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When Ken Bradshaw caught the largest wave ever surfed, in 1998, he was riding on pure, single-minded passion. But that same quality—plus a deep antipathy to hype—has put him at odds with the increasingly crowded, commercialized world of big-wave surfing. On Oahu’s famed North Shore, the author learns about the 58-year-old maverick’s record-breaking encounter with 85 feet of “Condition Black” water, the battles he still fights, and his unlikely friendship with the publicity-loving Mark Foo, who was killed on a wave he “stole” from Bradshaw.

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