When Cloudbreak is small there are still plenty of fun barrels to be had. Most of the guests who come to the island tend to like surfing out there when it’s under four feet because it is less intimidating.
My theory is that it’s more dangerous when it’s small. I have seen more injuries caused by reef bounces on small days than when the surf is big. Reef McIntosh smashed his face on the reef, breaking his nose and cutting his face, on a one-footer out there. Don’t think he has ever been injured surfing Cloudbreak when it’s been 20 feet!
Since the water is only a foot deep or so when it’s small, and the reef is so sharp, I have seen hundreds of injuries at Cloudbreak and Restaurants on the small days.
Funny story about this photo sequence: Scott Winer was in the boat shooting photos when a rogue wave slammed the boat, knocking him and the rest of the guests out of the boat. It was really dangerous; luckily, nobody was seriously injured.
Shane Dorian and Brandon Lillard found his camera in 20 feet of water, sitting on a coral head. Scott was so bummed that all of the photos on his SD card would be ruined—a week or so’s worth of incredible images of every guest on the island. After trying to dry and clean the SD card for a week without any luck, he almost gave up on it.
He decided to give it one more try…and to his surprise the photos appeared on his computer. So stoked. His camera and lens were destroyed, but at least he saved his work.
This small sequence came off that SD card.