You may remember him as the athlete who surfed a moonlit 30ft wave at Jaws last January. While preparing for his next projects as part of a new documentary, 28-year-old Mark Visser and other local big wave surfers have paddled into the biggest storm to hit Australia in recent years.
Battling severe hailstorms, up to 70-knot winds, freezing waters and torrential rain, Visser and a small group of local surfers have braved up to 30-foot (face) waves off the coast of South Tasmania.
Coastalwatch chief swell forecaster Ben Macartney has reported that this swell is the biggest he has ever seen on swell charts in Australian waters.This same swell is about to hit Fiji and Tahiti, so we are expecting more big wave images to come very soon from other surfers.
Visser along with James Hick, Marty Paradisis, Mike Brennan and a handful of other local surfers were among the brave few surfers to successfully ride the waves. Mark (seen in the video as the surfer in black, deep on the inside of the wave) and James (seen in the video with the yellow surfboard) took the heaviest wipe outs of the day. Many of the best waves were missed on video due to the severe weather conditions. At one point during the storm, a falling tree hit a cameraman, breaking his camera and tripod. He survived uninjured with only minor bruises.
Making this feat even more dangerous is the fact that the surfers paddled in, surfing without the aid of jet ski’s. In big wave surfing, jet ski’s are often used to tow the surfer onto the wave, placing them in the right position, then retrieve the surfer after the wave and help keep them safe. Paddling in greatly increases the risk of injury and makes catching waves all the more challenging.
Mark Visser will be in Los Angeles this week for the ESPY awards. Please let us know if you are interested in any interviews, etc. Also, keep your eyes peeled for the next Mark Visser project coming soon as part of the “9 Lives” series currently in motion.