Grab your board, apply your sunscreen, and get ready to find the perfect wave – re-visit the science of big wave surfing featuring Chuck Nice, Gary O’Reilly, NASA oceanographer Bill Patzert and pro surfer and the first female Big Wave World Champion, Paige Alms.Don’t miss an episode of Playing with Science. Please subscribe to our channels on:Apple Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/playing-with-science/id1198280360TuneIn: https://tunein.com/podcasts/Science-Podcasts/Playing-with-Science-p952100/GooglePlay Music: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/Iimke5bwpoh2nb25swchmw6kzjqSoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/startalk_playing-with-scienceStitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/startalk/playing-with-scienceNOTE: StarTalk All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: https://www.startalkradio.net/all-access/surfs-up-the-big-waves-repeat/Photo Credit: Erik Aeder, courtesy of www.paigealms.com
See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Skip the commercials support star talk on patriarch to listen to every episode, commercial, free. I am the other s place of your personal astrophysicist. The startup network is pleased to present to you a new issue. Where the universe and sports and now you're camps at nice. I M going away and we are the whole stop playing with science. Already put it.
Very by heavy party like today we had the debate and we are so we may shoot the po we might have to bio. We will probably get mullet and if you understand any that do then, Oh Barney hurdle poseur, the air, and helping us stay away from the gnarly stuff and steer us to the serious science of the big waves is bill pads oceanographer at NASA and, of course, supercool surfer from California. Then we go all pro with professional surfer and big wave champion page arms
who is based in Maui. I don't like are already pool right thereof, few sites in sport that as awesome as seeing surf attack on the big waves. Make that huge descent, and then emerge through the balance. It is breathtaking and possibly the most fun you can have with physics, and when I say awesome, I don't mean it in that cliche by I actually really mean it is awesome It is it's a beautiful thing to behold to wife, somebody drop it. And right away that it shoot the curl and come out at the end of that barrel and stand up. It really looks like a human being triumphing over the entire ocean. Take that mother nature opiates, rarely because we don't like to upset her. That's for sure she does have a temp all right. Let's get up to our first guess: Joey build TAT, sir.
Absolutely yes, research, scientist and oceanographer at NASA and a former surfer I don't know, should I say former will welcome to do so, and do you still surf my friend Ok, I gotta Ben should have ethnic and found her back then too much time in a classroom got my pay each day. Bird I've been serving now for over fifty years later, Starfleet take a bouser lie. Venus at is amazed at us. A lifelong surfing career really You seem to have unique approach on the sport of surfing being ocean has it been an advance to have this I'll call inside knowledge of the oceans. As regards to getting the best out of your surfing. Why are the answer that it of is yes now you know it, It's one thing to know the physics, but it's
a thing to be a great surfer. All world class athletes either you haven't you doubt and there I definitely do not have it Modest EAST: we appreciate some modesty well, but the big. What would be the biggest wave you actually claim to have sir. Well, you know back in the sixties, narrowly seventies. I lived in Hawaii hours, graduate school or the or Hawaiian there schedule was Europe before dawn emphasis was up, for the north are in order he's a sunset. Beecher MECCA ha, that's right you know I can remember paddling out and all of a sudden finding myself looking down the face of a twenty five for re up and thinking, what the hell am. I doing here I therefore lay met almost met my maker, but you know I was eating. It was accelerating.
And I actually dropped in a wiped out, and that was it of. Was that the extent of your big at something career right there, you going you the sunset Beach predawn made me think because we're gonna get onto where we find the biggest, where we find the biggest waves in the world, but you said all of a sudden instantly, a twenty five foot there's pops up, now, there's got to be a reason why all of a sudden, a wave that wasn't there is there in an instant Well, you know. The great waves in the world are really a question of where the great storms about wage bill he's great waves as they travel across the world's oceans. In California, when it comes to mind, is the great maverick swell north to San Francisco. Were waves reach fifty he LAO then doubly separates the girls from the women and boys from the man.
And, of course, applies very famous May at bay why why may vary? Clauses are on a huge day spectacular. Fifty two he fought waves, there's another different places: Tahiti South. Yeah Arctic Austrian, is famous for its big waves, Larry and gray waves that form offshore arrived from the continent that are totally phenomenal. Sir, were there are these unique locations around the world and then from up from the standpoint of ocean atrophy, what cause is the waves to form. While you know they're all kinds, simply it's the wind blowing across the sea surface developed these waves now for a large waves. There are three factors: a great storm in the North Pacific.
How long that storm blurs in content? is to develop the strength Storm, he also times you get wins a hundred two hundred miles an hour, allow whoops and then how large area so that's the duration, the strength and the fat of the storm. Now course with the Euro, NASA with the advent of satellite technology We monitor these storms all over the world we can watch them develop, strengthen See how long they last like what the giant hurricanes and using models we can actually forecast. How large and when these giant waves will arrive at various low patients across the planet? why? So you your phone rings or you get an email from basically all the top surface. The world who want to write the big stuff. Oh yes, sir. These guys,
it definitely tuned in two ways forecasting casting websites but you know you can get on your Iphone and look at where the giant waves are going to arrive, whether its job before near to Haiti, Australia, These waves of the great what I called the great world travellers They tried all away from the southern Ocean around Antarctica. Oliver California and weaken forecast these raise almost we could have a time. Well, That's a surfers dream. You have a whole week to get there and and and ever disappointed to you ever like you know. You're. Looking at thirty footers and forty footers arising and end up within a five footers, does that ever happened? oh yeah, of course you know like all great forecasters they blow Forecast but tat what they these models,
What they do is they take the information from these great storms. Defeated in the models and then at different locations across the planet. They actually have these boys out in the ocean and measure the waves answer you can update the model, the verify it cool man. So let me ask you: this is switching gears just a little bit Do you being a surfer? What makes a good wave Well, you know these great storms they generate waves many wavelengths from you a few inches or a few centimetres to waves that have through your four hundred of Wavelength thing about waves? Is that depending on the wavelength the length between the peaks and a big swell the longer wavelengths travel faster and sold
first, the waves to arrive from a giant storm, are usually these varies smooth long period waves right. The precursors and, of course these are the waves that servers love you essentially anywhere between fifteen and twenty five seconds between the peaks in it. Arm is large enough. These great swell- US can generate waves anywhere between ten twenty five, five. Thirty, even forty for it and, of course the rail servers, the guys that an ass, they left the sport. These are the ways they love their smooth. One large wavelength, but That is interesting that ways the longer waves travel faster and saw the usually: there are the first to arrive fall.
Next day, usually by war, would call storms which is mixed, sir, for voluntary lacks yeah. Ok, many servers call slop slop yeah. What do you want, or these long period waves better than first arriving waves? Gotcha, it's a small window of opportunity. If it's only going to last a day or so yes, the You know that the best waves are. Usually then one day and you can and you could travel for the way round the world or further just While we are on the road I forecasted waves. These way Of course, I call them right. Travellers travel across will recall great circles, which is the shortest distance. Yes from one place to another, but I've seen great storms in the Indian Ocean and More than a week later, they arrive on the cost of California.
And so these are truly world travellers LAO So why is it that the waves is it just a matter of a unless there are disrupted? They will continue. Travel around the world as long as they don't encounter any other force to to stop them from being that wave. Oh, yes, exactly! There are cases, for instance, the great a different kind of a way of is a scenario where yeah and some of these rights in army waves that were generated in the indian Ocean? these are truly right even in the Atlantic, and that is a truly right right, we're all travellers, that is a man, then that is amazing that one single we could Traverse traversed the entire. Almost the whole planet Thing thing is that sometimes you get giant storms in the northern hemisphere and joy. Storms in the southern hemisphere, hemisphere
at the same time, and they can essentially merge and create even larger raves, only job rebellious, scaring me glaringly bailed. Now I like that waves sex, Nessler waves, that's happened and received a naive prayer hate. You just made the ocean very sexy, my friend, or Bill. Why we hope chuck down, we are going to take a short break when we come back more with bill pets, NASA oceanographer and lifelong surface. Stick around Adam more none of that more reviews about surfing and the waves in the oceans, haste our top Vance start what you're doing and repeat after me
our universe, is filled with secrets and mysteries, leaving us with many questions to be answered find ourselves searching for those answers as the very fabric of space science and society are converging here for the first time these worlds collide, the words by heart. Now you can wear them, introducing the newest start, talk, t shirt and poster available. Sclusively online at the start, talks store just click on shop at start radio, dot net and order you a t, shirt or poster today.
Welcome back, I'm go you're writing an entrepreneur, and this, of course, is playing with science. But where a little bit to serve action thrown in talking surfing and wave signs, but NASA oceanographer built at that, and we like will cause he's unlocked quantity secrets. Yours, you know we're we're not giving him, as do it's actually doktor passports. No, no, whereas we both did you know, I just wanted to make sure that people know that bill is a phd we're not just talking to you now, some guy who who hangs loose on the beach and no some servant tat this man, all basis covered, ok bill get into a little bit of ocean floor. And how that can create the mob.
Still waves that we see from time to time in certain places around the globe. It's a you were talking about Gary earlier off of air. Gary was talking about his place in Portugal, yet Portugal's not possibly really on the map of the big wave sort of thinking but it has a unique set of circumstances under that under the sea or women sing that some. But I won't, doktor bill? Please explain why not on the West coast of Portugal is so special to the world of serving, in particular, big waves. Earlier we talk a little bit about how these giant waves are generated by these giant storms. The duration, the thatch and then Are they travelled across the planet of course, when they approached because line. There are many different kinds of coastline, but the waves?
essentially when they start to feel the ocean bottom so an hour Talking about geology, yeah right is that the bottom of the wave will get cut out from underneath like having your legs cut out from underneath you Top of the wave moves faster, this can happen over many different kinds of autobiographies can happen over, for instance, When you have ocean canyons that come off shore or ridges on both sides, the canyon as the way Use it you set. These unique Keyser waves, another kind of way are the ways a break in the Pacific like of Hawaii Tahiti, where they hit very rapidly array face. Yeah it is phenomenal. Raves which create these heavy heavy tubes that are so very photogenic, yes
You know often Naser in Portugal. There is a canyon and assent It focuses the wave energy in such a way that giant either south at last, our north Atlantic storms, as they approach the cost, will create these gigantic waves If I remember correctly, I think that too first wave it's never been written. Was that no easier off the coast of Portugal, I forget the channel. The Arab Mcnamara, I think, was seventy four wave the estimated ride, seventy often easier rise. Seventy eight feet are totally phenomenal. Video an end. And how does it work what provisions made for his family, their data,
It do anything to help his family after he was taken from us. This young man who served the seventy eight foot wave. He has spoken, like a true Grammy man. Labour. Thank you feel like you. A lot of people have been urged serving in our including myself. We all made mistake here. It's no really there's this guy, but now many fatalities. No, no, no that's! Why can joke like that because it would really is it then, and I'm sure he didn't I he didn't yeah. So what is success when you drop in on a seventy eight foot wave indeed show that and come out and that it does that make it success. If you wipe all? Is it still considered riding the wave? What is considered success when you're done shopping in on a giant wave like that. Personally, is being on the beach
That kind of away, I consider that success is the other you Don T, the men and women who live for these giant waves course it's a drop in you now but I can tell you that I have to pay their way and make it out the other end. Rather, but the relative right they get toad in, because you can't paddle. Can I ask, as these waves aren't moving at seven eight miles an hour they moving closer to maybe twenty five miles around? Well, you know that sir, you learn Hamilton. I essentially a pioneer, these giant raves. Remember the longer the wavelength, the faster, the way, Grahame, the real trick, the physics. Large way, writing is to be able. The tat of fast enough get into that way right, and some of these waves urges to power, I want to rapid
it's all learn Hamilton. Pioneered this where they tell you in where the speedboat yap worse, he and death? actually build enough maasai. Where you can catch up with the wave and drop off the look right. So there you know, that's really State of the art now for I'm purists, as nodded optimal. Ah, I've seen some a powerful servers actually can drop into. What are they servers have to be towed into but death, that changed big waves serpent another Darwin air by Hamilton and his buddies are. So if I'm, because I'm now all pro sofa just because I've spoken to you have absorbed all of that talent, If I'm going to ride a vertical face of a wave sixty seventy foot high, what sort of thing
fix, is keeping me and my scrawny backside on this board as I did. And what is keeping their board on that way, because when you look at some of these guys, like like Jerry, said it's almost like a vertical drop. I it is almost a vertical drop, while the physics A simple is: is there two things are working on a server. One is gravity which tends to want Dump you into the water and the other is buoyancy which is your board, which keep you on top of the wave. Of course, it's dance when you're on that war is out to use the gravity against the buoyancy. Moving up and down the board or I You stay in the wave, on the board, and if you have to for instance, switching from one side of the board or from the front of the board of the back of the board, and so
This is the great dance that our great surfers master so, They learn to change the centre of gravity on the board by this little dance that you say rather left bridle backwards and forwards exactly arising. And so the course with red like Lycra great athletes. This becomes on intuitive, yet is it happens so rapidly so rapidly, but This is any you can watch out people when they write these giant raise is that such a high velocity. With so much water overhead in some, danger, if you get wiped out They maintain their cool and manoeuvre that board across the face of a fifty four wave. Do you know that a one of the very great
athletic feeds. I think, of any sport. Speed big waves. Could you surf astronomy, because when you look when you look at a salami like, Terrible one that we saw, what was it aren't? in the indian Ocean in illegal in the indian Ocean. When you lie, Did the resorts where this, where the wave came, and it didn't really look like like a surfing wave, it just look like rising water like relentless, unrelenting, rising water, so The question is: is that how a salami works or could you actually serve us? An army It's an army is usually caused by a large scale, displacement, usually european, line in the ocean like it? earthquake or something right? when waves are at start they are sent go from tat the bottom song, open ocean,
The tsunami is travelling at about five hundred miles an hour I'll get out in our dude. Does jet airplanes beats me and it's all here, you know a few inches high in the open ocean river ass. It approaches the coastline and it starts, I feel the bottom. Yes, that way, slow down from five hundred miles an hour But when it comes to shore, it's a fifty to seventy five miles an hour. So that's three times faster than a wind wave. Now that it's a wall of water, in a whereas a wind wave, my have a period between wave peaks of twenty twenty five seconds right. What's your not me has a period of twenty thirty minutes, so it's never you coming ashore, it's coming ashore.
Miles an hour continuously for five minutes. Oh, my goodness! So that's a tremendous amount of power, answer. You know that's a great myth. You run a surface or nami. Ok, that's so it you know! That's what you hear about when you hear people talk about anomalies is like dude. I'm gonna go out and get a shred of like you say it's just! That's all for a fact that that this never gonna happen to happen. They are all wrong. The prisoners around us That was amazing because you are lifelong surfer bill and you are a doctor an for at NASA. What are you surf tips if you have to give us one or two top serve tips? What would they be The most important one is you sunscreen smile. Smart, move! There really is a doctor. He really has a dog.
Putting my dermatologists kids through college did. I want you to have a lot more sense, greener. I pray, pray and, I would have been easier on my knees and my shoulders are absolute. Like all right, aging athletes. You know my the parts are all wearing out now and so what I Before now, as I like, and I said, one day, I'm my body barred her. Ok, let's just s dream there are plenty of sense, green and enjoy the buggy board, that's unless an outright that advice,
You guys are still young and good luck to you. No sir, you know well look about zero sold a matter of opinion. I gotta say over to ain't bad right here. They'll explain an absolute pleasure to have you on board sang a man who was really funny talking about this stuff. I learn some stuff too, which is awesome. Unlocking the science behind, in particular the physics behind surfing, is being really quite an eye opener. So developments from NASA as an oceanographer doktor bill? Thank you so much as there is under the pledges ours as otherwise we are going to take a break, but please don't go away. You ve The science now stick around and find out what it's like to ride. Wage with the first female big way
world champion surfer, Paige Alms, it won't get any better than going to stick around. So you shortly. welcome back I'm getting a rainy, and I'm just nice, and this, of course, is playing the signs end today. As you know, because you ve been listening, all the way through is surfing and the big waves bill, Pat search, is giving us all of the data knowledge about why how where big waves go and come from, but really is
only one thing we need, and that is what it's like to be on a board on a big waves and that we go to arms who is not just a surfer she's, a professional surfer, but not just a professional services is the twenty. Sixteen women's big wife World Champion and, yes, page welcome to private science. I thanks May I wish you also says I come here you if I'm not mistaken, were the first female surf ever to barrel and jewels. How long ago was that that is almost three years.
What an incredible moment, how, when you emerge from the barrel, what were you a media emotions? I was incomplete shock that it actually happen. I had been dreaming about that way and that moment a very long time and it was almost something kind of far fetched at the time I've been watching my friend to gather all the dogs quite often and analyzing, what do in the waves that they choose and it just popped up and came to me, and I knew right when the wave looked at me that it was the one and but I wanted. I read once you barrel your nose. Drove the note of your bore drove itself into the face of the wave now
It's gotta be a reason why that's a good thing, because I'm thinking I'm trying to get away from this war of water personally, so please explain how that kind of works were all it's not just the no. That's all rail line the board. I was writing a nine pour in sport, which was about what shorter than why ninety per cent of the line up goes on, Did you go there? Boy? Did you choose that when you obviously bucking the trend, it's what I felt comfortable on and it's a different or design that my boyfriend and I have been working on these May. My shapers It's basically a shorter, wider board, but basically made for. Using the rail line of the board to China. We say knife into the water which is basically cutting into the water.
There at high speeds you make him. You serve a dude page, I'm learning the language had really it's a more technical way of writing big lives than the standard hang on and ride the wave straight and go to the ball them. Its basic. Taking riding a short and doing this technical surfing that we do on smaller waves and taking it into a big web server himself? Basically, I just wrote a smaller board that. It was really clean and glassy, and that does not happen very often jaws, usually there's a lotta win them bump on the face of the waves that wave in particular. Let me- and I knew I would say easier than mouth and basically I describe it. As the knows my board pulling me down the faith, who gave me a momentum and speed the bottom Herman come up him for this.
Happen? Well, it's incredible. Has your style shape length of board become the, Have more surface picked it up, or is it just something that works for you or there's? Quite a few of us writing shorter boards out there. I still like the jaws contest last winter Was really windy and really challenging, and I ended up taking out my ten for which is board that I've written a lot. There are others, a time and a place where certain equipment like skiing or snowboarding. You choose you're you're boards and near tools for the day in the can, actions and for sure there's a lot more people going shorter. Just because the curvature of the way of and how steep the take off is a certain radius only fits in that curve. So, if you're going on well but board on the way
this doesn't fit in the curvature of the way you pose the signs on average, USA, you're you're. So damn you do you study the physics of waves. Do so for surfers. Do that or is it something that's more intuitive because it's like you know you you figure it out because you are experiencing little bit of both like for sure. I know quite a lot about why wave break and where and all of that, but definitely I'd, say I would lean more towards just the feeling of being in the ocean. The more time you spend out in the water. It almost becomes. Second, nature like it's not even a thought process, rather than just an action of knowing when a wave is coming or where to be. It's not oh, my gosh in the wrong spot or do I need to be more this way you don't even about it you just still suffer sure. It's definitely more of an intuitive thing. Have you ever had any real bad boy on a big? I I've seen footage of you so dumb,
descending on your back, so that in the face of war, Iraq WAR is a rather large wave, yeah fur, definitely white. Bats are kind of all. Apart surfing and general line, one ear teaching a friend how to surf and they're kind of at the stage where their feeling a little bit soccer
just because they are following all the time and people are looking at the moment. We follow the time as professional sports can put the normal, but in big waves surfing it, something that I try to avoid at all costs. I've had plenty of sessions or have gone out and written for five, really good waves in the course of a few hours and not fallen and not taken any wipeout or waves on the head and they ve been very successful, but then a lot of those wipeout. You learn things that you wouldn't learn from, if you didn't have them so far, the like I've had broken my shoulder in Mexico in a big way. Hudson them really bad wipe out and injuries here, Jaws but, like I said, they're all learning, there ain't for them. If you're not pushing it, then you're gonna, playing it safe and must not usually how I like to do is really to regulate at an crazy mooted the most culture we talked about. The drivers said: if you
When the red zone, you not racing right, similar similar reproach him attitude, yeah surfers those. And to be I mean you guys. Are you weren't here, but said earlier in the show. I did it once, and that was enough because dragged along the bottom of the ocean and then come up in your all. You have Brave you feel, like somebody tried to water board, you like nature, try it'll water board- you you now major hates me? I just tried to kill me and then you guys just get back on a paddle out again, like you did so you're a little crazy, but At the same time, there is a real zen quality that you got
is all seem to have about. You is not because you're always freezing impending death will not. All of my surpluses are extremely dangerous. After talking with you guys, I'm gonna go get no water and it's probably only need a waste high. So it's really small but yeah pressure in the big wave world. Everyone that's riding bigwigs, does have a little bit of a screw Louis for sure you have to have that little bit of little bit crazy nights. I guess, but I like to say that its calculated and like I'm not just like wipe out for her happen, but it's one out of hand. You know like most of my way that I took the paddle for
try to ride I usually make so it's it's all part of it like the love for the ocean, is what drives you and being in the water and writing these waves. You don't get any other feeling like that. You're writing with moving mountains is basically Wanna Granulated, describe it s very poetic. We we will soon reach a to bit there's a place in Portugal, Nazare where the monster really do rise out of the deep and that they can get up. A hundred foot high. Have you ever had the desire to think I've gotta go there and do that looks like a beautiful place? The wave itself was very challenging and scary. It's not a picturesque way more about writing the biggest wave of your life I'd said ninety five percent of waves that are big waves that are written there are
Plato, surfing, though you have a driver that is in charge of pudding, you on these waves and picking you up and rescuing you from harm's way and you're one hundred percent, relying on your driver. To put you in the position on a wave to write and certainly so want to make you want to make sure that your relationship with him is definitely good standing before you go out there here for sure, you're holding onto a tower out like a fifteen twenty feet, long and relax, I've already but young spot, and then you go and you have enough speed and you're in the right position
you just send it a little bit right then paddle, circling where you're on a board, that's probably or five times in size as far as volume and you're lying one hundred percent on yourself and all of the lessons that mother nature is taught you in the past to position yourself and be in the right place at the right time and the pot earlier hard out to catches. Waves are a little bit different, you're lying and someone else and a machine napoleon to lose. You drive and what happened. Mulatter Nazarene bits, absolutely insane the way vistas of her mother in a different type of wave and I'm sure at some point. I will end up there, but right now, I'm really the furthest behind where I'm trying to make my markets pretty cold night before we have to let you go through to advice for young surface, particularly
the young female surface coming through and wanting to be the new pay Johns Come on. You know, they're out there yeah for sure I'd say it's something that you truly love doing then pursue it and give it all worked, really hard hard your goals and just believe that anything is possible and put your mind to it in your heart to add and work as hard as you can and then you can achieve anything very inspiration. I'd tell you, as a young girl, high Michael surfing this weekend, good at another. One to the list pages been an absolute pleasure. Thank you. I'm an we wish you well on the water whenever my tiny gonna their next, which is in about ten minutes time. By sounds of it did, I still say angry still say: hang loose not really not really do they still do the finger from Pinky Wiggle shop as their though
So that's that's still call bunny but hang loose dog. You can't yeah dated Emma loaded. I guess I would have liked find somebody a moon, doggie, and a page will will talk to him afterwards pleasure you take it easy and it's been a thrill to have another female world champion, o Brien would science. Thank you so much time. You're welcome MRS Paine a big wife surfing special with professional vote. Big waves of the page and, of course, potion over massive build pets. Hope you enjoy. It will be putting more playing with science coming up very finishing, like down on my old doktor organs,.
We should listen. The star talk, commercial, free, joint star talk on patriarch for as little as five dollars per month and the ads will disappear. Learn more at patriarch dot com, slash star talk, radio
Transcript generated on 2020-01-19.