Kerby Brown nabs beastly Oakley/Surfing Life Awards entry
Oakley Surfing Life Big Wave Awards
Secret big wave spot churns charger Kerby Brown
Scroll down for interview with Kerby on the MSNBC Today Show
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 5 November, 2008 : - - The latest entry in the Oakley Surfing Life Big Wave Awards sums up the essence of this prestigious competition – commitment, daring, suspense – and, of course, one really big wave. Western Australia’s Kerby Brown has a knack for hunting out and riding some of the biggest, heaviest and downright scariest waves in our country’s south-west corner.
In his latest escapade Brown stayed true to form and tackled one of the craziest waves to be ridden around the world in the past few months – and consequently provided one of the most impressive entries and a genuine contender for the Oakley Surfing Life Big Wave Awards.
“What can I say…he’s a nut!” photographer Andrew Buckley says of the Kalbarri local, “That’s really the only wave I’ve seen do that there, they’re usually pretty perfect but that one tripled up, it just went kind of inside out….he did so well to manage to get where he was.”
Kerby agreed on the unusual nature of this extraordinary wave, “Usually the wave never steps out or goes evil like that one, but it just went dry…it was the hardest wave I’ve ever had to surf.”
If the ride itself wasn’t hard enough, the beating that followed ensured Kerby knew he had pulled into something big, and feared he would drown: “I was lucky to get to where I got, I went straight over in the lip and did about 10 backflips and then pulled a muscle in my shoulder. It felt like I ripped my arm out of it’s socket, my leggie snapped and then I felt like I was the deepest I’d ever been (underwater). I took about 10 huge big strokes to get up and I was seriously struggling. I finally got to the surface and I was ready to pass out, luckily my brother was there on the ski.”
Kerby’s brother Courtney tells the story from the other side of the tow-rope, “When I towed him into it he was so deep and I was looking down and it just looked stupid. All the water was draining off the reef and I couldn’t even see him or the bottom of the wave. I was scared for him. I noticed that he fell at one point and then we were all looking for him. It was so heavy. Then he just popped up and we were so stoked.”
If the act of catching, riding and surviving the waves at this secret outer reef isn’t challenging enough, getting there and getting back is a test in itself. Photographer Andrew Buckley explains the dangers, “It’s a half hour ski ride and there’s bombies (large waves similar to the one ridden) everywhere and it has to be big to break…massive…so you’re pounding through swell and wind.”
Kerby agreed, but expresses the optimism and confidence that has seen him thrust into the thick of some of Australia’s heaviest waves, “It was a nightmare getting out there. We spent about an hour punching into the wind and the chop and finally got out there and it looked really bad and we weren’t going to surf. It (the wind) was real onshore and real deathly looking, but then the wind started to drop and a couple of clean ones started to come through, so we were onto it.”
The wave itself was ridden as the sun was setting; this meant doing the arduous trek back to the mainland as night closed in. Courtney Brown makes it clear that this was no leisurely afternoon surf trip, “It was absolutely ridiculous, it was freezing, so cold, I had a steamer with a wet weather coat on. It was pretty much dark when we left. It was the wildest ocean, so raw.”
So many mixed metaphors and clichés could be used to describe the session and the wave itself, but the man who captured the amazing images, Andrew “Shorty” Buckley best sums up the afternoon: “There’s not really that much more to say about that wave other than it’s ridiculous.”
Think that these horror stories mean this secret outer reef is only frequented by the experienced Brown brothers? Think that this one “ridiculous” wave will be the last we see from this session? Think again. Kerby explains: “It was pretty crowded, I hadn’t seen that many out there before, there were six skis so it was a bit of a jostle.”
Stay tuned to surfinglife.com.au/bigwaveawards for all the latest entries in the Oakley Surfing Life Big Wave Awards. With just under three months remaining in the competition period and a very active southern ocean making its presence felt from Western Australia to New Zealand, not to mention an impending cyclone season further north, the scene is set for another bar-pushing, precedent-setting Oakley Surfing Life Big Wave Awards.
The Oakley Surfing Life Big Wave Awards is an ongoing challenge to reward the riders of the biggest waves in Australasian waters. It runs from June 1, 2008 to February 1, 2009 and culminates in an awards night at Bondi attracting surf stars, celebrities and all walks of media.
Oakley, Inc. designs, manufactures and distributes high-performance sunglasses, prescription frames, goggles and technology-enabled eyewear that utilize the company’s High Definition Optics® (HDO®), a collective platform of patented technologies that offer unbeatable optical performance.
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