It was a “dark, evil wave” that almost killed him, but for Australian surfer Kerby Brown, riding this 40-foot monster in his own backyard was one of the highlights of his surfing career.
The 25-year-old surfed the enormous break at an outdoor reef in the Southern Ocean “somewhere between Margaret River and South Australia” on the southwest coast of Western Australia last August.
Local surfers discovered the break — the exact location of which they want to keep secret — after deep-sea fisherman alerted them to the amazing waves they had seen about 9 miles off the coast.
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Brown and his entourage, including his brother Courtney, decided to try and ride the dangerous break — which is only suitable to surf about four or five times a year because of the rough conditions — just before the sunset one day when the perfect wave presented itself.
“We sat out there and waited and watched for a long time, and then about an hour before dark the water dropped so we just went for it,” Brown, who comes from Kalbarri, north of Perth in Western Australia, told Times Online.
“It was not like any other wave I’ve seen, it was a real evil wave, the hardest wave I’ve ever had to surf.
“It all happened so quickly though I didn’t even realize what was happening, I just knew it was a big, powerful chuck of ocean, it was just amazing.”
Despite the incredible death-defying ride on what is believed to be one of the biggest waves surfed in Australia this year, Brown said the conditions at the spot, about 40 minutes ride by jet ski offshore, were not at all pleasant.
“It breaks so far out, right in the middle of the ocean, the deepest water you can get,” he said. “It’s really cold and choppy and rough, and the water is really black out there, it’s very creepy and eerie to be out there.”
And not everything went swimmingly. Brown, who was surfing less than a foot above a rock shelf, was knocked off his board and received an enormous beating as the water crashed down onto him.
He said he got pulled so far underwater he feared he would drown, but miraculously paddled away with only torn shoulder muscles.
“I went straight over the lip and did a few somersaults, and my arm felt like it got ripped out of the socket,” he said.
“My leggie [leg rope] snapped and I got pushed super deep, when I opened my eyes under the water and couldn’t see the surface, I was so deep down."
The amazing moment was captured by photographer Andrew Buckley, and has been entered into a competition of impressive surfing moments for the Oakley Surfing Life Big Wave Awards.