Thirdly. Big wave riding is an individual sport. However staying alive in big waves, is a team sport. Learn CPR before you tackle big waves. Never, ever surf big waves alone. Surf alone, die alone.
Fourth, practice in small waves. Ride a long board in small waves and paddle your gun on flat days. You need to be extremely comfortable on your blade by the time you enter the dragons lair. That said, I’ve seen countless good surfers killing it in bigger waves until they take a heavy beating and never go back again.
Fitness is only 5th on my list because people use it as an excuse NOT to ride big waves. They are always waiting for that day when they are “fit enough.” That day never comes. Fitness is vital, but it’s not what makes a blue blood.
I have mentored a handful of guys over the years. Fabian Campagnolo is one of them.
He was only 17 when he took his first 20 foot wave on the head.
I knew that if he was able to paddle back out again, then his blood would soon start to run blue.
He paddled back out laughing.