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Cortes Bank. Eric Theriault and Mike Plantarich. General Info. Cortes Bank is located 100 miles off the coast of southern California. Underwater bathymetry ranges from 1000 feet to 6 feet deep (Bishop Rock)

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cortes bank

Cortes Bank

Eric Theriault and Mike Plantarich

general info
General Info
  • Cortes Bank is located 100 miles off the coast of southern California.
  • Underwater bathymetry ranges from 1000 feet to 6 feet deep (Bishop Rock)
  • Originally known by sailors who would avoid the spot at any cost due to the danger.
  • Waves get so big they show up on radar.
  • Waves may only break a few times a year or not at all.
bathymetry
Bathymetry
  • The point itself runs about 20 miles long.
  • 3 different bowls: north, middle, and west bowls.
  • The west bowl is more popular for surfers because it curves around and comes from the SW, so waves tend to be larger here.
  • Waves traveling 20 miles over underwater bathymetry make the waves wrap different ways (refraction)
  • The reef consists entirely of kelp and rock.
video
Video
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lz97moE41Xo
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lz97moE41Xo
to produce big waves
To produce big waves…
  • Light winds (10 knots max)
  • Low tides
  • Big storm swells from a storm about 600 miles away
  • All of the above must happen at the same time.
  • Only 1 in 5 planned trips to Cortes Bank pays off
mike parsons
Mike Parsons
  • Surfed the biggest wave ever ridden at Cortes in 2008.
  • The wave measured over 70 feet from trough to peak.
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8_38LHTeDg
what you need
What you need…
  • Jet ski for tow-in, with a fearless rider
  • A very fast board
  • Boat to take you to the bank
  • Nerves of steel
  • Friends just as nuts as you
travel costs
Travel Costs
  • Plane Ticket from AC to San Diego: $600
  • Boat Rental for a day: $1600
  • Hotel for the night: $40
  • Almost killing yourself on the most massive wave in the world: Priceless
  • Total Cost: $2240
works cited
Works cited
  • Pfeiffer, Jeremy, and Marc Beaty, prod. How it works: Cortes bank. Writ. Marc Beaty and Sean Collins. Surfline, 2009. Web. 11 Oct. 2011.
  • Boulware, Jack. "Big-Wave Surfing at Cortes Bank." jackboulware. Ed. Jack Boulware. N.p., 1 Oct. 2010. Web. 11 Oct. 2011.