WASHINGTON-BASED KAYAKER and Red Bull Athlete Tao Berman announced three years ago that he was designing a boat for big-wave surfing and attempting to set a new record for the largest ocean wave ever surfed in a kayak.
Recently he set the record; in the footage above, you can see Tao getting towed into some really clean 40+ foot faces at Nellscott Reef, an open ocean wave a mile off the coast of Oregon.
One interesting and slightly discordant note is that Tao is not really a member of the surf-kayak community, but a whitewater boater who has built a (sweet) career around high-profile, media-generating events, and his hyper-charging, motivational personality.
I’m not trying to belittle his accomplishment in any way — his records for vertical feet descent and waterfall runs in the late 90s and early 2000s stand for themselves — but it’s worth pointing out that surf kayaking has its own pioneers and heroes pushing limits of the sport which are every bit as progressive as this and also deserving of attention.
Tao announced this big wave as his latest project, and now that it’s complete, has announced his retirement from paddling.