Sharks, Surfers, and Americas Best-Kept Big Wave Secret

On Sat­ur­day, Feb­ru­ary 2nd, a fair­ly rou­tine 30-foot swell rolled into the Nelscott Reef. Offi­cials for the Nelscott Reef Tow-In Clas­sic green light­ed their annu­al big wave competition.

Rid­ers from around the world flew in on short notice to com­pete on the size­able swell.

If you’ve nev­er heard of it, you’re not alone. This break isn’t in Hawaii. It isn’t in photoCal­i­for­nia. This is a big wave break in Oregon.

Half a mile off the coast of Lin­coln City, the dou­ble over­head surf that pounds down on the shal­low reef isn’t the only dan­ger. There are great white sharks. And not just the occa­sion­al sit­ing: Big wave surfer Steve Har­nack had a bite tak­en out of his board last year.

But the Nelscott Tow-In Clas­sic went off with­out a shark this year. Hawai­ian Jamie Ster­ling won first place in the event, and took home $2,000 for the win. Acclaimed pho­tog­ra­ph­er Richard Hall­man cap­tured the event and you can see more of his killer shots here.