Greg Noll & Friends surfing Waimea, Hawaii, in 1966
14 Images

How big was it?

Greg Noll & Friends surfing Waimea, Hawaii in 1966. Noll is far left, still on his board. (LeRoy Grannis / Special to the Times)
This Makaha wave on Dec. 4, 1969, nearly ended surfing’s most famous session before it began. Caught inside by a massive wall of water, Greg Noll ditched his 11' 4" surfboard and dove through the face. Somehow, both rider and board survived, and Noll went on that day to catch a wave that has gone down in history as the largest ever ridden by a paddle surfer. (Larry Goddard / Special to the Times)
Archival photo of the 1960s Hawaiian surf scene used in Stacy Peralta’s big-wave documentary, “Riding Giants.” The film opens the Sundance Film Festival on Thursday. (Courtesy of Setsuna LLC)
Archival photo of the 1960s Hawaiian surf scene used in Stacy Peralta’s big-wave documentary, “Riding Giants.” (Courtesy of Setsuna LLC)
Archival photo of the 1960s Hawaiian surf scene used in Stacy Peralta’s big-wave documentary, “Riding Giants.” (Courtesy of Setsuna LLC)
Archival photo of the 1960s Hawaiian surf scene used in Stacy Peralta’s big-wave documentary, “Riding Giants.” (Courtesy of Setsuna LLC)
Archival photo of the 1960s Hawaiian surf scene used in Stacy Peralta’s big-wave documentary, “Riding Giants.” (Courtesy of Setsuna LLC)
Archival photo of the 1960s Hawaiian surf scene used in Stacy Peralta’s big-wave documentary, “Riding Giants.” (Courtesy of Setsuna LLC)
Greg Noll and Mike Stang on Pipeline Beach in the 1960s. (John Severson)
Peter Mel surfing at Marverics. (Doug Acton)
Laird Hamilton tow-surfing at Peahi, Maui (Eric Aeder)
Gerry Lopez surfing at Metawai Island (Kimiro Kondo)
Jeff Clark surfing at Mavericks. (Doug Acton)
Stacy Peralta (Tony Friedkin)
1/14