VIA – PERTH NOW
South West surf produces monster rides for Big Wave competition
November 18, 2011 11:04AM
GIGANTIC: Maroubra surfer Mark Mathews barrels down the face of a massive South West wave. Picture: Tim Bonython Source: PerthNow
WA’s gigantic surf has come alive in recent weeks, producing some of the best waves and most dramatic life-threatening rides – and wipeouts.
The WA coast has thrown up massive swells, thrusting the region back into the Surfing Life’s Oakley Big Wave Awards spotlight.
From the madness has come magic, producing two thrilling contenders for the $35,000 prize pool.
Both the contenders (pictured) ended in abrupt, violent and life-threatening wipe-outs for the surfers involved; Maroubra’s Mark Mathews and the Gold Coast’s Ryan Hipwood.
Renowned big wave surfer Mathews said the intimidating break in the far south west of the continent occurred where seven metre deep ocean swells explode over limestone reef.
Mathews is currently busy touring his feature film, Fighting Fear, with fellow Maroubra surfer and MMA fighter, Richie Vaculik, detailing their struggles, determination and journey to become professional athletes.
Mathews has been victorious in the Awards at this location before, but this session was different.
“It was definitely heavier than I had surfed it before, a lot heavier,” Mathews says. “A lot of waves weren’t actually makeable. The majority of waves I’ve ridden here hit the reef perfectly, but some of them just got really ugly… this was one of the ugly ones.”
Ryan Hipwood agrees with the dangers.
“It is always a hard to judge out there. You can’t really tell how big it is till you see someone on one. I’d say it was anywhere between 12 to 20 feet. It can be one the heaviest waves in the world,” Hipwood said
And when things go wrong on one of these giant, slabbing waves, the consequences can be dire.
“You don’t want to get hit by that lip,” explains Mathews, “You feel like your legs are going to be ripped off. If you leave any part of your body stretched out, it’ll take it. I’ve torn the ligaments off my knee out there…”
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