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Jan-09-2011 20:45printcommentsVideo

Oregon Big-Wave Crew Charges Into 2011

Dialing into some of Oregon's biggest, coldest, and most incredible waves...

Keith Galbraith at Nelscott Reef Photo: Eric Akiskalian
Keith Galbraith on a beautiful Nelscott bomb.
Photo: Eric Akiskalian

(NELSCOTT REEF, Ore.) - The first week of 2011was an amazing start with surf ranging from 10'-20'.

George Desoto at Nelscott Reef
Photo: Eric Akiskalian

Having spent two weeks in Santa Barbara for Christmas without any surf, made it real easy to come back to Oregon and post up at the Lincoln City Inn for a week of freezing cold conditions with giant clean surf.

Joining myself for the entire week of amazing surf were locals, Keith Galbraith, George Desoto, Dan Hasselschwert, Ollie Richardson, Tim Henton, Mark Builder, Justin Howard, Andrea Lorenz, Kendog and Jason Garding. The playing field was wide open for paddle and tow-ins which is what we did everyday on the reef and throughout the wide range of beach breaks and a heavy slab nearby.

The goal for Keith Galbraith and George Desoto during this week was to paddle the reef as big as it got.

Both are underground big-wave chargers that live here in the area and just live for big-waves.

In fact Keith is my tow partner and he is the one that towed me into that giant wave on South Reef this past Nov. which landed us an entry for the Biggest Wave Category of the Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards 2010/11.

Pending selection of the finalist will be in late March and the winner will be announced in April.

On the morning of the biggest swell which registered 14.5' @ 17 seconds producing 25'-35' face heights there was a little left over bump on the surface from the winds the night before and with that in mind, I decided to nab a few waves towing and wait for the wind to settle down before Keith and George starting paddling while I shot photos.

Sure enough the wind went calm and the paddle session was on for the duo while the solo tow team of Justin Howard and Andrea Lorenz both out of town local surfers stayed in the mix and shared waves throughout the session. This was our crew for the entire day and with a large playing field we had it made.

Things are very mellow up here and we all work together to ensure a great and safe time while paddling and towing amongst local friends during the same session. This is because you need PWC's to get to the reef and we are now paddling during our tow sessions.

Hands down the paddle session was the most exciting to watch and photograph but every now and then there was that one big set that only the tow team could handle on the outside.

It was the biggest paddle session for the local crew by far and they were stoked to be charging it.

The day was so spectacular in that it was just us out there all day long sharing waves and stoke for each other while the swell just kept bombing. So having to deal with freezing cold conditions, loading and unloading PWC's, elephant seals, great whites, and suiting up like a polar bear has its rewards from time to time if you take the gamble and make the commitment.

For me the tow scene has been fun but pretty anti-climatic ever since riding those giant waves on South Reef back in Nov. 2010. I just can't seem to get that rush lately. Maybe it's time to put the camera away and paddle more or for Mother Nature to deliver us another 60' swell.

"Keep The Dream Alive!" Eric Akiskalian/

Special thanks to the following local sponsors:

Keith Galbraith Sponsored by: Oregon Surf Shop, O'neil Wetsuits, Stay Covered, Mormaii Darkfin Glove, Jet Pilot and Towsurfer
George Desoto Sponsored by: Ocean Pulse Surf Shop, Instant Replay Sports and Nelscott Cafe


Big wave Surfer Eric Akiskalian of Camarillo, California, travels the world in search of the perfect wave; the biggest waves, in the world. Last October in Oregon, during the Nelscott Reef Tow-In Classic that is held each year in Oregon, Eric and his tow-in partner Keith Galbraith, were towsurfing giant waves at South Reef, and they caught one of the biggest waves ever ridden along Oregon’s coast. This ride, videotaped by's Tim King, ultimately, was entered in the Ride of the Year Category for The 10th Annual Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards.

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

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