How a near-death experience became the catalyst for big-wave surfing stardom
Big wave surfing champion Mark Visser provided incredible insight into what it feels like to ride the biggest waves in the world.
Visser, a pro surfer from the Sunshine Coast, has won several big wave events that are truly unimaginable for someone without the ambition to come face to face with waves over 50 feet.
Driven to chase the biggest waves in the world, Visser admits he gets really scared when he prepares to hit a monster wave, but instead of letting that fear get the better of him, Visser uses it as his driving force. .
“It’s probably one of those sayings, only a surfer knows the feeling,” he said on SEN breakfast.
“It’s something I’ve always aspired to do, to do it at the level where you’re literally about to put your life on the line, but you just want to prove yourself by saying ‘is it possible and can it I do,” that’s probably the driving force.
“I use fear to my advantage, I’ve done a lot of training in this space, to the point where the techniques I’ve developed over time have been useful for high-level military groups, sports organizations and other professional athletes.
“You’re absolutely scared and you’re going through that on a higher level, but it’s learning to go through that process and keep functioning one step at a time instead of consuming yourself and pulling yourself out of the position you’re trying to get out of. focus. in.”
Visser’s relationship with fear has a chilling history. The former Victorian fell into a sheep trough aged two and was saved from drowning by his brother.
When his family moved to the Sunshine Coast, his inherent fear of water meant he didn’t even attempt surfing until he was a teenager.
“I was raised in the country of Victoria in a town called Wangaratta and I fell into a sheep trough and nearly lost my life,” he said.
“I grew up with a deep fear of water, but subconsciously I guess I wasn’t really aware that was the driving factor, but when I was riding the small waves I always had better results when the waves were bigger.
“There was this inner voice that I could trust with bigger waves, and I think those insecurities pushed me to prove that point.”
Known as the “Night Rider” for battling 30-40 foot waves in Jaws after dark, Visser relied on that event as a two-year-old to prove to himself that he never don’t be afraid.
“It goes back to what we were talking about before, at the time I probably wasn’t really aware of it because I was so determined to prove myself beyond a shadow of a doubt that I had ridden all the big waves. world, but I wanted to prove to myself that I was not afraid, that I could do something that would make me lose my mind,” he explained.
“It was a goal that I set for myself and I just wanted to prove that I was no longer that scared little kid, for me that particular jawbone project is up there with Nazare as one of the biggest world waves.
“I thought that by doing something like this, I would prove to myself that I could let go and accept myself.
“I remember pulling the jet ski at night and watching that break and you could see the stars and I was like ‘I can’t say how big that is’ obviously because it it got dark and then the stars disappeared when the wave rose and came towards us.
“I’ll never forget that feeling of my heart beating so hard where I’m pretty sure my eyeballs were pounding with it.”
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Image courtesy: https://magicseaweed.com/news/mark-visser-jumped-off-the-back-of-a-ski-just-to-get-pounded-at-jaws/11147/