Laird Hamilton surfing
@Courtesy Photos by Oxbow
However, it was Hamilton's death-defying drop into Tahiti's Teahupo'o break on the morning of August 17, 2000 which became the benchmark in his career and his life, and cemented his reputation as the greatest big wave surfer of all time. A wipeout in Teahupo'o, a particularly hazardous shallow-water reefbreak in southeast Tahiti, means almost certain death. At Teahupo'o, Hamilton dropped into what is widely considered to be the most dangerous wave ever ridden.
His ride there is known by surfers worldwide simply as 'The Wave',
and a shot of him riding The Wave made the cover of Surfer magazine, accompanied by the caption: "oh my god...". Afterwards even Hamilton admitted that even he was pushing himself to the "max, max, max, max". Hamilton is now widely regarded as the best of the best at big wave surfing, regularly surfing swells of 35 feet (11 m) tall, and moving at speeds in excess of 30 miles (48 km) an hour and successfully riding other waves of up to 70 feet (21 m) high, at up to 50 mph (80 km/h).
He has often been credited for being able to conquer such enormous 'big wave' surf because of his exceptional physical conditioning and stature. At 6'3" (1.90m) and 220 pounds (102kg) he is able to take on larger waves which many smaller surfers could not physically handle.
In February 2008 Laird joined the board of directors of H2O Audio, a watersports music company in San Diego California. Laird will help H2O Audio guide its brand and develop its next generation of waterproof MP3 cases and waterproof headphones. He had used H2O Audio products on many of his long distance paddling endeavors before joining the company.
Laird Hamilton surfing:
He was previously married to Maria. They had a daughter, Izabella, in 1995.
On November 30, 1997, Hamilton married model and pro volleyball athlete Gabrielle Reece. They have two children together, daughters Reece Viola Hamilton (born in October 2003), and Brody Jo Hamilton (born January 1, 2008 in Hawaii), weighing 8lbs 2ozs.
Hamilton and wife Gabrielle are said to be part of the Malibu Mob, a celebrity group in the same vein as the Brat Pack. Other notable Malibu Mob members include Chris Chelios, John Cusack, John C. McGinley, Tony Danza, and tennis star John McEnroe.
Laird Hamilton surfing career:
Selected TV/film appearances
Hamilton appeared in the 2004 documentary Riding Giants about surfing and the opening sequence of the 2002 James Bond movie Die Another Day, as Pierce Brosnan's big-wave surfing double. He also appears in Waterworld, as Kevin Costner's stunt double in numerous water scenes. During the making of "Waterworld", Laird Hamilton surfing, who had been commuting to the set via jet-ski, was lost at sea when his jet-ski ran out of fuel between Maui and the Big Island. He drifted for many hours before being spotted by a Coast Guard plane and rescued; when the abandoned jet-ski washed up on shore on the island of Lanai, he went over to fetch it and drove it back home again.
In October 2006, Hamilton and another legendary waterman, Dave Kalama, biked and paddled the entire Hawaiian Island chain - more than 450 miles - in a week. The feat was featured on Don King's film A Beautiful Son in support of those afflicted with autism.
In 2007, Laird Hamilton surfing, along with his wife Gabrielle Reece,
appeared in the ABC reality television series Fast Cars and Superstars: The Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race, featuring a dozen celebrities in a stock car racing competition. In the first round of competition, Hamilton matched up against tennis star Serena Williams and former NFL quarterback John Elway. Hamilton was eliminated in episode 5.
He has appeared in the television show Iconoclasts with Eddie Vedder from the popular American rock band Pearl Jam.
Footage of Laird Hamilton surfing is used on the video for "Dayvan Cowboy" from Boards of Canada.