Web Extras: OC's Big-Wave Underground–Corky Crandal and Crew Ride Massive Waves Without Fanfare or Notoriety

Corky Crandal and crew like to get away from the surfing crowds. When a good swell comes into town, instead of heading to the Huntington Beach Pier or the jetties in Newport Beach, they pack up the car with gear, gas up the Jet Skis and head south of the border–to an island called Todos Santos.

Big waves are what they seek. Not just slightly overhead. They prefer the type that possess the power to break boards with the ease that you and I break toothpicks. Not that they have endless funding from sponsors to buy boards as needed. Their boards are stickerless, in fact. They do what they do for the pure thrill of catching and harnessing the power of a 30-foot wave. That there's the potential of severe injury or death, is just a reality that comes with the territory.

Patrick Swayze's character inĀ Point Break, Bodhi, says it best: “If you want the ultimate, you've got to be willing to pay the ultimate price.”

But Crandal and crew are good at what they do, in an out of the water. They're not trying to die young, they just like the rush.

“It still scares the shit out of me,” say Skip Staats, a friend of Crandal's and the unofficial mayor of Todos Santos.
In this week's cover story, “Swell Guys,” I accompanied the crew to Todos Santos in search of building-sized waves and a few good stories to tell over tacos and beer.

Here's a video that goes behind-the-scenes of the cover story:

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Also, be sure to check out more photos that didn't make it into print here.

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