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