Ghost Wave

Ghost Wave: T
he Discovery of the Cortes Bank and the Biggest Waves on Earth (2011) by Chris Dixon. If you like surfing and the ocean, then this is a book for you. In Ghost Wave, the author takes his readers on a real life adventure located off the southern California coast, where, believe it or not, some of the world’s largest waves are now known to be generated and at times surfed. The place is the Cortes Bank, and it’s not your typical surfing location. What’s so different about this place you might ask? Well, the Cortes Bank is located approximately 100 miles west of the city of San Diego - out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, south of the Channel Islands. When you catch a wave here you’re not going to see land anywhere except perhaps six feet underwater at low tide at Bishop Rock. And, the fast moving wave you’d be riding might be as large as 70 feet tall. This type of surfing is not for the faint-of-heart, and “in short, the Bank [is] not a place to be trifled with.”

Ghost Wave recounts the story of the discovery of the Cortes Bank, and also provides a history of big wave surfing in general at places like Waimea Bay, Kaena Point, Todos Santos, Mavericks, and Jaws that ultimately leads into several chapters on the Cortes Bank. The pictures in the book are well worth a look, and provide the reader a great opportunity to see what big waves breaking out in the middle of the ocean look like with some of them being ridden by some very rare and brave souls.

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