The right wave.
The approaching monster looks as if it’s about to engulf the red lighthouse at the entrance to the bay. As the 20-meter (66-ft.) wave surges towards the coast, a tiny speck is visible just below its crest, tracing an arc of white spray across the face. With a telescope you would see that the speck is in fact a human on a surfboard – like an insect riding a tsunami.
Sebastian Steudtner has spent years preparing for moments like these – and weeks sitting it out for the right wave. Concentration is paramount. If he falls, 500,000 metric tons of water will come crashing down around him. As Steudtner puts it, descending a vertical wall of water is like riding a snowboard down a mogul field at 80 km/h (50 mph) – with an avalanche right on your tail. Suddenly the wave breaks, whitewater spitting and foaming over the top of him. But just before it swallows him up, Steudtner twists off to one side and finds safety in calmer waters.