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Condition Black

NATURE's CONDITION BLACK reveals how giant-wave surfers from around the world couldn't walk away from the largest waves ever recorded.

On January 28, 1998, a monster weather system slammed into Oahu's north shore. The Coast Guard called a Condition Black -- all access to the water denied. It was every surfer's dream and nightmare combined, playing and replaying on a seemingly endless loop, as colossal waves up to 40 feet high surged over the beaches of Oahu in a monstrous, unstoppable procession. The stunning footage, some recorded on IMAX film, the stories of the surfers, and the storm itself form the breathtaking core of CONDITION BLACK.

The surfers had a few days' notice because a fierce storm forming off the coast of Japan was forecast to move eastward and toss huge waves ahead of it toward the Hawaiian Islands. Quickly, a buzz electrified the worldwide surfing network. It seemed like a perfect opportunity for the Eddie Aikau Memorial big-wave surfing competition, an event held on an ad hoc basis, when conditions warrant it, in honor of a local lifeguard who lost his life trying to rescue an endangered canoeing team in rough waters. But instead of the ideal, the surfers were confronted with the extreme. A combination of natural forces had intensified the effects of the storm, producing conditions that even the most experienced surfers had never seen before.

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Download the CONDITION BLACK wallpaper for your desktop! PC users: Right click on the wallpaper and select "Set as Wallpaper." Mac users: Save the image to your desktop, then select it via the Desktop tab of your Appearance control panel.

Buy the video

View the Production Credits.

High Seas
All waves share some common traits

Wave Warrior
Read an interview with Ken Bradshaw

For Teachers
View the CONDITION BLACK Lesson Plan

Find out more about big waves and surfing

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