Watch: The Other Side of Fear // Mark Mathews
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.