I got worked surfing OBX, near Salvo...DOH swell, paddling out..thought i was over one and it sucked me backwards over the falls and then footballed me about 200 yards..lol...
the only other one was when i thought i was going to die, head and shoulder pinned to the bottom out at the end of the rocks @ IRI Northside ..8-9 foot wave broke directly on top of me...came out of the water shaken that night.
Alligator Rock, Hawaii '05 during a rapidly rising swell. I was a North Shore rookie and had NO IDEA the hell that was about to reign down on me. I went to Sunset first, and it looked do-able, like it always does, mostly because the lineup is so far out, so the carnage doesn't look nearly as intense as it actually is. I sat watching with Darrick Doerner (of all people!) who looked at my 7'4'' and hinted that maybe it was a little too short for the current conditions (which, given my current knowledge, would have freaked me out immediately haha). He suggested I go to Leftovers, which is a little more gentle and probably a better choice with the equipment at hand. I had not ever surfed the spot before, and actually ended up paddling out to Alligator Rock instead. There were 6-8 people sitting in the lineup, so I figured that must be the right place. Long story short, one guy was WAAAAY outside and the rest of us sitting at what seemed to me a reasonable location. Again, I didn't know anything about the spot (or big surf in general). A few reasonable sets came through, and I nabbed a little shoulder and felt more confident...next thing I know, the outside guy starts paddling for the horizon, and everyone around me does the same. I didn't even know what was going on until I saw what...basically it looked like the entire horizon shifted. This monster of a wave starts fluttering, and the outside guy BARELY makes it over as it starts breaking. It didn't break top-to-bottom, but it was freaking enormous, by far the biggest wave I had ever seen at that point. It must have been a good 200 yards out when it started breaking, but it just kept coming, and finally reached me as this giant wall of whitewater. I was sort of like "uhhhh, what the f%#$ do I do now?" and ended up bailing my board and diving as deep as I could. It didn't matter, and the thing rag-dolled me for what seemed like a minute (I'm sure it was actually much less) before letting me up. As I stood up on this shallow piece of reef, I looked back and realized the lineup was a few hundred yards away...called it a session after that one and decided to, in the future, listen more closely to "rapidly rising swell conditions".
live aloha........I know EXACTLY what you are talking about....Leftovers was one of my favorite spots.....the same thing happened to me in '95....South Shore, Waikiki, the craziest surfable waves I'd ever seen (except for Country)....sometimes laying flat on the bootom just doesn't help.....Good Times.
I'm pissed I missed the Japan trip. Sounds like you had a blast. I ended up surfing Pipeline. As soon as I dropped in on a massive wave, the volcano started going off. Next thing you know, I was dodging falling lava chunks and surfing for my life. I ended up just riding the wave back to mainland US. I caught the red eye from LAX to ILM in NC. I sat next to Snoop Dog and we spent the whole trip talking about gardening and surfing Africa. We then starting talking about lions. When we got off the plane, he told me that our discussion was so awesome, that he was going to change his name to "Snoop Lion." Looking forward to his next album, under "Snoop Lion."
Costa Rica, June 2000. Playa Hermosa well north of Tulin, just south of the 1st hotel (can't remember name). We're fresh off the plane and frothing for waves. The conditions were pretty bad, solid 7-8ft long-period swell mixed with a nasty thunderstorm and black sand of course. First wave of the day, first set wave I think I'm going to make this barrel...I don't. It throws me into a somersault before I hit the water at what my ear thinks is 50mph. That wave gives me 1 more head-over-heels moment for good measure. I'm fully dizzy and disoriented at this point. Being used to the moderately clear water of NC I open my eyes to find sunlight (still dizzy). Oh right! Thunderstorm plus black sand equals darkness. The washing machine fades a bit and just as I've grabbed my leash and am about to break the surface I'm hit with set wave #2. Another head-over-heels, another can't see light, another leash grab. Break the surface just in time for set wave #3 to thoroughly work me (swallow a good mouthful of water/sand) and pop me in the head with the rail of my board as a finishing move. And finish me it did. I flopped onto my board after surfacing and proceed to gasp for air in between vomiting. Let's just say I volunteered for video taping duty the next 1.5 hrs.