Watch: Ian Walsh // What it's like falling at giant Mavericks

Stu Nettle
Reels

You've likely seen the stills or video from this wave. End of an epic day at Mavs, twenty minutes till sundown, and Ian Walsh calls next one in.

Yet instead of an easy slide to the channel he gets airborne, very nearly sticks it, but instead of glory he cops a gruesome bug-on-the-windscreen wipeout followed up by two more on the head for good measure.

Indeed, it's the worst wipeout he's ever endured.

Bit of talking, all of it warranted, and the visuals of both the wipeout itself and the botched rescue - check the shadow of the looming wave as he grabs the ski - make it worth eight minutes of your time.

Comments

DGW's picture
DGW's picture
DGW Wednesday, 3 Mar 2021 at 1:38pm

well worth the watch, amazing recollection and description of what happened.

H2O's picture
H2O's picture
H2O Wednesday, 3 Mar 2021 at 1:44pm

F**K Amazing presence of mind on 2nd hold down to think about and action the position of the board relative to himself for pick up.

seaslug's picture
seaslug's picture
seaslug Wednesday, 3 Mar 2021 at 1:49pm

What to say except FUCKKKK, yes well worth watching that

lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy Wednesday, 3 Mar 2021 at 1:50pm

Yeh, fuck that.

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay Wednesday, 3 Mar 2021 at 2:31pm

But what happened to the board?!?

Good little vid. Scary.

Gowsa's picture
Gowsa's picture
Gowsa Wednesday, 3 Mar 2021 at 2:39pm

How the size of the shadow that the 3rd wave casts at the 6min Mark !!!!

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot Wednesday, 3 Mar 2021 at 2:46pm

Far out thats heavy, i'd love to know how long he was under each wave for?
The last one looked like a few seconds. Violent seconds though...

Jamyardy's picture
Jamyardy's picture
Jamyardy Wednesday, 3 Mar 2021 at 3:49pm

Looks like the wave was chasing him down instead of the other way around. Probably due to the positioning from the first big one they paddled over, he turned late and only got maybe 7 or 8 strokes in before taking the drop (not enough for max speed on a big board like that), it appears he didn't have sufficient speed on the take off to get down it nicely,. But if he had of turned quicker and paddled harder it might have broke on him, tough one, and a hairy wipeout. Glad he made it out OK.

Nav Fox's picture
Nav Fox's picture
Nav Fox Wednesday, 3 Mar 2021 at 7:26pm

No thanks

ringmaster's picture
ringmaster's picture
ringmaster Wednesday, 3 Mar 2021 at 7:44pm

The actual wipeout is horrible.......no doubt but I found myself replaying the 2nd wave a few times.

Seeing his head above the water and watching that top to bottom steam roller bearing down on him. Imagined being shell shocked from the wipeout and then having to deal with THAT!

Out of breath, totally fatigued and stuck near the surface right in the firing line.......fucken nightmare.

manic- mat -rider's picture
manic- mat -rider's picture
manic- mat -rider Wednesday, 3 Mar 2021 at 7:50pm

Amazing angles that really captured how frigen big and powerful it was.Simply terrifying

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba Wednesday, 3 Mar 2021 at 8:31pm

So clean though ........if only he stuck that first bit......but like watching a car crash.....gutsy stuff....and hows the spit eplosion right where he fell....ferk

DBEARINDARE's picture
DBEARINDARE's picture
DBEARINDARE Wednesday, 3 Mar 2021 at 11:18pm

When the going gets tough.
The tough get going.

And go he did.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Thursday, 4 Mar 2021 at 7:26am

Incredible. Impressed with Ian's storytelling abilities too.

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog Thursday, 4 Mar 2021 at 12:34pm

Amazing that people don't just get snapped in half on some of those wipeouts.

But ... double vision .... sounds like whiplash injury and / or concussion to me. Hero stuff. However, now they are chasing swells around the world they are getting pretty shook up a lot.

One early Waimea pioneer went for an xray and the doctor asked him if he had been in a car accident because his back and neck looked like he had been in about 15 rear-enders.

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango Thursday, 4 Mar 2021 at 8:27am

"...feeling my legs hit my side and my arms hit my back..."

I need a lie down after that.

harrycoopr's picture
harrycoopr's picture
harrycoopr Thursday, 4 Mar 2021 at 9:51am

Only 10th dimension??

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Thursday, 4 Mar 2021 at 3:19pm

Been thinking about this clip a bit. The bit where he quotes his inner voice as the wipeout begins ("OK, I made this bed, I better settle in for the ride now") rings so true for me.

I obviously don't surf waves as large as Walsh does, yet fear is relative: a big wave guy can be as scared by a forty foot wave as I am by a ten footer.

When caught out, that line is what snaps me into business. 'It was my choice to paddle out here, I brought this upon myself so I'm going to have to deal with it.'

It's almost a mantra when I'm in the shit. Seems to work too.

Jono's picture
Jono's picture
Jono Thursday, 4 Mar 2021 at 3:40pm

That mantra also applies when on magic mushies in Amsterdam.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Thursday, 4 Mar 2021 at 5:13pm

Ha, buckle up!

t-diddy's picture
t-diddy's picture
t-diddy Thursday, 4 Mar 2021 at 8:08pm

haha! so true!

JackStance's picture
JackStance's picture
JackStance Thursday, 4 Mar 2021 at 3:39pm

amazing

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba Thursday, 4 Mar 2021 at 5:52pm

So i wonder if they would have a go at that size without inflatable vests...seems to have changed everything for big wave guys

radiationrules's picture
radiationrules's picture
radiationrules Thursday, 4 Mar 2021 at 11:22pm

"i pulled the pin' ??/ to get rid of his SB after the 3rd wave - what pin in the legrope?

seaslug's picture
seaslug's picture
seaslug Thursday, 4 Mar 2021 at 11:33pm

Yep RR, pin in the legrope next to the ankle wrap

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Friday, 5 Mar 2021 at 7:27am

Yep, vertical pin, just like this.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Friday, 5 Mar 2021 at 7:50am

Ollie Dousset had a heavy experience surfing a big wave spot down south last winter which if you don't make the take off ends up washing across a craggy sloping ledge running from land.

It snagged and he'd practiced pulling the pin in the pool before but he said the extra pressure and tension put on it from the current across the rocks made it much much harder to pull. Also he didn't know the bend your knees trick but was calm and just before the third wave hit, he released with a big pull of the pin.

radiationrules's picture
radiationrules's picture
radiationrules Friday, 5 Mar 2021 at 10:40am

thanks Sea Slug & Stu for pic > I've never seen that before. led to another conversation with fellow surfers about your bend the knee idea too, after our breath holding end to swim session > all in all an excellent knowledge share.

batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink Friday, 5 Mar 2021 at 11:26pm

Great commentary, not a word wasted, just like he was keeping his oxygen stores intact on dry land.

Stu, totally agree, I’ve been out on waves not nearly as big as yours and thought, ‘I’ve made this bed, so lie in it’. A total necessity for anyone contemplating paddling out in solid swell. Although not Mavericks size, this weekend, I hope a few guys are saying that to themselves before paddling out. It is an absolute essential BEFORE paddling out.

I said in the golf forum that golf builds character. This is how surfing does the same. Whatever comes your way, you paddled out, deal with it. Those words mean so much more to me these days.

wallpaper's picture
wallpaper's picture
wallpaper Saturday, 6 Mar 2021 at 4:07pm

surfing and golf are character builders. jesus fucking christ it was beyond me not to respond to that garbage.

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot Saturday, 6 Mar 2021 at 9:03pm

If you’re paddling out into waves that you’re fearful of then absolutely it’s character building.

Remigogo's picture
Remigogo's picture
Remigogo Saturday, 6 Mar 2021 at 3:38pm

Great angles on the footage.

One should be able to really appreciate the experiences of Jeff Clark back in the beginning.. with this sort of footage.

billythekid's picture
billythekid's picture
billythekid Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 8:01am

that was the most most interesting big wave clip I've ever seen

andy-mac's picture
andy-mac's picture
andy-mac Sunday, 7 Mar 2021 at 12:20pm

Enjoyed that....
To have the balls and ability to take on waves like that must farkin amazing!

Mr.Tee on a long board's picture
Mr.Tee on a long board's picture
Mr.Tee on a lon... Tuesday, 9 Mar 2021 at 10:39pm

OMG !!! :-0

aterhorst's picture
aterhorst's picture
aterhorst Wednesday, 10 Mar 2021 at 9:34am

Add to the story cold water. It sucks the energy out of you.