Big Wave Rider
Maxim Australia|May 2017

In a new documentary, Hawaii native IAN WALSH does what he does best — surf the biggest swells in the world...

Keith Gordon

Even in a world of big waves and big names, Ian Walsh stands apart. The Maui-based surfer has built his reputation on tackling mountain-size waves at surf spots from Portugal to Hawaii, California to Tahiti. You can catch Walsh riding eight-story swells in Distance Between Dreams, a new documentary he produced with Red Bull. The world-class surfer spoke with MAXIM about the dangers of big-wave surfing, the challenges of chasing storms around the world, and how to use culinary recipes to avoid drowning.

On Distance Between Dreams:

The motivation for me was just to put all of my time and energy into a project that would time-stamp a period in surfing’s progression. I narrowed my focus into the singular goal of doing this film, and we got very lucky. It was a two-year project, and the bulk of it was shot over the last year, which was a historic winter for big waves. The first year was lackluster, but then we happened to catch the most incredible winter in big-wave surfing history.

El Niños like the one we experienced are pretty rare, and when you’re at the peak of your career you might only see a couple of them. This one was really unique because we got massive 60 to 70-foot surf, but the weather was light so there weren’t any of the big winds or rains that can destroy ideal conditions. It had all the makings of these massive swells but with perfect weather.

On being an amateur meteorologist:

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