Tow-in surfing (sometimes referred to as “tow surfing”) kind of sounds like a safety measure, as if it’s something surfers have to partake in after they’re injured or stranded.
It’s actually quite the opposite.
Born in the 90s from the no-wave-is-big-enough idealism espoused by some of the most daring giant wave boarders around, tow-in surfing has established personal water crafts (known to most as “jetskis”) as surfer assistants, putting athletes in proper position so that they may catch waves moving too fast and cresting too high for unaided humans to surf. In other words, tow-in allows surfers to try their luck with waves not meant for mere mortals.
Not surprisingly, much controversy swirls around the niche past time because of its extreme risk (relatively common injuries include concussion, black-out, lacerations, torn ligaments, compound fractures, drowning and burst ear drums). One look at the video gives a clear visual on just what that risk looks like.
Cover Photo Credit: jai Mansson – flickr.com