Footage from Terminal Velocity by Surfer Magazine
Tyler Hollmer Cross
James Hollmer Cross
Music by: Sirius Beat – Legions
Sixteen miles off the coast of Tasmania sits Pedra Branca, an ominous rock spire emerging from a violent seascape. The wave there is the stuff of nightmares: a giant, thick-lipped right-hander breaking into deep, dark water. A crew of Tasmanian chargers abandoned their sanity in pursuit of massive barrels.
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Pedra Branca is home to a big wave surf break at a reef approximately 40 km offshore. Marty Paradisis was the first person to surf it. later, In 2008 Ross Clarke-Jones and Tom Carroll joined local surfers Marti Paradisis and brothers James and Tyler Hollmer-Cross to shoot a story about it which was featured featured on 60 Minutes.
On 1 January 2016, a picture of Pedra Branca with seals and birds chasing fish, was the worldwide feature photograph for National Geographic. The picture was taken in late 2015 by Andy Chisholm who was among a group of surfers who had gone to surf and photograph the big waves. Another surfer, James Hollmer-Cross, was wiped out by a wave, broke his leg in two places, perforated an ear drum, tore a knee ligament and suffered a compression fracture in his shin bone.
Australia is home to the most deadliest surf breaks in the world. Waves like Sydney's Ours / Cape Fear, Shipstern Bluff in Tasmania, Cyclops and The Right in western Australia are among the heaviest on the planet. And on top of that there are plenty of sharks…
Big wave surfing is the ultimate celebration of extreme surfing. Challenging deadly waves in harsh weather and ocean conditions takes a very serious approach.
Big wave surfers are not interested in performance. Forget perfect cutbacks, stunning floaters or breathless aerial antics. The profile of a big wave rider is the result of several unparalleled personal characteristics.
Fear is always present in a 50-foot wave. Fear is the best way of managing the risk of paddling for a huge wave face, which doesn't tell you what is going to happen and how it is going to break.
Monster waves tend to move quickly and force surfers to get away of the powerful whitewater. Big waves are lethal even for the most experienced extreme riders. The best big wave surf spots in the world have claimed several lives in the last decades.
Malik Joyeux, Sion Milosky, Moto Watanabe, Mark Foo, Donnie Solomon, Todd Chesser, Dickie Cross and Peter Davi have passed away in extreme surfing conditions. Wipeouts, severe coral reef injuries and drowning are the most common causes of death in big wave surfing.
The pioneers of big wave surfing started to eye impossible killer rides in the 1940's. In the 1960's, waves like Pipeline and Waimea increased the popularity of paddling into new wave heights. Going over the falls was the daily menu.
The 55 best big wave surfers of all time is an exclusive extreme surfing club. From Jaws to Mavericks, Puerto Escondido, Punta Lobos, Ghost Trees, Belharra, Shipstern Bluff and Todos Santos, Nazare. these riders have set up a new scale in the definition of giant waves.
Al Mennie, Andy Irons, Anthony Tashnick, Ben Wilkinson, Bob Pike, Brock Little, Buzzy Trent, Carlos Burle, Chris Bertish, Danilo Couto, Darrick Doerner, Darryl Virostko, Dave Kalama, Dave Wassel, Eddie Aikau, Frank Solomon, Gabriel Villaran, Garrett McNamara, George Downing, Brad Gerlach, Gerry Lopez, Grant Twiggy, Baker Grant Washburn, Greg Long, Greg Noll, Ian Walsh, Jamie Sterling, Jay Moriarty, Jeff Clark, Jeff Rowley, Jose Angel, João de Macedo, Kai Barger, Keala Kennely, Ken Bradshaw, Ken Colllins, Koby Abberton, Kohl Christensen, Laird Hamilton, Laurie Towner, Mark Foo, Mark Healey, Mark Mathews, Mark Visser , Maya Gabeira, Mike Parsons, Nathan Fletcher, Pat Curren, Peter Mel, Ramon Navarro, Richie Fitzgerald, Ross Clarke-Jones, Shane Dorian, Sion Milosky, Zach Wormhoudt