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The Real Deal – Aussie Big Wave Royalty Ross Clarke-Jones

February 22, 2018 Sports No Comments Email Email

Diving headlong into 2018, Aussie big wave hell-man Ross Clarke-Jones is riding harder, faster, and higher! Having recently smashed his personal big wave (and World) record by taking on the ‘Big Mama’ at Portugal’s Nazare. 

With his fearless and inimitable style, Clarke-Jones remains the only surfer in the world to ride right over on ‘Big Mama’ – an awe-inspiring wave peak considered to be one of the most dangerous on the planet – and the one closest to the lighthouse at Nazare that dominates iconic images around the world.

Almost 20 years to the day, Clarke-Jones rode the largest swells in history outside Log Cabins on the North Shore of Oahu Hawaii.  Labelled “Biggest Wednesday” – Wednesday, January 28, 1998.

“January 28, 1998, was my first Big Wednesday, so to do it all again on an even bigger wave was a massive thrill,” said Clarke-Jones. “And who knows, what’s to come for the rest of the season, something even bigger.”

Despite all of Clarke-Jones achievements he has always been true to himself with a down to earth rawness.

When he destroyed the freak 130ft titan wave in Nazare, the biggest ever ridden at the extreme wave mecca, with tow partner Benjamin Sanchis (Hossegor, France) in January, in typical Clarke-Jones style the massive feet was taken in his stride and with little fan fair.   The enigmatic big wave legend preferred to let the historic ride speak for itself.

With the new Personal Best ride under his belt and thousands of kilometres already travelled this year chasing big waves in Hawaii, California and Portugal, there are no signs of the legendary surfer slowing down.

“When I hit 50, a lot of people said that I’d start to worry about my mortality and that the fear would finally get to me. More than twelve months on, I love proving them all wrong, and pushing myself to up the ante and go bigger each time,” added Clarke-Jones.

“I am, however, looking forward to heading back closer to home when I’ll be chasing big waves in the Southern Hemisphere for the next few months. The season in the Northern Hemisphere typically ends at the end of March,” said Clarke-Jones – who calls Bells Beach home when he’s in Australia.

The XXL Big Wave award competition period draws to a close in March, and while he’ already has two epic entries in Ride of the Year and 10 entries into XXL Biggest Wave, Clarke-Jones is ready to put his body on the line to score an even bigger ride with big surf forecast in Nazare over the next few weeks.

In a fearless category all of their own, Clarke-Jones and his big wave peers regularly take on waves that are higher than 80 feet and have the force of a freight train. The spectacle of watching them hurtle down the face of a mammoth wave ensures they have some of the most watched videos on the internet.

The thrill of charging a big wave brings with it the risk of serious injury – and Clarke-Jones has endured his fair share. Multiple fin chops, numerous spinal and neck injuries,  a broken nose, separated and fractured ribs, a snapped bicep, pulled trapezium, torn ASL and MCL, busted shoulder and several near-drownings are just some of the injuries he keeps tally on.

“Ross is still out there doing the things we did in our 20s and 30s and I love that. With big wave surfing, it’s all about nerve, and Ross is still as ballsy as he ever was,” says best mate and Storm Surfer co-star Tom Carroll.

With speed and risk engrained in his blood, Clarke-Jones is known in the industry as “Dark Bones”.

Born in Sydney, Clarke-Jones grew up in Terrigal on the NSW Central Coast and now splits his time between homes in Victoria’s Torquay, Nazare Portugal and Hawaii.

If Clarke-Jones isn’t chasing the world’s biggest swells, the car enthusiast heads inland to Germany’s Nurburgring, where he stores his Porsche 911 GT2, for an on-land adrenalin hit whenever he can.

An Australian Surfing Hall of Fame inductee and tow –surfing pioneer, Clarke-Jones has ridden a tidal bore up the piranha-infested Amazon River and is the sole continuously selected Australian invitee – and first non-Hawaiian – to have won the prestigious Quiksilver Eddie Aikau Memorial Big Wave contest at Waimea Bay.

In 2016, the event veteran finished second only to young gun WSL World Champion John John Florence, who is half Clarke-Jones’ age.

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