On Tuesday, I got an email with the subject line "Hideous" and a link. The message came from Chris Dixon, the author of Ghost Wave: The Discovery of Cortes Bank and the Biggest Wave on Earth. He's reported on big-wave surfing for publications including Surfer, Outside, and The New York Times.
The link went to a video called South. In it, surfers drop into big, dark waves that begin clean, but suddenly break at points all the way up the face, like steps exploding out of the side of a wall. There's a lot of dramatic wipeouts, many of them caused by the steps. Filmmaker Dave Otto made the short from footage shot at Storm Bay, off the coast of Tasmania, Australia.