Oakley, Surfing Life Big Wave Awards set for Wednesday
Oakley/Surfing Life Big Wave Awards
OAKLEY SURFING LIFE BIG WAVE AWARDS ENTRANTS HOLD THEIR BREATH
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 8 February, 2008 : - - It’s an anxious time for a dozen of Australia and New Zealand’s top big-wave aficionados, as they wait for next Wednesday’s Oakley Surfing Life Big Wave Awards presentation where the winners will be announced.
Alex “Alfy” Cater, who was runner-up to fellow West Australian Damon Eastaugh last year, is hoping this will be his turn at the major prize: $20,000 plus a Sea-Doo personal watercraft sponsored by Junkie Deodorant. It’d really count for something. After all, not too long ago, he and his tow-surfing partner were pounded by huge waves six kilometres offshore leaving their jet ski destroyed.
“It was a pretty big day,” says Alfy, who’d decided to tackle six-metre waves at Cow Bombie reef, just north of Margaret River in the south-west. “Right after a storm. The wind backed off and we thought, let’s do it.” Fate intervened. “The ski conked out about three metres from the worst spot you could possibly be… We got three waves on the head and that was it for the ski.”
It’s just another day in the life of Alfy, who rocketed to international big wave prominence after his display at Cow Bombie last season. “It made a lot of us realise we could surf waves like we see being ridden overseas in places like Hawaii and California,” he says.
Marti Paradisis : photo Stuart Gibson/Oakley Surfing Life Big Wave Awards
Since then, his surfing’s taken Alfy to both those places and made him a lot more friends in the global big surfer network. He admits to thinking about his chances of winning the Biggest Wave, but sounds like a typical Aussie bloke about it all: “I’m thinking more about partying with the boys, really. If a bit of money comes my way then it looks like it’d be my shout.”
Fellow Awards entrant Mark Visser, on the other hand, is an Aussie rarity – a young pro surfer who’s committed himself 100% to reaching the top in big wave adventure surfing.
Visser, 22, of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, started down the everyday Australian pro surfing path, competing for a place on the ASP’s World Championship Tour. But after a year or two, he says, he realised his heart just wasn’t in it. “To me it’s all about your passion,” he says. “When people say, ‘This is what I’m meant to do,’ I know exactly what they mean. All I want is to be my best in big surf… I’m prepared to go through hell to do it.”
Visser invests all his time in the effort. He’s flown to Bells Beach in Victoria to consult with guru surfboard designer Maurice Cole, and to Mexico to train with young Hawaiian big wave start Jamie Sterling, who’s now his tow partner. He trains – in his own words – “like there’s no tomorrow”, doing underwater breath-holding exercises for up to a minute and a half and following up with 50-metre swim sprints.
He invests in other ways too, supplementing the sometimes fleeting endorsement cheques with online trading. “I dunno how much I want to say about this,” he laughs. “Once in Hawaii I invested a whole sponsorship in a stock and it went from 20c to $1.50!”
Visser loves the camaraderie between the big wave crew. “In big wave surfing you’re like warriors on the same battlefield. It’s a mateship among rivals. You know if something goes wrong there’ll be someone ready to help no matter what.”
Spectacular entries dot the rest of the Awards field. Marti Paradisis heads a Tasmanian contingent straight from one of the world’s most terrifying reef breaks. Shipstern Bluff, a remote rock reef off the tip of the Tasman National Park, has provided an Oakley Surfing Life Biggest Wave win once before – back in 2003, when international big surf legend Ross Clarke-Jones took the prize.
Marti, 24, and his buddies – James and Tyler Hollmer-Cross, Mike Brennan and Brook Phillips – have had Shipsterns on speed-dial all season, laying claim to the place the same way as Alfy and Damon claimed the giant Cow Bombie reef in 2006. “The place is a challenge from every aspect,” he says. “It’s given us the chance to ride at the best level right in our backyard and I’m really looking forward to the presso night.”
Presentations will be made at the Bondi Pavilion in Sydney on Wednesday evening, February 13, and all the top entrants are flying in for the evening. Other entrants include Taane Tokona and Kyle Davidson, from New Zealand’s South Island and its notorious coldwater hell-wave, Papatowai. They’re joined by perpetual Awards challenger Doug Young in attempting to take the big prizes across the Tasman.
The Oakley Surfing Life Big Wave Awards presented by is an ongoing challenge to reward the riders of the biggest waves in Australasian waters. It runs from June 1, 2007 to February 1, 2008.
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. The company also produces technical and active apparel, footwear and accessories.
# 1 : Oakley & Surfing Life Big Wave Awards seal last entries
# 2 : Handful of Tassie surfers charge psycho Shipstern Bluff
# 3 : Coming soon
# 4 : Coming soon
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