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In 1960, surfers ride the waves in Southern California and off the north shore of the island of Oahu on seventy-five-dollar boards weighing up to forty pounds. In December, surfers Sammy Lee and Peter Cole, among others, are perfecting their craft on the fierce but warm waves at Waimea Bay, while near Laguna Beach, California, Hawaiian Donald Takiyama rides his first wave on the mainland. Back in Hawaii, many surfers including Cole, Ricky Grigg and John Severson ride at Sunset Beach, home of the largest, most consistent waves, which break half a mile offshore. Despite these attributes, the beach also has a riptide that runs parallel to the shore and carries surfers out to sea if they cannot "blast through" the rip back to shore. During a break in the waves, surfers go to the Halona Blow Hole, a Hawaiian scenic landmark. Later at Sandy Beach, surfers use the paipo board, a predecessor to the boogie board, to ride the waves. At Break Number Three, Bruce Brown uses a plexiglass container to shoot underwater footage of surfers. Back at Santa Cruz, California, Jack O'Neil tests his new invention, the wet suit, in the cold waters and later shows off his other invention, the sand sailor, a three-wheeled contraption powered by sail that clips along the beach at fifty miles per hour. Meanwhile in Oahu, Blackie August, Earl Stoner, Jerry Pierson and female surfer Joey Hamisaki ride the breaking surf. Back at the Trestles, on the north end of Camp Pendleton Marine Base, California, surfers catch a few waves after trespassing on the military-owned land. Meanwhile, Del Cannon breaks into his friend Harold Walker's surfboard shop and tries to shape his own board, but the foam mixture oozes out of the mold like a "ruptured waffle" and finally seeps onto his feet after several failed attempts. Near the old Seal Beach power plant, teenage surfer Robert August, son of Blackie August, enjoys the warm water, which, originally cold, was cycled into the plant to cool generators and then returned to the ocean at Ray Bay several degrees warmer. Others surfers test the Wedge, a high wall of water at Newport Beach and "shoot the pier," surfing between the pillars, at the Huntington Beach Pier. One morning Del sees an ad for an eighty-dollar, one-way flight to Hawaii and decides to go, unconcerned about how he might raise the money to return. Soon after, Del, Joey Cabel and Mike Doyle are at Makaha Bay point surfing on huge waves offshore, which carry them for some of the longest rides of the season. Looking for other places to surf, Del and his friend Walt take their run-down car on the steep Pali Highway. When the car's brakes jam, sending it crashing off the road, both the surfers and their boards survive intact. Days later, the waves at Waimea Bay are crashing thunderously into the coastline and are too dangerous to ride but everyone enjoys the spectacle. Although the waves are only mildly less dangerous hours later, Pat Curren and Jose Angel use their "big guns," surfboards several feet longer and twenty pounds heavier than most, to ride the bone-crushing surf. Despite catching many of the waves, these talented athletes also suffer from some of the worst wipeouts, including Grigg in a gigantic free fall and six surfers wiping out simultaneously on the same wave.