"The weather was the most intense storm pattern I have ever been out in my life. It was freezing cold, we had 4 hailstorms hit us while we were surfing and the winds would literally blast the board out of your hands! Despite the intensity of the storm, it was amazing to be part such an experience." Comments Mark.
Visser along with brother Kevin Visser and a handful of other local surfers including James Hick, Marty Paradisis and Mike Brennan, was among the few surfers to successfully ride the 30-foot (face) waves off the coast of South Tasmania.
"The local guys were charging and we were all really pushing each other. Mikey Brennan snapped his side fin out and I snapped my back fin out, but we both decided to keep surfing because we knew it was such a rare opportunity to get waves like this. Normally to find big paddle in waves we have to travel to Mavericks in California or Hawaii, but to experience rideable waves at this size in our own backyard was amazing.” Reports Visser.
Mark and James 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.