Engineering a Pipe Dream: Catching a 30 Ft Wave on a Dirt Bike with Robbie Maddison

Surfing is hard. It requires physical strength, balance, agility and a good dose of craziness. Humans have been surfing for a long time, Captain James Cook documented surfing in Polynesia in the 1700’s. The problem was that there was a limit to how large a wave could be surfed. As waves get larger, they become more powerful and move faster. A surfboard is propelled by padding with arm power, and a human can only paddle so fast (yes we would love to see a super-human like the Incredible Hulk paddle a surfboard). The threshold was about 20 foot for waves that humans could catch. Anything larger would either go right under them, without giving a ride at all, or take the rider “over the falls” pummeling them under the weight of the wave.

dirt bike

Tow-in Surfing

Tow-in surfing was invented to solve the speed-paddling issue. A surfer could get towed into the wave and pulled to match the speed before dropping the line and riding the wave. This is how all of the worlds big wave riders, like Laird Hamilton, catch mega-waves.  This technique is great except they can still fall off and go over the falls – which is like being thrown in a washing machine with an ironing board tied to your ankle.

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Taking surfing to another level

Robbie Maddison has engineered the perfect solution to tow-in surfing – providing his own power with a specially equipped KTM dirt bike. His ride is equipped with outrigger / ski platform and a paddle wheel to provide thrust. Note: That bike is not lighter than water, he’s staying above the surface powered by speed alone!

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Watch Robbie Maddison’s “Pipe Dream”

DC presents Robbie “Maddo” Maddison’s “Pipe Dream,” giving the world a chance to witness history being made as Maddo rides his dirt bike on the powerful and iconic waves of Tahiti. From his helmet to motocross boots, Maddo was dressed for FMX when he took his dirt bike into the unchartered saltwater terrain of the Pacific Ocean in French Polynesia.

For nearly two years Robbie has been focused on making surfing on his motorbike a reality. His efforts paid off in Tahiti, where he rode the world famous waves at Teahupoo and Papara.

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Adam Beck

Director of Marketing at CADENAS PARTsolutions | A Marketing graduate from the Miami University, Farmer School of Business in Oxford Ohio, Adam has years of experience in marketing and design for a variety of industries.