Most of the time it is unacceptable to hop (cut-off, snake, take-off in front of...) someone else but in waves this size there are exceptions. You do your best not to go in front of anyone but when the waves are 20'+ and you are already committed there is not much you can do. If you try to pull out after a certain point you most likely will get sucked up over the falls and really put the other person at risk. Or you could pull out to have a bigger wave behind you with guys trying to drop in while you are like a sitting duck. You are better off going and riding the wave together
until you can pull out and hope you do not fall in front of the person behind you.
In this first sequence at Sunset Beach this guy on his 12' elephant gun came from so far behind I did not even see him when I took off. Then I heard him yelling as he came flying up behind me just as the wave was approaching the heavy pitching zone, but it was too late. Oh my God this guy was HUGE! I am gone to guess at least 6'8". I was more scared of him than the wave which hit the inside reef and just launched. I wish I could pull out but there was no opportunity until I got through to the channel. On top of that he was chatting it up with Owl Chapman while he was in the line-up so I know he was more than likely one of the local crew. Who ever you are please forgive me!
In this next sequence on this particular day at the Bay, there were at least 35-40 guys (yes all guys!) out and it was not uncommon to have two or three riders (sometimes more) on one single wave. The wave itself is enough to contend with but adding this many testosterone laden men in with the mix can be really dangerous! With strong off shore winds blowing and a combo swell you better be heads up and on your game. There are also boards flying back from the guys that didn't take enough paddles or bail at the top of the wave deciding they did not want that wave after all.
I was lucky enough on this day to get a half of dozen excellent rides with this being the only one I did not ride alone. Thanks guys! Oh yeah and no wipe outs! either!!!