A profile of shaper Chris Jones: If you surf sooner or later you’ll end up at Chris Jones’ door. Who else can offer you fifty years of shaping experience? Who else was there at the beginning? CJ, legendary shaper/surfer, rugby fanatic, pasty connoisseur is this morning sanding down a vintage Tiki for restoration.

Quietly considered and eloquent, you might know of Nathan Oldfield through his films 'Lines From A Poem' and 'Seaworthy'. Surf Screen's Christiaan Bailey popped him a few duly thoughtful questions about creative motivations and the surf film industry. Photos: Nathan Oldfield

Tucked away at the top of a hill near Gwenver beach in Cornwall, Skewjacks was the definitive 1970s surf camp. Drift took four of its founding fathers - Dicky, Harvey, Jamo and Mickey - to the pub and reminisced about good times gone by. Words: Jamie Bott Credit & thanks to Graham Shephard & Mel Sedgwick

Mark Sankey and Alexa Poppe uncover the isolation and challenges of the Mentawai Islands, and consider the challenge of balancing tourism and sustainability, in an environmentally sensitive surfing destination.

"I'm not interested in formulae when it comes to surfing and art." Ryan Lovelace talks to Chris Preston about trusting your eyes, hands, and feet, and adding another leaf to the weird-hull-alternative-vibe-tree. Photos: Morgan Maasen, Brandon DiPierri & Ryan Lovelace

Matt Rohrer shares some of the highlights of his conversations with Bay Area surfer Jimmy Holt, focal point of one of the few surfing photos to ever appear in National Geographic Magazine. Selected photos: Jim Shaw

Ian Battrick and Tim Nunn take a journey around the North Atlantic isle of Iceland to put the finishing touches to their book, out this Autumn. Join them on their journey.
Photos Tim Nunn and Ian Battrick Words Tim Nunn

Richard James and his brother Andrew recently finished shooting their first film, a surf trip of 30,000 kilometres along the west cost of Africa. Words and photos: Richard James

Co-founder of the original Aussie counter-culture surf bible, Tracks, and director of 'Morning of the Earth', Alby Falzon lives up to his reputation as the spiritual father of the alternative surf lifestyle. Words: Jair Bortoleto Photos: Courtesy of Alby Falzon

Looking to the future with an eye firmly on the past, Tom Wegener has reintroduced the transport of kings to surfing's elite. His boards are works of art, but it's his veg patch that really floating Tom's boat right now... Words: Tommy Leitch Photos: Jamie Bott

The annual Fish Fry on Australia's Gold Coast gives shapers a non-commercial, non-competitive opportunity to come together and share ideas in a shameless celebration of the fabulous fish. Words: Tommy Leitch Photos: Jamie Bott


Mark Visser | Operation Deep Blue


September 02, 2011 | Words By:

This time around, Mark Visser isn’t riding a 40ft wave at night, he’s jumping from a plane into massive storm swells in the middle of the open ocean to surf what has never been accomplished and he’s doing it with satellite technology.


Almost seven months after his first undertaking with “Night Rider”, 28-year-old Australian athlete Mark Visser has been training with Navy Seals and a variety of specialized experts to complete his next “Nine Lives” project titled, “Operation Deep Blue”.

Operation Deep Blue follows Visser and researchers from the International Aerospace Centre as they discover massive waves located thousands of miles from land. These freak waves have been responsible for sinking ocean-liners, naval vessels and destroying oil rigs. This natural ocean phenomenon can create waves that reach heights of 100ft. Until now, they have been nearly impossible to predict and no athlete has ever gone to these lengths to find them. Not only is Visser finding these waves, he’s surfing them.

Everyone knew that these rogue waves were out there. We knew that they were bigger than 80 feet,” said Visser. “The hardest part was figuring out how to get out into the middle of the ocean.”

In order to get to the waves in time, both he and his crew (including his jet skis strapped tightly with his surf boards) dropped from the air into outer sea locations where a seaplane could not land and helicopters did not have the fuel range. These areas take up to four days to reach on a boat, so airdropping is the only option in order to arrive at the optimal window for surfing conditions.

This project was really terrifying. Being out in the middle of the ocean without seeing a speck of land is a very humbling experience and you definitely feel very, very alone out there,” explained Visser.

Photo Credit: Dallas Olsen

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13 Comments


  1. SaulSurfer says:

    Absolutely amazing…..but someone has obviously got too much money. I know surfing is incredibly self indulgent at times, but surely these guys could have found some big waves to ride in a more accessible, yet still uncrowded location and used some of the cash this project cost to help some people who really need it. A little bit sick in my opinion, but I suppose these are incredibly selfish times that we live in. Rant over…..apologies. Must have been ruddy scary/exciting mind.

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  2. Exciting adventure and obviously takes lots of guts…..but must ask: if it is so far offshore that boats take 4 days and it is too far for helos and gear/surfers have to jump out of a plane, then how do they get back/picked up/etc???? Seems there must have been a pre-staged boat on hand in the vicinity…anybody got an answer???
    j.

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  3. Hey just as a rebuttal to that. While I know where you are coming from about the expense, still every human endevour could be looked at like that. Moon flight, interplanetary exploration, exploring the oceans. All of those are an expensive proposition, and the more extreme the more expensive. For that matter, all of the great projects and architechtural wonders that grace our world were done at great expense. Not to try and say that this was on that level, but it sort of was. It is an expansion of the bounds of human capability and that’s a pretty cool thing. We can’t stop growing. We need this too.

    Ideally we should do both, but I don’t think that I would equate this with the behavior of selfish banks and corporations that don’t care at all about the world other than what they can rape out of it.

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  4. @ SaulSurfer

    That was my first thought exactly. I’m glad other people see how wasteful this is. Surfing should be about getting closer to the earth in order to realize that we don’t need material things to live a full life. And when we put less effort into material things, we don’t push money and resources away from people who need them to live comfortably.

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  5. Really don’t get this. So he gets dropped of in the middle of the ocean where sea planes can’t land, helicopters can’t get to due to fuel and would take 4 days to sail to with a jet ski, how does he get home then, swim?????? When he jumps out the back of the plane it’s also obviously very calm, if he did jump out in the most extreme of sea states ideal for the creation of rouge waves and he ends up 300 meters from his ski how on earth could he spot it from the water let alone swim to it and start it. Get the feeling this is the creation of the surf industry to try and create the most ‘radical’ and ‘knarly’ experience dude. Will believe it when I see him sliding down the face of a 100 foot extremely rare freak wave 400 miles of the tip of South Africa but till then seems bollocks.

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  6. OK, I get how he got to the waves. But how did he get out after he rode them?

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  7. This site makes a little more sense
    http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/daredevil-mark-visser-parachutes-on-to-30m-waves-in-middle-of-the-ocean/story-e6freoof-1226127801145
    The guy has big balls but feel it’s not quite the story it’s made out to be. Very much doubt he jumps out in force 10 winds in 50 foot seas in the southern ocean waiting for a random 100 footer clinging to a life raft. Expect to see him however being towed into 10 foot ground swells in glassy conditions in the middle of no where.

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  8. Went on his website and similar comments about the feasibility of the idea, he posted this.

    Hey guys, I’m sure it might be hard to understand right now because the production team are letting out limited information. Just so you know when the boys are dropped into a location they land into what’s called a safe zone 1-2km away from where the wave is. The waves they ride are not rouge waves, they are locations on reefs (sea mounts) out in the middle of the open ocean. It will all become clear when you see the finished documentary. This program is all about the adventure and the quest to get out there and try something new! Thanks for your support from team Vis.

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  9. Has someone moved April Fool’s Day and not told us?

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  10. Release date ?

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  11. saulsurfersux says:

    @saul surfer – who are you to judge how people spend THEIR own money? maybe instead of spending your money on the laptop you used to type your ignorant comment you could have fed a starving child in africa for three years. Why do you draw the line at surfing in the middle of the ocean? isn’t what your doing every day selfish? Go hug a tree

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  12. surferchic says:

    When will this be released?

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  13. oscar concha says:

    What the @$#% god bless mark visser and his king kong size balls and dedication! I watched the training snippets of him preparing himself for this history shattering adventure! And whoever wants 2 talk shit about $$ go try any of the things this bad ass has done! And then say its a waste! There comes a super bad ass once in a lifetime with the heart,ambition,skill and blue whale size @$#& 2 try what this pimp is trying so %$#& yeah!!! Bro everyone thats seen your promo is 100% behind you and go for the gusto if your bad ass enough!! God bless mark visser and his pimp ass crew and i can’t wait For this documentary!!!

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