On record as having mastered the largest waves ridden at The Wedge, a world famous surf spot in Newport Beach, California, Terry Wade has become one of the world's most recognizable names in big wave bodysurfing. Wedge riders swim out to get eaten by the monstrous waves that power in from either hurricanes off the West Coast of Mexico or storm activity in the Southern Hemisphere. Between the years of 1973 and 1998, Wade consistently made headlines, as he would sit in the water for hours waiting for the largest waves of the day. He has been called the "Michael Jordan of big wave bodysurfing"Template:Details Magazine, April, 2003 by select, esteemed peers.
His influences and mentors include:Greg Deets, Fred Simpson, and Ron Romanosky.
Despite no attempts to make money from publicity, Terry Wade has been featured in close to 25 surf articles spanning nearly every surf magazine published. He has also been featured in surf films such as Thump, Bud Brown's Goin Surfin', Wavemasters, Five Summer Stories, and the soon to be released documentary by Tom Lynch specifically about The Wedge. Finally, there are countless television news pieces that cover epic days at The Wedge where Wade's surfing has been caught on tape. Nearly ten years after his last significant day surfing The Wedge, Terry Wade, still gets requests for interviews by respectable magazines such as Outside and Details.
His success is measured only by his own happiness after a big day and the respect of his peers, as he has no desire to participate in contests. However, Terry has never disparaged those who do. He holds close friends, such as Wedge riders J.T. Nickelsen, who recently placed 5th at the Pipeline Bodysurfing contest, in high esteem as well as world class bodysurfers and friends Mark Cunningham and Mike Stewart.
Terry was among those who fought the Newport Beach City Council for the right to keep The Wedge free from surf and body boards during certain times of the day during a specified time of the year. He and other members of The Crew feel very strongly about the preservation of the sport of bodysurfing and their safety, both of which are jeopardized by board surfers and boogie board surfers, primarily the inexperienced latter. Another frustration that Terry has vocalized is that against big name surfers who bring large crews of photographers in order to turn The Wedge into a photo opportunity. He has always expressed an open invitation to anyone to bodysurf The Wedge.
Like many victims of the unpredictability of The Wedge, Terry Wade suffered disastrous consequences of his obsession. His health problems have ranged from a broken back, a broken nose, ribs, a torn rotator cuff, and skin cancer.
He has been sidelined for many years by his back but is promising a comeback in 2008. Bodysurfers around the world will be waiting to see one of the most respected fellow wave riders return to the water.
- Duane, Daniel (August 2004). "The Lip Comes Down", Outside magazine, part 3.
- Warshaw, Matt., The Encyclopedia of Surfing. Orlando: Harvest Book Harcourt, Inc., 2003.
- Details Magazine [United States] (April 2003)
- Greg Deets - A Natural Water Brother at AllAboutSurf.com