Wipeout of the Year? We Think So.

by Chris Dixon

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Screen Grab From Jamie Mitchell’s Epic Fall From the Sky. Image: Vincent Kardasik, ‪#‎quiksurf‬

This past January, Australian Jamie Mitchell attempted to paddle into a Jurassic Park sized wave at Belharra, on France’s west coast. At Belharra, giant north Atlantic swells are tripped up by a submerged reef that lies a few miles offshore. Because the water is so deep right off the reef, boats can sit in seemingly suicidal proximity to the breaking waves in relative safety. When a huge swell jacks up on Belharra’s reef, it climbs to the sky, cascades down like an avalanche for awhile and then disappears back into the depths before rising back up and crashing onshore a few minutes later.

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 Screen Grab From Jamie Mitchell’s Epic Fall From the Sky. Image: Vincent Kardasik, ‪#‎quiksurf‬

Mitchell’s wave, which appeared in the ESPN series “Big Wave Hellmen” (a show for which I was honored to serve as a “big wave judge”), exemplifies the crazy levels that big wave surfing has reached in the last decade. It also shows, in no uncertain terms, the incredible danger of the pursuit. Had Mitchell made this wave, he would have given Shawn Dollar’s wild world record ride at the Cortes Bank a serious run for its money. Instead, he was very glad he was wearing an inflatable wetsuit. Below, you’ll see Mitchell’s hellacious wipeout in all its HD glory.

 

And here’s Shawn Dollar’s World Record paddle-in ride for some comparison.

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