No doubt you’ve seen the incredible display of commitment and straight up lunacy of Taj Burrow and Mark Mathews a few days ago at the infamous big wave spot, ‘The Right’ in Western Australia. The original intention was to capture a completely new angle of big wave surfing, and everything was going perfectly to plan until the two pushed the wave to its limit, taking off so deep they were unable to escape, as ‘The Right’ crashed down on them with all its fury.
The whole idea was based around a concept shoot by Stab Magazine and Red Bull. Before the wipe-out, the pair actually managed to pull in to some big, clean barrels and succeed with some great images, though Mark wanted to go bigger, and deeper. Taj originally wanted to get a few warm-up waves by himself to navigate the correct lines and get his rhythm flowing, everyone knew it wasn’t going to happen on Mathews watch.
“The one I see you ride from the channel is the one I don’t get the shot on,” he said to Taj. “Pretend I’m not there. You won’t know I’m there. I’m invisible. But, don’t let your hand touch the face. Don’t wreck my shot.”
Mark has pushed boundaries in his big wave surfing career for quite some time, though even he will tell you this was the craziest wipe-out of them all. We all know how long only a few seconds can feel under water, and the unimaginable thought of being held under for 45 seconds is simply obscene. This was the case for Mathews, his thoughts of “Am I coming up’ being scary enough to send chills down all of us, let alone copping the brutal force, cold waters and sharp reef he also had to encounter. It’s thanks to the special wetsuits designed specifically for situations exactly like this one, that both surfers managed to escape the dark depths of the Indian ocean once again.
Though Taj managed to get away with only a slight shake up, Mark was not so lucky. A ruptured eardrum and gash to the face were the results of this incredible attempt to push the boundaries of big wave surfing once more, something every surfer will say was a huge success.*All images by Russell Ord/Frame grabs
Check out the footage of the incredible wipe-out below! Later this month will see much more come out about the amazing session, though until then, stay tuned here on the SurfStitch Blog, as we bring you latest from the surfing world!