical Oceanographer at the Joint Institute for the Study of Atmosphere and Ocean at the University of Washington. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Washington in 2010. Her goal in life is to throw expensive s**t in the ocean. When not at sea, she uses observations from moored, satellite and land-based instruments to understand the pathways that wind and tidal energy take from large (internal tides) to small scales (turbulence).





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3 comments on “The Bodacious and the Beautiful: the aerial view of Banzai’s massive waves
  1. That is gorgeous, thanks for posting. You also get a nice view of the reefs lurking a few feet below the surfers.

  2. Awesome. I had never noticed the puff of spray that is ejected out of the curl towards the end of the collapse. It’s best seen from overhead

  3. The PUFF OF SPRAY is called a ‘plunging breaker’.

    A Surfer’s ultimate ride is to be spit out of a waves tube in this manner.

    The sensation cannot be described to non- surfers

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