Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

{Searching for a Giant} {Visser Training Hard for Next Event}; Coast Surfer Mark Visser Has Been Dodging Sharks and Penguins in His Hunt for Massive Waves

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

{Searching for a Giant} {Visser Training Hard for Next Event}; Coast Surfer Mark Visser Has Been Dodging Sharks and Penguins in His Hunt for Massive Waves

Article excerpt

Byline: Bill Hoffman

WITH just a day to go in the Oakley Surfing Life Big Wave awards waiting period, Sunshine Coast surfer Mark Visser feels he has run out of time to post a winner.

In an Australian season that has failed to produce the mountains that bombarded our off-shore big wave locations in 2007 and 2008, Visser posted a couple of decent rides during forays to South Australia and Western Australia.

But he doesn't believe he has a winner in the competition that splits $30,000 in prize money, between biggest paddle-in ride, best overall, the photography 'Shooter' Awards, and the big one - the $20,000 Biggest Wave Award.

Visser's entry was lodged by photographer Tony Harrington who organised the South Australian trip to a spot 12 hours steam from shore at a break off Flinders Island.

The crew travelled on a prawn trawler owned by a shark fisherman to the spot Visser describes as the most shark infested place you could go.

The water was freezing, they had to dodge penguins as they made their runs into the bowels of the beast, and the presence of great white sharks constantly played on their minds.

"It had that really suss feel about it," he said.

"You usually hang in the water on the end of the rope between waves, but we were climbing onto the ski. The drive back took 12 hours."

He had barely touched down at Sunshine Coast Airport on his return home when he had to turn around and head for Western Australia to catch the same swell which had moved west.

Again while there was size, he's talking 13 metre faces, it was off the peaks of the previous year.

Now in their seventh year, the Oakley Surfing Life awards give surfers eight months to go catch and ride the biggest and best wave they can find.

Previous winners include NSW's Ross Clarke-Jones, WA's Damon Eastaugh and Alex Cater, and NZ's Doug Young and Daniel Kereopa (in the Paddle-in division). …

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