Watch: The Other Side of Fear // Mark Mathews

Stu Nettle
Reels

Never the most gifted surfer, Mark Mathews' surfing career was defined by playing to his strengths. At first it was his detemination to grab some of the spotlight from his hard-running and incredibly talented Maroubra peers, while later, once his big wave career was established, it was his focus on mental and physical fitness that allowed him to endure holddowns few would survive.

Almost five years ago, on the morning of the 2015 Jaws contest - the first swell of what was to be a stellar El Nino winter - Mathews grabbed one last wave before the organisers cleared the water. With webcast cameras running, Mathews took off on what was at that point the biggest wave of the morning. The wave closed out and Mathews aborted the ride, injuring his shoulder when he hit the water. That injury put him out action for the winter, and the better part of the next year. Then, after months of rehab, and while still struck with nerves, he had a far worse wipeout. One that brought his big wave career to a screeching halt and drew on all his mental reserves.

'The Other Side of Fear' is made by Mathews' longtime collaborator Macario De Souza and tells his story of rising from a second-tier local surfer to the upper echelons of big wave surfing, and then what happens when all that he worked for was taken away.

In surfing terms it's a long player, almost an hour on the arse cheeks, yet well worth the investment.

Comments

ringmaster's picture
ringmaster's picture
ringmaster commented Wednesday, 21 Oct 2020 at 8:51am

"Almost an hour on the arse cheeks"

Brilliant! I'm tippin that's the first time ever that description has been used in a film review anywhere!

Baron von Spatula's picture
Baron von Spatula's picture
Baron von Spatula commented Wednesday, 21 Oct 2020 at 11:16am

Mark is perhaps the finest human ever to ride a surfboard and, definitely THE UGLIEST FEMALE SUPERMODEL in existence – period!
A true champion.

Ed Sloane's picture
Ed Sloane's picture
Ed Sloane commented Wednesday, 21 Oct 2020 at 2:22pm

I had a front-row seat to that wipeout, literally right in front of me. We thought we were shooting a double tow story not a turning point in Marks whole life. Some tense moments that day for sure.

I think this doc is one of surfings better-told stories/productions.

northeasterly's picture
northeasterly's picture
northeasterly commented Wednesday, 21 Oct 2020 at 3:59pm

That was an hour well spent.

Bob Sacamano's picture
Bob Sacamano's picture
Bob Sacamano commented Wednesday, 21 Oct 2020 at 4:21pm

x 2. A story well told and an hour well spent.

sangsta's picture
sangsta's picture
sangsta commented Wednesday, 21 Oct 2020 at 5:13pm

Crazy awesome story. Right to the heart of things.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Wednesday, 21 Oct 2020 at 6:15pm

Cant figure out how to stream it. Devastated.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 21 Oct 2020 at 6:29pm

Eh? You click the link up above..?

Should open up to a screen with a red 'Watch Film' button.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Thursday, 22 Oct 2020 at 9:26am

Nah , can’t figure out how to stream it to my TV. A little screen won’t do it justice.

Hamishnic's picture
Hamishnic's picture
Hamishnic commented Wednesday, 21 Oct 2020 at 8:28pm

Great watch

conrico's picture
conrico's picture
conrico commented Wednesday, 21 Oct 2020 at 8:54pm

wasn't expecting much being a Redbull movie, but actually super interesting. Great watch

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond commented Wednesday, 21 Oct 2020 at 9:54pm

10 out of 10. I have no doubt i'll be watching this again throughout life for the inspiration and sharing it with those who it might benefit. Thanks Mark, what an inspirational human and someone that time will judge to be one of our greatest ever. And Brit. What a chick!! Top shelfers. Legends.

_Bodhi_'s picture
_Bodhi_'s picture
_Bodhi_ commented Thursday, 22 Oct 2020 at 8:25am

wow, that was an incredible story, old mate did himself a few mischiefs, a bit of an emotional journey, so much persistence, that's probably one of the gnarliest surfing injuries I've seen (excluding shark attacks), his missus offers awesome support and understanding of his passion... very enjoyable...

ronny45670's picture
ronny45670's picture
ronny45670 commented Thursday, 22 Oct 2020 at 9:17am

Wicked!

ringmaster's picture
ringmaster's picture
ringmaster commented Thursday, 22 Oct 2020 at 10:45am

That was an hour well spent! What a resilient bloke he is and looks like he lucked out big time with a great girl to help him get through it.

All the best to Mark for whatever lies ahead.

lilas's picture
lilas's picture
lilas commented Thursday, 22 Oct 2020 at 11:45am

What an inspirational human!
Please add him to the Surfing Hall of Fame.

yeti's picture
yeti's picture
yeti commented Thursday, 22 Oct 2020 at 1:44pm

Best thing I've watched in a while.

jezza64's picture
jezza64's picture
jezza64 commented Thursday, 22 Oct 2020 at 3:38pm

Was lucky enough to be at Urbnsrf when this was filmed. Great story, great bloke. So exciting to see him take his mate out for some waves. He donated some gear for a raffle to raise funds for Disabled Surfers Association and then matched dollar for dollar himself. Legend.
Awkward to notice my ugly mug make a brief cameo. :)

wetgecko's picture
wetgecko's picture
wetgecko commented Thursday, 22 Oct 2020 at 10:04pm

Thank you to all involved. We all need to watch inspiring stories like this. Thanks for your courage Mark !

SI's picture
SI's picture
SI commented Thursday, 22 Oct 2020 at 10:21pm

Awesome story. I like the way he retrieves the diamond from under the water, it’s a bit allegorical. Jason is a key too and his wife’s willingness to bring them together. Amazing how woman can transform life. What a lovely family too. Awesome!!

Barrelrider

Cacadajy's picture
Cacadajy's picture
Cacadajy commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 3:17am

Just wow. What a story had no idea before of his injury, recovery and just plain strength.
His now wife though, maybe an even stronger human?

Not right now thanks.

SI's picture
SI's picture
SI commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 7:57am

This story says something about free will and identity. Free will is really a misnomer and a contradiction in terms. When the will is engaged the person is then beholden to it. The desire to fulfil the will’s aims can in effect enslave the person to the will’s course. So when Mark lay in hospital lamenting his - I think he said his shit foot or something, but you could see his frustration - his will to surf and do things with his foot was in conflict with his own body situation. So his mind was kind of in a conflict with his body. Very difficult situation. Especially when the will power - is bound up in personal identity. Then if the foot does not follow the will there is a chance the identity may want to kind of disown it. If his foot was not part of him what was? It begs the question who are we? And it seemed for a while he was at an impasse. Plato and Socrates encouraged the idea to “know thyself” one of the messages of the Oracle at Delphi. I thought this show brought that old idea into sharp focus. It seemed that Mark was really stuck for a while with the clash between his identity as big wave surfer and the circumstances of his healing foot. The assumption is that one knows oneself and there is no way out of the conflict, but when Jason turns up he is given an open door into seeing a deeper side of himself and then his freedom really comes - freedom FROM the earlier will to be what he was. No longer stuck in the past ‘will mindset’ he could truly live on unimpeded. That’s what it seemed like to me. And it’s a demonstration that one never really knows oneself, but one learns about oneself as life goes on through all of life’s ups and downs. Mark truly is a courageous person and I feel indebted to him for sharing his extraordinary life experience in such an intimate way. I think it was said he was an introvert as a younger person and it’s amazing to see him getting up in front of crowds of people talking but hey, he has a great message!!!

Barrelrider

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups commented Friday, 30 Oct 2020 at 6:27pm

A thorough and insightful analysis. I hadn’t thought about it that way. Thanks for sharing.

Discoweb1's picture
Discoweb1's picture
Discoweb1 commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 9:28am

What great watch !!

Well worth the hour on the arse cheeks but realised I should have been doing my squats while watching !!!

Well done Mark Matthews, you are an inspiring human with some great people supporting you. !

shorebreak's picture
shorebreak's picture
shorebreak commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 9:49am

That was fantastic...Well done mate! May you and your family receive all the grace you deserve, for the inspiration you have shown to beat the odds and surf again.

shore break

jmarc's picture
jmarc's picture
jmarc commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 10:29am

Wow ... that was quite intense! Great movie!

I remember when Mark posted on FB about his leg injury. He made it sound like it wasn't too serious. Not one to lament about himself that's for sure. I was happy to see him back in the water.

megzee's picture
megzee's picture
megzee commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 9:01pm

Inspirational and humbling on all levels.....another surfing legend added to my list...

It's easy to be brave from a distance.

Remigogo's picture
Remigogo's picture
Remigogo commented Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 11:52pm

I have been wondering what Mr Mark Mathews has been up to lately as I haven't seen much of him as of late.

Well... stuff me!! I am surprised as buggery.

An emotional journey during this documentary I did not expect to experience at any stage throughout my life time regarding this exceptional human being.

Up and up mate... what ever shape and form your journey.

Surfing hall of fame nomination???

Absofknlutely !!!

NDC's picture
NDC's picture
NDC commented Saturday, 24 Oct 2020 at 5:47pm

Loved that

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Sunday, 25 Oct 2020 at 2:46pm

Gawd surfing is such an awesome but selfish sport,great movie and felt for his girl friend /wife Britt when he decides to go to Hawaii..........really well done and very inspirational...just shows to go what you can do.

simba

see.saw's picture
see.saw's picture
see.saw commented Monday, 26 Oct 2020 at 10:00am

I got no more tears left. Britt is a legend. She came out the bigger hero/heroine for me.

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups commented Monday, 26 Oct 2020 at 2:02pm

^’kin oath.

69longboarder's picture
69longboarder's picture
69longboarder commented Monday, 26 Oct 2020 at 9:23pm

Well done Mark. Well done Britt.
Winners never quit, and quitters never win.

You are no quitter.
Best wishes to you and anyone facing a struggle ,life passes to us.

stewraz's picture
stewraz's picture
stewraz commented Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 11:32am

Not ashamed to say this brought a tear to my eye. Though I surf like a one legged monkey, I can emotionally connect with so much of this story. Britt, you are an amazing human! Mark, you are an inspiration.

batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink commented Friday, 30 Oct 2020 at 5:57pm

Saw Mark at the local, chicken shop, not beach, not very long after the second mishap. Saw him hobbling around and would have loved to have a chat but I tend towards leaving well known people alone, assuming they get quite enough of it.

Small in stature, and saying that I’m not a big guy, but also clearly strong, I could happily buy him beers all night to talk shit about his experiences and particularly what drives him.

Can’t watch this right now, poor wifi reception, but I’ll come back to it. Not surprised at the reaction from other punters here. He always comes across as down to earth in his Tim Bonython movies. Best of luck to him and kin.

D-Rex's picture
D-Rex's picture
D-Rex commented Friday, 30 Oct 2020 at 7:19pm

Excellent doco showing how single-minded surfers are. I thought at first that only a surfer would put their recently recuperated body on the line like MM did, but then thought of others like Gary Ablett, Tony Hawk and (especially) the Crusty Demons who do the same. The most inspiring other person in the doco is Jason who showed MM what a wuss he really was.

nickdavies78's picture
nickdavies78's picture
nickdavies78 commented Saturday, 31 Oct 2020 at 12:23pm

Brilliant story and production. Much respect to you guys!!

nipper77's picture
nipper77's picture
nipper77 commented Sunday, 1 Nov 2020 at 2:55pm

One of the most inspiring doco's iv'e seen, Mark and Britt are legends!

nipper77