South Bay Boardriders host Big Wave Challenge
by Tom Horton
“You now how it is when the horizon goes dark,” Derek Levy said in recalling the 25-foot wave he caught at the Redondo Breakwall on Jan. 16 of this year. “The horizon went dark. I saw a wave start to feather at the bend in the Breakwall. I started paddling to get past it. It was a close out and I didn’t have any intention of taking off.
“But I heard Randy Meistrell and Michael Luhrsen screaming, ‘Go.’ I turned and burned. I made the drop and got halfway back up the face. Then it closed out and I straightened out for the beach But I still got pounded,” Levy recalled.
The wave earned Levy The 2018 South Bay Boardriders Club Big Wave Challenge award.
The club established the Big Wave Challenge in 2011 to recognize a select group of surfers who chase big waves. Waves must be at least “Triple Overhead” and caught between Indicator in Palos Verdes and Dockweiler State Beach in El Segundo. The contest period runs from Nov. 1 through March 31. The ride must be documented by a photo or video.
As part of the Big Wave Challenge, the club also presents awards for the Wipeout of the Year, Grom Hardest Charger Award and the Howard Eddy Memorial Award, presented to an individual who unselfishly gives back to the surfing community.
Big Wave Challenge Awardees
Winter 2011-2012: Matty Mohagen at Hammerland. Photo by Jeff Farsai.
Winter of 2012-2013: Dan Connell at the Redondo Beach Breakwall. Photo by Randy Ruby.
Winter of 2013-2014: Alex Gray at Burnout. Photo by Bryce Lowe-White.
Winter 2014-2015: No award due to swells not reaching triple overhead.
Winter of 2015-2016: Angelo Luhrsen at the Redondo Beach Breakwall. Photo by Charlie Scholz.
Winter of 2016-2017: Tracey Meistrell at the Redondo Beach Breakwall. Photo by Tom Kampas. SBBC