Creating Mark Visser

Stu Nettle
Surfpolitik

In July of this year a session went down in Tasmania's deep south that the mainstream media reported as the largest waves ridden in Australia. The crew who surfed it were mostly local Tasmanians yet the only person who made the headlines was Sunshine Coast surfer, Mark Visser.

The exclusive exposure given to Visser is no surprise for anyone who's followed his transformation from struggling 'QS journeyman to Big Wave Adventure Athlete.

The public image metamorphosis of Visser commenced in 2009. I first noticed it when I began receiving an unsolicited stream of press releases updating me on his health and whereabouts. Amongst other things I was informed that Mark Visser: had just 6% body fat; can hold his breathe for over six minutes; that he was nominated as an eligible bachelor and would appear with his shirt off; and also that Visser's jet ski was currently being loaded on to a plane.

Big news that last one...

Visser had a management team behind him creating and disseminating press releases and I've no doubt it was they who informed the newspapers following the aforementioned Tasmanian session. As the editor of Swellnet the press releases were sent to me in the hope that I, in turn, would inform you about their client. Each 'news' snippet referred to him as Big Wave Surfer Mark Visser and they positively reeked of PR brand-building. I treated them with the disdain they deserved.

Yet somewhere along the way – between the bare-chested portraits and the big-wave acclaim – the press releases found purchase with people of influence.

A production team spotted potential in Visser's act and has since been bankrolling his projects. Since connecting with them Visser's upward trajectory has steepened dramatically with, first of all, a night surfing stunt at Jaws back in January, and now a well-documented hunt to ride a 100 foot wave. The latter replete with slick production and the entire gamut of Navy SEAL imagery and equipment: tight black suits, big planes, and hand gestures exchanged by people with very serious facial expressions.

Mark Visser is now a Big Wave Adventure Athlete, and people – a great number of them - are paying attention to him. The metamorphosis is complete.

In amongst my cynicism there are lessons to be learnt in this story and they should be noted by anyone hoping to follow Visser's lead and break free of the surf industry. The first is this: 'If you keep selling yourself someone will eventually buy'. While the second lesson is far more simplistic: 'Don't listen to your critics'.

The fact is, Mark Visser used an initial burst of shameless promotion to create an image that launched him into the public eye and then onwards to the people who counted. He's now got the resources to attempt something no surfer has done before. And for that he deserves kudos.

However, before I scarf all the humble pie, I do reserve one last slice of cynicism for Mark Visser and his 100 foot quest. It is this: there is no way on God's great Earth that he will ever find and ride a 100 foot wave - the science is dead against him. That said, I highly doubt Mark Visser will start listening to his critics now.

Comments

ryder's picture
ryder's picture
ryder Thursday, 8 Sep 2011 at 11:33pm

Great observation Stu. It had to be said.

It's laughable that he's been blowing his own trumpet for a few years now and still no major sponsors have jumped aboard, more like "filler" sponsorships.

I clearly recall a trip to the southern states he did. Then roughly 12 months later I picked up a TRACKS mag and find a double page ad for a watch maker I think it was. The context of the ad was about adventure and they marked the spot on a map where he had surfed; somewhere near the continental shelf way south of Oz. In reality it was nowhere near where he and others surfed and he single handedly turned a quiet trip with mates into a public relations exercise. He lost credibility with me right there and then and everything since has been to push his own agenda.

One forum member on here not long ago summed it up perfectly calling him out as the "Eddie the Eagle of tow-surfing". How true it is but I loved watching The Eagle, he was likeable.

The majority of surfers are some of the humblest guys going around. Blowing your own trumpet isn't being humble. More like grandstanding. People, his peers and potential sponsors can see straight through the bullshit. His stunts are comical and are forgotten pretty soon after the event. But watch the mainsteam media jump on his bandwagon labelling him everything positive under the sun. A bit like a contestant on Big Brother looking for his 15 minutes of fame.

tbp's picture
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tbp Thursday, 8 Sep 2011 at 11:55pm

Yeah Ryder,
But Mark has choosen his path & does it really well. You might not be interested but I recon that he wont have problems to convince the general public to take notice. I saw his story on Sunrise the other morning & he had Koshie all excited about what he is doing.
I say good on Mark.
Guaranteed you will have a look to see what he's up to next - good or bad.
Tim Bonython..

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 Thursday, 8 Sep 2011 at 11:59pm

It's all a bit nauseating but I guess when the QS deal closed in on him and he checked out his mates lugging bricks or selling mobile phones and some slick-talking guy threw him a lifeline that he thought "what the fuck have I got to lose".

He still has to throw himself over the ledge and deal with the poundings and for that alone I reckon he deserves a fair go.

He sure wouldn't be the first surfer to carve out a career via shameless self promotion.

prawnhead's picture
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prawnhead Friday, 9 Sep 2011 at 12:33am

mark foo, ken bradshaw ..classic examples.....only problem with extreme stunts is when you finish with the sublime you end doing the ridiculous..
good luck to him though if he can carve out a career doing what he loves!

the-roller's picture
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the-roller Friday, 9 Sep 2011 at 1:28am

That's mod con surfing... And there is all sorts of ways to do it theses days...

Establish a brand names.

Yew!

gannet's picture
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gannet Friday, 9 Sep 2011 at 2:21am

Yeah sickening ain't it?

But how is this guy's trip any different to all those hundreds of other 'professional freesurfers' out there?

Maybe its that he doesn't have a big industry sponsor doing his PR for him but instead relies on 'mainstream' PR firms or (shock-horror) SELF-PROMOTION.

Whatever....

Biggest respect to all those real underground blokes doing it for the love with no need for self aggrandisement or any kind of image promotion.

ie Let your surfing do the talking

jimmy-dell's picture
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jimmy-dell Friday, 9 Sep 2011 at 2:29am

Being one of the Tasmanians mentioned above i was a little shat at the lack of courtesy Visser afforded those that had been surfing that wave for a very long while. We have seen some pretty large waves pass through on earlier events, without the fanfare. While preparing to jump off the point, Visser made no attempt to discuss his intentions to us and basically just ripped the lid off the place. Not that this is a big deal as it is unlikely to be a spot that'll draw a crowd given its fickle nature and nasty demeanor. Mark Visser's mission of self flattery was just a bit of a graceless foray.

There have been other "names" visit the wave in the past that have shown way more grace and class.

I'll address this next comment directly to Mark (or any other try hard pro): Next time, if you are coming back to Tasmania for a "training session" leave your camera and your ego at home, get to know the locals and basically show some respect. Aside from the Shippies circus, Tassie is a low key place and we like it that way, there is no real nasty vibe or the like, but when fly-in fly-out visits and media stunts like yours occur, they leave a sour taste in our mouths and a kind of "anti-aloha" feeling - to me, this isn't what surfing is about.

Following this experience and exposure I can understand why other parts of the country and the world are less welcoming to characters of your ilk. Tassie is true wilderness surfing, and wilderness etiquette is to arrive with respect for your surroundings, tread lightly, leave nothing behind and take away nothing but good memories. Please keep this in mind when you visit this island and it might just remain the quiet wilderness we all enjoy.

mtc's picture
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mtc Friday, 9 Sep 2011 at 4:00am

I commend the guy. So he turns up for a surf with a camera. How is that any different to anyone these days with a GoPro or something, or any pros who turn up with a myriad of photogs in their back pocket (no offense intended to them).
The Tassie locals seemed upset or bummed that they weren't shown courtesy. Was he rude? Was he using your property? Localism is a stupid issue in surfing. I agree that you respect local breaks, but to be honest, people should respect everyone wherever they go. But just because he doesn't share his plans with a bunch of guys he doesn't really know, does that make him non courteous? Are you surfing it for the recognition or just the 'aloha' feeling? Who cares what people do. As long as he isn't bullshitting, degrading others or letting 'secrets' out of the bag, then I say "Good on ya Mark" for having a crack at something different. How many people reading this forum would dream to be traveling the world and getting paid to surf?? Well he's created a niche that works for him. He hasn't created it to drag others along for the ride, similarly comparable to anyone in business in any context.
If you want kudos, then you need to perform for the masses. If you want to just enjoy the ride, then do that, but don't whinge about others who prefer the kudos. Each to their own.

derra83's picture
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derra83 Friday, 9 Sep 2011 at 4:13am

That photo looking out the bomb-bay doors. Is there a 100 foot wave down there? Are there any waves at all? Must be up reeeeally high.

trigger's picture
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trigger Friday, 9 Sep 2011 at 4:15am

Well said mtc, the guy is out there doing it, he's not offending anyone and is giving people enjoyment in what he does, sounds like Stu has a touch of Tall Poppy syndrome because he didnt discover Mark before anyone else.

stunet's picture
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stunet Friday, 9 Sep 2011 at 4:34am

Discover him, Trigger??

What would I, a website editor, do with him?

rjl's picture
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rjl Friday, 9 Sep 2011 at 5:14am

SOON VISSER WILL NOT BE WELCOME TO SURF ANYWHERE BECAUSE HE WILL END UP DISRESPECTING EACH PLACE HE GOES TO, AND THEN ALL THAT WILL BE LEFT TO DO IS TO JUMP THE SHARK, CAN`T WAIT!

top-to-bottom-bells's picture
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top-to-bottom-bells Friday, 9 Sep 2011 at 5:22am

Does Bobby Martinez know you've taken his keyboard?

totem-of-scrotum's picture
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totem-of-scrotum Friday, 9 Sep 2011 at 5:57am

Here's a doozy from Mister Visser "A big wave rider is someone that only chases big wave swells - about 30 ft plus, pro surfers surf baby waves, just breaking on the shore."

Visser tried to be a pro surfer for many years but failed and now he belittles them. Funny, he couldn't win a single heat at Teahupoo or Hawaii when it counted.

dandandan's picture
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dandandan Friday, 9 Sep 2011 at 6:18am

Great to hear your point of view Jimmy. As a fellow Tasmanian I have seen professional surfers filter in and out, and all of them have been nothing but respectful. Photos that were published were often not named (despite being the most well known waves in the state)and had always appeared long after the event. The way Mark was welcomed along to a little known wave, on the day of days, and turned it into a media event just leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Should anyone care what I think? Not really... But if this continues to happen more often, you can expect that your next trip to Tasmania will be met with suspicion in place of friendliness.

rail2rail's picture
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rail2rail Friday, 9 Sep 2011 at 7:01am

I married a Taswegian and go back there every year and surf in that wonderful state. Tasmanians certainly are friendly, just don't ask them where the surf is! But fear not for your waves. It's cold and it's fickle.
But yeah, maybe Visser needs to show more respect, but no worse than a bunch of pro's using a jet ski to whizz them back into the line-up at spots that are Paddle-in waves only!
So Visser couldn't win a heat, but Anna Kournakova couldn't make it past the quarter finals in Tennis. Bit of self promotion and short skirts certainly didn't do her career any harm.
Is it any different to a bloke like Paul Morgan or Mark Mathews who've carved out a career (with self promotion as well) surfing the waves that they do? So Visser has a PR machine. So what? And why would Visser give Kudo's to the Hardcore blokes who surfed that epic day and take the gloss away from his own triumphant feats considering that this is what he is getting paid to do?
Sounds to me like Visser has a plan. A plan to not lay bricks and sell mobile phones.
As for the cynicism about the quest to surf a 100ft wave, maybe that Cynicism should also be directed at Ross Clarke-Jones who has banged on about this for ages. No disrespect to a hell man like RCJ, But isn't that in essence a bit of self promotion too??

sunrise-shorey's picture
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sunrise-shorey Friday, 9 Sep 2011 at 9:39am

@rail2rail I think you raise some pertinant points in regard to the shaeless promotion for the Mark Matthews, Paul Morgan and RCJ crew, however I'd like to raise a couple of issues that seperate the above mentioned.
Firstly RCJ has one the Eddie, and competes in the big wave arena, yes he his making some cash doing the Red Bull thing. But comparisons should end there.
Mark Matthews and Paul Morgan like to get big pits on slabs and make money doing it. There are no gimmacks (less ski/cameras), just big barrels from a dedicated bunch of New South Welshman.
Vissar is about gimmacks, period. Towing at night, gimmee a break. The new gimmack chasing waves out to see, doing a parachute load follow. That's just dumb. Think about the safety issues. No support crew, no medical help, and no recovery.
I think the only aspect that has been appropriately thought through is the camera, and hanging with that arse clown Koche.
I do feel envy that he is surfing massive waves, but seriously where was he when Chopes hit Mack 10...

jughead's picture
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jughead Saturday, 10 Sep 2011 at 12:55am

Ah
hahahahahahaha

www.chasingmonsters.com

You won't see planes, night riders or parachutes.
You will see legit men and women paddling I'm to bigwaves.
Real people who like Real Big waves.
Not stunts and promotions.
Dorian, Healy, Long, Couto, Ben Wilkinson, etc.
Most mainstream people haven't heard of these guys.
They are surfers, not media hounds.

Each to their own.

stunet's picture
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stunet Saturday, 10 Sep 2011 at 6:24am

@rail2rail

There's a difference between RCJ's quest to surf a 100-footer and Mark Visser's. RCJ - and others like him (see post above) - are hunting waves that break over reefs and shoals in defined locations. Sometimes they break a long way offshore but other than the oversized nature of the waves they are exactly the same as the waves that break at your local beach.

Visser, on the other hand, is chasing open ocean waves at sea. At least that is how his trailer is selling it. I mean, why else say 'Scientists are just discovering them' if they are talking about normal waves? And why jump out of a plane if they can reach it by a boat?

So it appears he's planning to ride open ocean waves, which - other than ultra-rare and impossible to predict 'rogue waves' - don't get to 100 feet in size. It's a fundamental rule of oceanography that waves get bigger when they feel the ocean floor, not the other way around. Therefore the largest ridable waves break over reefs and shoals and not in the open ocean.

Hence my cynicism...

luba's picture
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luba Saturday, 10 Sep 2011 at 6:59am

Is old mate Visser just bored?. why not jump out of a plane then surf?. Go hard mate. Be respectful.

sunbay76's picture
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sunbay76 Saturday, 10 Sep 2011 at 9:50am

Jimmy Dell we have seen your tassie boys turn up here with photographer at almost secret spots. Say they are just surfing, next thing there is a spread in ASL, internet shots a 'desert' special spread etc etc. More and more people turn up chasing these perfect waves. Not good. Keep the cameras at Shippies and Bicheno. Please.

solo's picture
solo's picture
solo Saturday, 10 Sep 2011 at 12:10pm

I'm with Jug and a few of the others on this one.
Visser is the laughing stock of those who are serious about surfing big waves. He has no credibility and won't until he pays his dues and is respectful.
If anyone is looking for inspiration or someone to look up to, look no further than the names Jughead has mentioned, especially the Long brothers. They have surfed more big waves than anyone else and most of the waves they have surfed remain a secret to them. No stunts, no hype, no disrespecting others, just low key pure fun.
MV is just another self promoting oxygen thief.

sandspit's picture
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sandspit Saturday, 10 Sep 2011 at 3:37pm

Seems MV has been trying to raise interest in his profile for a while. Found this article from 2004 in a google search - 'Coast WQS surfer lands a break with Beckham', a news story about him being approached by a talent scout to appear in a Pepsi commercial. Its newsworthiness is dubious at best, just typical celebrity scenester stuff. But the big question is - did it ever happen at all?

http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/story/2004/09/30/scd-coast-wqs-surf...

Here is the Pepsi clip with Beckham -

mjp's picture
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mjp Sunday, 11 Sep 2011 at 2:46am

im frothin to see him jump out of a plane with his ski..... if he scores the biggest waves ever i reckon its alltime..... whether its a slab or an open ocean fluff burger, im still interested and want to see it.... and i guarantee if it happens that all of u will wanna see it too... better than watching some other gay reality show like farmer wants a whore

mikehunt207's picture
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mikehunt207 Sunday, 11 Sep 2011 at 4:20am

The best thing for Visser being so far out to sea is that nobody will see what he really does and he can tell and edit anything he wants. He tried that in WA on a coastal watch clip saying he paddled a certain bombie , thing was he was watched, he didn,t paddle and towed the easy option left insted of the right.Night surfing Jaws was a start with all the flashing lights ,bells and whistles nobody really called him on the fact it was about 8ft.Talk is cheap, and impressing the mainstream population with stunts is easy. Buring bridges is easy too, Visser is not welcome in Margaret River any more, sound like same goes in Tassie. Shirt off shots with pit bulls,homoerotic webites, random non surfing related sponsers,even Kotchie on the morning show barely containing his laughter. I guess it will give him something to think about as he bobs around in the liferaft waiting for the taxpayer to pay to rescue him after this next publicity stunt.I once knew a girl who could hold her breath for that long (breathing through her ears) guess how she got the practice for that?

whaaaat's picture
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whaaaat Sunday, 11 Sep 2011 at 5:55am

I hear you, MH207, I hear you. Well said.

@mjp - who are you, precisely????

the-roller's picture
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the-roller Sunday, 11 Sep 2011 at 6:06am

Many times making money thru surfing is all about successful marketing. And history proves one does not need to be successful at the delivery end of the deal.

Alex Cooke aka Ace Cool comes to mind.

gman's picture
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gman Sunday, 11 Sep 2011 at 11:16pm

Everyone who has commented on this story, be it positively or negatively, has contributed to the MV phenomenon. The bloke's a genuis! The Lady Gaga of surfing

thermalben's picture
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thermalben Sunday, 11 Sep 2011 at 11:35pm

You're spot on gman. However, Visser's longevity as an action-sports hero will be dictated by the substance of his movie. He's set the bar extraordinarily high with all of the pre-release hype.

patty's picture
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patty Monday, 12 Sep 2011 at 12:12am

Lady Gaga hey? Fake phallus and all.

atticus's picture
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atticus Monday, 12 Sep 2011 at 12:26am

When people sell themselves in the marketplace then they open themselves up to the same judgements as all other commercial products. Mark Visser may well be a nice person, but if the image and movie he is selling is false then he should be criticised the same as any other snake oil salesman.

sophie's picture
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sophie Monday, 12 Sep 2011 at 1:18am

Haters gonna hate

stunet's picture
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stunet Monday, 12 Sep 2011 at 1:36am

No hate, Sophie, at least not from me. Just a bit of media deconstruction is what it is. The Gruen Transfer meets Media Watch on the 'net.

oh-really's picture
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oh-really Monday, 12 Sep 2011 at 1:56am

Give the bloke a break. He's trying to make a living off his skill-set.
PS - Media Watch sucks. Please don't go down that road stu.

whaaaat's picture
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whaaaat Monday, 12 Sep 2011 at 3:18am

I don't subscribe to the popular myths that we Aussies always like to give everyone a fair go, that we love to thumb our noses at authority, and that we always love the underdog. They may have been features of previous generations, but there is little evidence of them today. Just note the result of today's Caucus meeting vote if you think otherwise.

I do, however, like to think that we still have our forebears' outstanding bullshit detection faculties.

I know that mine well and truly goes off the scale when I consider MV's, erm, "skill set".

Skill set???!!!

"Shill set" would be much more accurate.

wannabe's picture
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wannabe Monday, 12 Sep 2011 at 7:54am

"Mark Visser: had just 6% body fat; can hold his breathe for over six minutes; that he was nominated as an eligible bachelor and would appear with his shirt off; and also that Visser's jet ski was currently being loaded on to a plane".

What the hell has any of this got to do with surfing big waves ????
Answer: nothing !

Paddling into big waves is the purest of pursuits. It teaches you humility and respect towards everything and everyone in life, pretty obvious he has spent very little time doing this.

If you want to be famous Visser then go to hollywood, put to good use your already well developed "acting skills" and get the fuck out of the surf.

Same goes with any of you other clowns out there on the same path and you know who you are !

You have no right to drag the sport of kings down to some trashy reality tv show bullshit level just to satisfy your own ego !

ryder's picture
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ryder Monday, 12 Sep 2011 at 9:51am

Not seeing Visser in Tahiti recently on the day of days kinda says something.

wesley's picture
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wesley Monday, 12 Sep 2011 at 10:10am

What could you do with him Stu? Why you could have released a whole range of action figures like the old He-Man ones and sold them in Big W.

andycramer's picture
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andycramer Monday, 12 Sep 2011 at 10:32am

Every weekend millions of people around the world paddle out, catch that first wave in 7 days and think man I wish I could do this everyday. Every weekday morning hundreds of thousands of people around the world lucky enough to live with the ocean at our doorstep paddle out, surf for a hour, then have to drag themselves off to work......but everyday a luck few get to wake up and live the dream..... visser looked like he was going to fall short of that dream but obviously made the hard decision to back himself and not settle for less. If you cant respect him for the crazy shit he does you at least have to respect him for that. I dont know him so I hope he isn’t a cockhead, but im going to give him the benefit of the doubt, at least he is having a crack.

visserfan's picture
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visserfan Monday, 12 Sep 2011 at 11:15am

@andycramer I'll put your mind at rest. MV is not a cockhead. Nor is he a genius. Nor will he claim to be. I am very fortunate to know him really well. Mark is doing what every person on this earth should do.. The very best with what he is given. Every day he wakes up and trains as hard as any high profile athlete. He works as hard as successful business person. He works hard at making the most out of every opportunity that comes his way. ask any successful person how they became very successful. You will hear the same answer from athletes and business people. Hard work. Marks success is a result of hard work. If you do not see him at a big swell he is not hiding - he is working hard on something huge. Everything you see that MV does is result of hard work. Every person I see who get s to know Mark is inspired to live. Inspired to achieve. There is no doubt that Mark is out there doing things that other people have not done. Everyone can have an opinion - however lets make sure we respect what someone is doing... Trying new things, having an adventure of a lifetime, creating entertainment, inspiring other people to follow any dream. He has my utmost respect. I also know of many highly intelligent people who respect him personally. Lets all hope that we can be respected in our own life accomplishments whatever they maybe be.
I think it is an amazing era of so many different sports and the cameras these days bring an amazing feeling to those like me who will never be in their shoes. Respect and thanks..

stuz's picture
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stuz Monday, 12 Sep 2011 at 11:44am

So many wonderful opinions.

whaaaat's picture
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whaaaat Monday, 12 Sep 2011 at 11:46am

Pass me the bucket....

stunet's picture
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stunet Monday, 12 Sep 2011 at 11:39pm

Thanks for taking the time to post Visserfan, and you too Andy Cramer, but saying someone 'works hard' is a pretty thin justification for defending what they do. If that's the case I know a great many people - good and bad - who have worked hard and didn't get what they deserved. If he really is a worthy bloke, then all the best to him.

But at any rate, I was more concerned with the other side of the Mark Visser brand - the one created through the relentless manipulation of the media and the means by which he has created that image. I've got a healthy distrust of media spin and it seems to me that Mark Visser has been engaging in a lot of it. Just because he's a surfer, and just because he works hard, doesn't mean he's above questioning.

eclipse's picture
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eclipse Tuesday, 13 Sep 2011 at 2:11am

media spin??? who cares? the guy is just out there doing his thing. ofcourse the media are going to give me him headlines when he is the first to surf jaws at night the first to jump from a plane with a jet ski. He is fit as. can do big breath holds. Hello its cool to watch. and i will watch the next guy who does somthing cool too. You seem pretty set on taking him down stu whats he done to you? i would let him be, your starting to look too cool, fun police-ish.

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stunet Tuesday, 13 Sep 2011 at 2:19am

@eclipse,

I care because I pay attention to and comment upon the media. Why do you care what I think?

eclipse's picture
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eclipse Tuesday, 13 Sep 2011 at 2:39am

Well no offence but to be perfectly honest i don’t really care. I just clicked on the link because i thought you might be showing some of the cool stuff visser is up to.

Peace and nice photos thanks stu.

whaaaat's picture
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whaaaat Tuesday, 13 Sep 2011 at 2:54am

Why care? Because the truth matters. Authenticity matters.

And let's not get all post-modern by saying that, as all apparent realities are only social constructs, Visser's reality is just as valid as another big wave surfer's who doesn't employ a spin meister and doesn't covet the limelight.

Trust your bullshit detector.

Say NO to spin. Wherever and whenever it occurs.

dandandan's picture
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dandandan Tuesday, 13 Sep 2011 at 12:29pm

@ eclipse.

As a surfer you should care. You, as well as Mark Visser and everyone else on the planet, have every right to get out and 'don your own thing' when it comes to surfing. It is more or less completely unregulated. But the actions of me, you, and 99% of surfers going surfing does not involve exploiting it (for lack of a better word)for financial gain. That however is not mine, or most others, gripe. My gripe is that Visser's deal is with a non-surfing audience. Stunts such as his can be likened to Bear Grill's antics. They inspire people who might not otherwise be interested to get out there and be extreme,macho, fearless and more or less bring more crowds to the line-up. Is that a good thing? I say no. There are already enough surfers and the surfing media (which I am a hopeless consumer of) already attracts plenty more each year. But branching out to other parts of society (the Bear Grills Crowd for example) is unnecessarily inspiring others to join in. Am I selfish for not wanting to attract more and more surfers to the waves? No, not as long as it is not at the expense at others. But Visser is selfish, because his antics do have the potential to make mine and others time in the water less enjoyable.

grug's picture
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grug Tuesday, 13 Sep 2011 at 5:15pm

re-read eclipses posts... you aint MV himself trying to come across as a 'casual MV fan' are you sir? They appear to be constructed efforts to provide a punters support for MV... you either are a real fan, albeit a little bit windy inside the old noggin (which would provide evidence for a few intimations already made above), or you're trying to sound like that deliberately. maybe a media spin doc on the job for MV. Maybe MV in himself in damage control? smelly.

eclipse's picture
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eclipse Tuesday, 13 Sep 2011 at 8:43pm

@grug no dude I'm not mv. Lol wish I was but then I wouldnt have to work my shitty job. My point was that once you have done a few cool things/ stunts the media will want to see more and they would most likely run a vis story over a lesser know surfer. Which sounds like the case for the tas surf trip if the others boys didn't get a mentioning.

Peace

thermalben's picture
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thermalben Tuesday, 13 Sep 2011 at 9:07pm

eclipse, I think the difference between Visser and the Tassie boys is that Visser has his own publicist regularly pitching stories to the media (rather than the 'media wanting to see more because Visser had previously done a few cool things').

smith's picture
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smith Tuesday, 13 Sep 2011 at 9:14pm

Surprising what you get criticised for when you get the microscope out, isn't it Stu? Media scrutiny of this kind occurs to far greater degree in wider society, indeed 'spin' has become a dirty word, yet you get hung out to dry by some readers. Considering your past form this article was balanced and humble. The surfing world has an awful lot of growing up to do.

the-roller's picture
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the-roller Wednesday, 14 Sep 2011 at 12:09am

The key to this whole thing is the registered TM/trade mark attached to Mark Visser's name.

What ever anyone else may think or says here, or anywhere, is that this Mark Visser bloke has established his name as a brand name.

And old Stu Net? He can pat himself on the back for doing more than Mark Visser himself for establishing this fact... Even if old Stu may not be completely aware of this fact.

Surf marketing 101!

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stunet Wednesday, 14 Sep 2011 at 12:27am

Of course I'm aware of it, Roller. We're a little bit past 101 here. Try and keep up.

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jordan-evans Wednesday, 14 Sep 2011 at 12:59am

Ok guys. I was not a member of these hate-filled forums but felt compelled to join due to the stupid & non-educated comments in regards to Mark. Straight up the dude charges i've seen him paddle some massive rainy non-photogenic conditions here in Margies with no fan-fare just doing it for the love. Why is it ok for Ross Clarke-Jones & Tom Carroll to travel the world documenting there wave riding? If i recall correctly there were both tour surfers who moved into the big-wave arena when there time was up on the comp front. I guess everyone was full of hate at Ross being on 60 minutes or Sunday the other week in Brazil riding the river wave? I clicked on this article expecting some cool insights into a dude that pushes the limits of what is possible when you train hard & set your sights on a massive goal. The Tassie wave will never be crowded it is just to hard,cold & rare to score. However the South-oz waves i have seen them promote in various mags are very easy to drive to,consistant & very easy to find. Surfing will always draw different opinions i get that but if everybody laid off with the hate our sport could advance alot faster. If you were to look at this post after seeing Mark on Sunrise im sure you would be put off & view our sport as just plain weird if we are going to write a guy off for trying such a thing. In regards to your doubt of 100ft waves i suggest you come out on a tuna fishing boat in a large swell im sure you will be shut up rather quickly. Waves behave very different past the shelf & when Mark pulls this off i will happily send you a rather large peace of humble pie. Educate yourself a little & im sure you would have thought alot harder before writing such a weak article. Goodluck with the hating Stunet

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philw Wednesday, 14 Sep 2011 at 1:03am

mark visser just isn't cool enough, that's it really isn't it? it's pretty juvenile. there's plenty better targets for vitriol than some guy trying to make a buck using the media.

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stunet Wednesday, 14 Sep 2011 at 1:12am

@ Jordan,

Please post photo of 100 foot wave here on Swellnet. As for the rest of your post: Just because I don't fawn over Mark Visser slavishly means I hate him? Please read the article again.

@Philw,

As above - no vitriol just a bit of scrutiny. Mark Visser can do and will do what he likes. Hence the last line of my article

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the-roller Wednesday, 14 Sep 2011 at 1:49am

Stunet, Until your article, everyone in seppoland had never heard of the guy.

I'm sure he's more than appreciative of how you've assisted. As we will all hear much more from the guy.

There is no such thing as bad press... Just ask Bobo Martinez, and that Fart on The World trademarked brand.

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stunet Wednesday, 14 Sep 2011 at 1:57am

Never heard of him. Really?

He was a leading story on Inertia. Dave Mailman linked to him on Brewser's Blog. The same story of Visser's was in Surfer forum.

This is the internet, Roller, there are no national boundaries.

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adamweathered Wednesday, 14 Sep 2011 at 2:10am

Ha Ha that publicist has kicked some goals.

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stunet Wednesday, 14 Sep 2011 at 2:19am

Too right she has, Ad. She's nutmegged all of us.

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batfink Wednesday, 14 Sep 2011 at 3:24am

.."Lets all hope that we can be respected in our own life accomplishments"...

Alas, it's too late for me visserfan.

Holds his breath for 6 minutes! Really!

Geez, it was only a few years ago that the world record was just over 4 minutes. He is good.

And Stu, 'hater'. Man that word must jar.

Have an opinion these days and someone will call you a hater.

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freeride76 Wednesday, 14 Sep 2011 at 3:38am

Thats the power of the PR driven world we live in.

Question the hype and get called a hater.

I think he is getting a fair go here.

if he has an honest dig at making the hype reality.

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the-roller Wednesday, 14 Sep 2011 at 3:54am

With sponsors like Lexus, Yamaha, and a siggie board, looks like the guys doing alright.

Cheers for pointing him out, Stunet!

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blasphemy-rottmouth Wednesday, 14 Sep 2011 at 4:22am

Calling someone a "hater" is code for: I have three teeth, I fuck my sister every other Wednesday, I graduated the fourth grade to a career of blowing up trailers while baking meth, and it's the only other word in my MTV Dictionary besides "Faggit."

And Mark Visser will die a slow, miserable, and meaningless death. Just like the rest of us.

So it goes.

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batfink Wednesday, 14 Sep 2011 at 7:52am

So it goes! So it goes? B-R, you aren't Damage are you? Not even on the same continent. Hi ho.

Geez Stu, hasn't this thing got legs. Bet you thought this little piece would die in a ditch with 3 comments if you were lucky.

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the-roller Wednesday, 14 Sep 2011 at 8:27pm

bat, Old Rottkamp is not Damage. But, because of his own life choices, he IS quite damaged.

As he's continually told of his severe alcoholism,.. and appaerently showing the signs of bipolar disorder, traumatic brain injury, and probable borderline and narcissistic personality traits...

Let's hope his end does not come similar to Earnie H, Ketchum Idaho, circa 1961.

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warner Thursday, 15 Sep 2011 at 1:10am

What a shameful article attacking an aussie surfer having a go at something different (and dangerous) on the world stage. Could it be that it is all right, according to Stu, that Storm Surfers pursue 100ft waves, because Swellnet forecasts for them, while Visser uses their competition? I am embarassed Swellnet (and BenM) are associated with this.

Or could it be as the saying goes: those who can do, and those who can't become wannabe surf journalists. Visser is in the former category, Ass clown Stu definately in the later.

BTW, Cortez Bank, the known surf spot most likely to hold a 100ft wave according to Sean Collins of Surfline, lies 100+miles offshore and so an airdrop would definately work there, and in fact reduce the lead time for decision to go. No doubt there are more Cortez Banks out there that are undiscovered and in more remote places.

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benski Thursday, 15 Sep 2011 at 1:22am

I don't comment on the interwebs much anymore for many reasons but one of them is how people read want they want to read and not what's written there. This article is highlighting the PR and media spin in Visser's career. Nettle actually gives kudos to Visser in the article. Yet apparently he's a shameful hater.

The cynicism is directed toward the machine behind the man, not the man. There's quite a difference. And it's cynicism not criticism. There's quite a difference there too.

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blasphemy-rottmouth Thursday, 15 Sep 2011 at 2:20am

Benski,

You seem like a very smart man. Stu's point was plain as day and yet many are lost. You don't have to quit commenting EVERYWHERE.

Hope is on the horizon.

Yours in Jesus.

-BREW

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camboboog Thursday, 15 Sep 2011 at 7:51am

To take the sway away from Mark Visser as a person, and comment on the idea of the article is this: One of my good friends is now a high profile chef. He had to constantly promote himself to newspaper, magazine and online editors to gain media exposure. This took quite a few years of knock backs and denials to finally break through. During this time, he was at the mercy of critics every single day. One false move, one bad review and it could spell the end of what he had put years of passion into. His work has been validated not only by the media, but by the public for returning to the restaurant time after time.

If anyone cares to read Stunet's article for what it's worth, well it shines a light on the apparent ease in the surf industry to create a completely new media profile, with little to no scrutiny. The ironic part is that Stu has come under the microscope as much as Visser in the comments posted.

Perhaps for anyone out there who regularly chases truly large surf (i'm not one of them) get yourself a few industry emails, contact a few magazines and newspapers to expose yourself, if thats really what you want.

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viccosurfer Friday, 16 Sep 2011 at 6:48am

Of course nothing is said bad against Mark himself, the article never directly attacks him. It does however deflate any authenticity of Mark's work, by attacking credibility in his lack of 'rising through the ranks' of big wave surfers on the back of 'respect' and charging without any media spotlight.

Yes he does have a marketing team as any athelete does, therefore I don't really see the relevance on an article specifically on him.

Why would stu right this article then?

Obvious answer points to competition to storm surfers.. Warner highlighting a very good point of the searching for 100ft waves when swellnet does the forecasting. yet its impossible for MV to find them?

a merketing team won't help you in a 40 ft holdown.. Charging is charging

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thermalben Friday, 16 Sep 2011 at 7:34am

I'm impressed at the conspiracy theories! I can assure you though that there's no competition between Storm Surfers and Visser's production - they're two completely different projects, that have been conceived in completely different ways.

Visser is chartering new territories for surf films (as we hope Storm Surfers is too), so good on him for giving it a red hot go.

As for the 100ft wave thing - Storm Surfers are not chasing 100ft waves. We're chasing the biggest stuff we can find, but tight production schedules and the complexities of travelling with a 20+ person film crew has allowed us to spread the focus to a more diverse range of waves (across all sizes). We've just finished primary shooting for our new movie - which was filmed entirely in 3D - and the footage looks phenomenal.

viccosurfer - you said "Why would stu right this article then?" - Stu's written a tonne of articles on a wide range of topics, many of which have elicited similar responses to the comments on this one. Many of his previous articles can be found here:
http://www.swellnet.com.au/news/surfpolitik

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timmeh Friday, 16 Sep 2011 at 12:34pm

I did find it a bit weird when him and a couple of mates were sitting on the bottom of the kiddie pool here the other week while 4 year olds had a swimming lesson up the other end!

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viccosurfer Sunday, 18 Sep 2011 at 2:19am

Mmm the story does have some merit but maybe it would have been better to focus more on the industry in general than MV specifically. You cant expect the masses to believe that theres no competition at all between the two, because they have been conceived differently haha, two productions for mainstream viewers relating to pursuing big waves. I'd almost say direct competition.

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mk1 Sunday, 18 Sep 2011 at 11:54am

I picked up some of vissers tips of coastalwatch, pretty handy to have that stuff pointed out. If he charges, he charges (time will confirm). The surf industry is a mass of sellouts and media whores, nothing new there,, so who expected anything different?

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frog Monday, 19 Sep 2011 at 1:03pm

The Tassie boys must be amongst the most prolific publicist for their big wave exploits out there. Endless Shippies sessions from Stu and many other spots - so not really pure themselves or in a position to be the classic soul surfers. Visser has been imaginative and a bit more commercial but is following in a long line of surfers who tread the line between being cool and trying to make a living from surfing. If he does the 100 ft thing I'll be interested. His tips and vids I've seen seem pretty down to earth - but his big wave CV needs beefing up to catch up with his ambitions

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rjl Tuesday, 20 Sep 2011 at 5:47am

Frog.....Just cause Stu and his mates like taking photos of eachother and publishing spots for the first time doesn`t mean that the rest of the Tasmanian surf population are like that, or agree with what they do. Generations of surfers shared their waves with a few respected friends that could keep their mouths shut for a long time, unfortunatley for the most part that is now in the past and a fond memory in the minds of the lucky ones.
So please think before you comment about Tasmanians on a whole because it only takes one bad cook to spoil the broth.....

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frog Tuesday, 20 Sep 2011 at 9:05am

Not really fussed that they do publish heaps - Tassie is too cold and inconsistent to ever be a major destination. But the message in the article seemed that Mark making headlines was uncool when the locals who never??? would seek publicity like that were cool, seemed a bit rich. The locals have front page stories in local papers and lots of online "headlines". Both are okay by me but the finger pointing in the article at Mark was not really fair in the context of what goes on. By the way, Mark's video of holding his breathe with empty lungs for something like 2 minutes and then swimming the length of the pool underwater is impressive! Try even a fraction of that effort and you'll be battling big time. Got to give credit for that type of effort no matter how many big waves they have or haven't surfed.

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tmh Tuesday, 20 Sep 2011 at 10:55am

storm surfers not chasing 100ft waves benny and completely different project to storm surfers?

i just googled "storm surfers 100ft wave" and this came straight up;

http://stormsurfers.tv/meet-the-team/ross-clarke-jones/

"“I hope to tackle 100 foot. There are rogue waves that size, but they’re rough and not always ‘makeable’"
quote from "typhoon surfer" rcj

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thermalben Tuesday, 20 Sep 2011 at 11:33am

tmh, both projects are vastly different from each other for many reasons - the most obvious one right now is that we've shot a feature film completely in 3D, whereas I believe Visser's stuff is a multi-part documentary series.

Visser's project also appears to be more of a personal focus, whereas Storm Surfers features a number of personalities besides Ross and Tom (we travel and surf with Paul Morgan, Mark Mathews, Paul Paterson, Maya Gaberia plus the Tassie crew and a number of others). However, aside from the tidbits already released by Mark (his endurance work, the night surfing clip and a couple of stunts here and there), I don't know much else about what he's done. There's certainly been no teaser footage released from the mid-ocean plane jump mission.

As for chasing 100ft waves - we're not. I'm the person responsible for what swells we chase, and I've told the entire team that 100ft waves are not gonna happen for the purposes of the Storm Surfers project.

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tmh Tuesday, 20 Sep 2011 at 11:52am

well they arent that different to me mate and i'm the one that watches the shit.
"vissers stuff is more of a multi-part documentary series" you say...wow your right, that does sound heaps different to what storm surfers has been doing - http://stormsurfers.tv/documentary/

as for chasing 100ft waves, might wanna tell rcj its not gonna happen, or think about changing the website.

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thermalben Tuesday, 20 Sep 2011 at 12:00pm

Don't worry, I've already told him.

Back to the crux of the point you seem to be working off - what nobody probably knows is that from a production point of view, TV/movies are generally in competition BEFORE they begin shooting, when they're trying to secure funding/finance. Storm Surfers was seemingly in competition with a couple of well known big wave surfers last year, when we were pitching the 3D movie overseas - but ours was the one that got the go ahead. We hadn't even heard of Visser's filming stuff until after his night session. Hence why we're not in competition - the really competitive stuff happens behind the scenes.

That's my own experience anyway - it might be different for others.

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tmh Tuesday, 20 Sep 2011 at 12:15pm

mate i dont really care. im just bored and writing crap on the net.

it just seemed a little that u were trying make out that u guys were above what visser is doing when to me there is little difference.

thats my take on it anyway, but whatever i still like your site.

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grug Tuesday, 20 Sep 2011 at 12:46pm

Hey Ben, do you know how Maya is recovering post Teahupoo tow session wipeout? Sounded pretty bad but I haven't heard the full story or how she is now?

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benski Tuesday, 20 Sep 2011 at 4:24pm

@ frog

Just for curiosity on the empty lungs idea, they may talk about this in the footage you're referring to, but there is a school of thought that it's actually sensible to expel all the air in your lungs before going under. Apparently the need to breathe isn't created by a lack of oxygen but rather the build up of CO2 in your bloodstream. If you breathe in and out quickly before holding your breath you get rid of the CO2 before it can accumulate. You can then hold your breath for longer apparently.

I don't know how sensible it is for surfing - I saw it described in a doco (or Catalyst report maybe) on some free diver who uses the technique. Apparently seals do this, and maybe whales too. But I would think in ordinary surf you'd want a lung full of air for some buoyancy on wipeouts.

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thermalben Tuesday, 20 Sep 2011 at 7:41pm

@grug - I haven't spoken to Maya since then - I should follow up and see how she's doing! That was one serious beating.

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saltman Tuesday, 20 Sep 2011 at 10:49pm

The technique described above of hyperventilating before taking one breath and going under had been used by big wave surfers for many years, I think i read Brock little talk about it.
But am pretty sure its series of rapid inhale exhale folowed by one deep breath
Try it at the kiddies pool first - it works

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Craig Tuesday, 20 Sep 2011 at 10:57pm

Hyperventilating has been proven to be dangerous if over done, and can cause shallow water blackout.

I know a couple of free divers and they are against it, as you can blackout instantaneously without any warning.

Have a quick read of this..
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shallow_water_blackout

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benski Tuesday, 20 Sep 2011 at 11:27pm

Yeah I wasn't talking about hyperventilating. Just a deep breath in and out then go under. I would have thought hyperventilating would be pretty dangerous.

This is a transcript of the report I was talking about. It's a bit old now, 2004, but the dude held his breath for 8 minutes this way.

http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/s1129107.htm

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reality-check_2 Wednesday, 21 Sep 2011 at 6:51am

STOP PRESS !!!!
Breaking news ..... taking advantage of liberal gay marriage laws Jeff Rowley and Mark Visser got married to each other in a lavish ceremony at Central Park in New York yesterday.
The International Big Wave surfer (Mark) parachuted out of an airplane while the Extreme Big Wave surfer (Jeff)flew in on the back of an albatross !!!
All the big wave community wishes them the best for a happy future together.

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gannet Thursday, 22 Sep 2011 at 12:00am

just mind you don't kill that albatross Jeff

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offshoreozzie Thursday, 22 Sep 2011 at 1:14am

Susan Casey is Mark Visser's publicist?
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-15013474

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mikehunt207 Saturday, 24 Sep 2011 at 1:43am

I had thought the albatross flew out of Rowleys big mouth? With a bit of luck it will fly back and choke him out. Congrats to the newlyweds anyhow seems like a match made in heaven ,think of all the self promotion dollars they will be able to save and a tow surfer always needs a good "partner".

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hotpies Saturday, 24 Sep 2011 at 10:51pm

Like your work reality-check.

We know who's charging, this bloke is quietly goin about his surfing. You want see him on sunrise or hair wet dribbling absolute shit about birds flying overhead.

This bloke along with others right around Australia, leave memorable session's forever in back of your head.

and Black Thunder RIP

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mick-free Tuesday, 25 Oct 2011 at 7:33am
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mick-free Tuesday, 25 Oct 2011 at 11:53am

The future money is outside the surf industries, getting financial assistance from Toyota, Jeep (kite surfer Ben Wilson) is what gives you enough money to run a production surf team. To justify that you you need coverage, more press, more hits, more photos. Commercial networks will fund it too if you have genuinely good content that will rate, esp now we have more digital channels they need to fill the air time. From reading I think the founders of tow surfing would laugh at all the hype as they did it just to get away from the crowds. However we are moving to a different social 'era'. I'm ready to click on to see the next adventure whether its Mark, Tassie boys or whoever, just let me know if there is a spare seat. If a car company will give you 500k a year, wouldn't you want to aim a little higher? I am pretty sure Visser is not a fake unlike Miquel

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thermalben Monday, 21 Nov 2011 at 2:37am

Mark Visser's new movie (well, the first of a couple apparently) is set to be released in Sydney on Wednesday. Here's the trailer: http://www.eventcinemas.com.au/Movie/Night-Rider

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ryder Monday, 21 Nov 2011 at 6:32am

An event to be missed

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velocityjohnno Monday, 21 Nov 2011 at 7:31am

Stunet challenged everyone above to post the pic of a 100 foot wave. I don't know how to attach an image here at swellnet, but I will direct you to the picture here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wea00800,1.jpg
which is a wave encountered by the oiler USS Ramapo on the 100 fathom line in the Bay of Biscay on 7 February 1933. The wave was triangulated as 112 feet in size (34m).

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stunet Monday, 21 Nov 2011 at 7:56am

The USS Ramapo encountered it's 'huge wave' in the North Pacific not the Bay of Biscay. You have linked to a photo from another boat. There is no photo from the Ramapo.

In any case I was talking about 'surfing' waves. You know, waves you can catch, breaking over reef or sand, and not open ocean swells.

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velocityjohnno Tuesday, 22 Nov 2011 at 1:01pm

Stunet, you are right about the Ramapo. I wonder which ship the photo is from, then? I also agree with you that the largest waves will be surfed breaking over reef or sand or a seamount, and that open ocean swells are off limits until someone jumps out of a plane with a jetski and rides them... For this reason, I would suggest the Cortes Bank will be the place until we find other setups like this (Future Swellnet article on most promising seamounts?) Riding ocean waves in enormous seas would also mean encountering the upper ends of the Beaufort Scale, too: very dangerous indeed.

Also consider this article in the hunt for evidence of 100 foot waves:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,408953,00.html

So 5 feet short as recorded by instruments. Significant wave height of 18.5m with a a number of 29.1m (95ft) single waves. Very interesting comments on 'resonance' as a theory as to why the largest waves encountered were after the storm's peak. And also the implication from "The waves we observed were not predicted by the computer simulation" being that our models, as of 2006, did not factor in these waves. In the same article, however, it is suggested that the upper recorded waves fit well with the significant sea state observed. I'd be intrigued as to Ben's take on this.

In the financial markets, people have tried to fit a bell curve to the distribution of stock pricing - that is, the pricing of stocks can be expected to be placed within a 'bell' distribution dependent upon the volatility of the underlying at any time. People are regularly surprised when moves occur that drastically shoot past expected price ranges. I would posit that a more accurate 'fit' to actual pricing might be a 'bell', with 'tails' at either end. Could it be that waves might be similar?

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thermalben Wednesday, 23 Nov 2011 at 3:47am

Mark Visser's being interviewed on JJJ right now. A classic quote from the interviewer: "Apparently your film is the biggest thing in surfing since Point Break".

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thermalben Wednesday, 23 Nov 2011 at 3:48am

Interesting stuff velocityjohnno - I'll have a read shortly.

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mikehunt207 Wednesday, 23 Nov 2011 at 4:39am

Thanks Ben, i just could not help myself and follow your link, looks a lot like the next installment of Twilight, love that badass soundtrack too - was that lifted from The Omen? And I had thought he rode at night so nobody could see that it was really only very small Jaws rather than him being a vampire. That film can go strait to dvd and I still won,t watch it.

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mick-free Wednesday, 23 Nov 2011 at 7:08am

Surfline have posted a report of 5 wave 100 foot set arriving in the afternoon of November 26, 2001.

http://www.surfline.com/surf-news/-mavericks-part-two-epic-swells_62537/

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Craig Wednesday, 23 Nov 2011 at 7:25am

Seeing as they called that pictured shot of Carlos Burle 70ft, I would like to see the evidence of the 100ft set. I'd assume it is being overstated again..

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freeride76 Wednesday, 23 Nov 2011 at 7:47am

I don't think the biggest waves will come from surfing in the fetch Johnno.

There'll need to be some distance for the swell trains to sort themselves out and lose the "noise".

What that distance will be in terms of proximity of the fetch to the big wave location will be a fruitful area of discussion.

I've still got money on the North Pac but the phenomena of open ocean swells being "triggered" into massive rogue waves by the strongly southwards flowing agulhas current off South Africa/The Horn is interesting.

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Craig Wednesday, 23 Nov 2011 at 7:53am

Steve, I'm going with the Agulhus current region just off the south-east tip of South Africa where large open ocean swells meet head on with one of the strongest currents in the world.

Countless numbers of cargo ships and tankers have been lost there due to waves standing up larger than normally possible as they run against the current, with the bow and stern being simultaneously at the crest of two waves, with no support in the middle, causing the ship to snap in half or buckle.

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thermalben Wednesday, 23 Nov 2011 at 8:20am

OK - let's be very clear though.

There is a big difference between tracking a swell to a known reef or shoal and then surfing the waves that successively break on it, compared to tracking a swell to a known open ocean hotspot for rogue waves (ie the confluence of the Agulhas current and the Southern Ocean) and then somehow magically arriving at exactly the right place and time where a rogue wave appears.

One location is a small, defined area of breaking waves covering perhaps a couple of hundred square metres. The other is a large, undefined area of random, undefined waves - not always breaking - covering a couple of hundred square kilometres, or more.

Forecasting, tracking, travelling to and eventually surfing and filming successive rogue waves in the middle of the open ocean is therefore impossible.

I think the problem with Mark Visser's film is that he's blurring the lines between 'scientific' waves (ie what scientists are detecting via remote sensing), and 'surfing' waves - how surfers visualise the numbers presented to them.

Maybe that's part of his media strategy? He made quite a few dubious claims in his JJJ interview yesterday. However, in doing so he's set the bar extraordinarily high.

Then again, as GMAC's Nazaré effort has just shown, a wave is only as big as your media agency says it is.

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freeride76 Wednesday, 23 Nov 2011 at 9:11am

True.

But could there be an offshore seamount ala Cortes Bank off the South African coast?

One in the line of the agulhas current and exposed to open ocean swells?

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thermalben Wednesday, 23 Nov 2011 at 9:22am

I'm sure there probably are. However, this only slightly increases the probability - as far as I have read, seamounts are not a significant contributing factor for rogue waves.

"In 2004 scientists using three weeks of radar images from European Space Agency satellites found ten rogue waves, each 25 metres or more high".

http://www.economist.com/node/14446734?story_id=14446734

More detailed info here: http://www.esa.int/esaEO/SEMOKQL26WD_index_0.html

Ten rogue waves throughout the entire planet in three weeks? I'd rather try my luck for an empty wave at the Superbank.

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freeride76 Wednesday, 23 Nov 2011 at 9:34am

Well discounting the rogue wave phenomena for a second.

Would the agulhas current have an effect on increasing wave heights on a normal large open ocean groundswell?

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thermalben Wednesday, 23 Nov 2011 at 9:40am

Absolutely. It is well documented, and has been cited as the reason behind the sinking of several supertankers.

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Craig Wednesday, 23 Nov 2011 at 9:40am

^ Yes it does Steve. It decreases the wavelength of the waves and in doing so increases the height.

Much like bunching up a carpet rug against a wall or other object.

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fitzroy-21 Wednesday, 23 Nov 2011 at 10:23am

I could be stating the obvious or a little off the mark here, but have a look at a creek or rivermouth on an outgoing tide on a calm day and look at the effects it has on those small waves. They increase in size considerably and shorten the period. Very similar to the same conditions between reefs.

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thermalben Wednesday, 23 Nov 2011 at 12:12pm

Yeah, the principle's the same Fitzroy.

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thermalben Sunday, 27 Nov 2011 at 11:08pm

Here's a real time example of an 81-metre cargo carrier being apparently sunk by a rogue wave in the Irish Sea, of all places.

.."In broken English and through drawing a diagram, the second officer told us the ship was hit by an enormous wave. It rolled the ship and it broke its back. He said this led to a catastrophic failure of the vessel."

http://www.smh.com.au/world/prince-william-in-sea-rescue-mission-2011112...

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stunet Monday, 11 Feb 2013 at 5:11pm

How to retain a public profile without actually doing anything - Mark Visser knows! Check the headline, it namedrops Visser but it was Garrett McNamara who did the actual big wave riding:

http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/is-this-a-record-ride/1737597/

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offshoreozzie Tuesday, 12 Feb 2013 at 2:17am

So..... which wave is he referring to when he says this "The biggest wave I've surfed is around the 70-foot mark, but again, it's so subjective,". Someone refresh my memory because Tassie wasn't that big.... and the night Jaws session certainly wasn't.

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thermalben Tuesday, 12 Feb 2013 at 7:08am

Looks like Jeep have done a new TV commercial too:

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thermalben Tuesday, 12 Feb 2013 at 11:06am

Looking at the Sunshine Coast Daily article, and there are two interesting sentences:

"Visser said scientists can accurately determine swell size through a 'blue reading,' which measures the waves at 18 seconds for each 20 feet.

With such technology rarely used by surfers, Visser said that a lot of the time calculating wave size was a matter of opinion."

I've never heard of a 'Blue Reading'. And it doesn't make sense either ("measures the waves at 18 seconds for each 20 feet".. is the 18 seconds representative of the swell period? Or something else?).

Anyone else know what this might be?

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mick-free Tuesday, 12 Feb 2013 at 3:33pm

Had a look around for blue reading. Thought maybe included in some thesis on wave modelling or something. Anyway got skunked - must be a misquote, not sure of the calibre of the Sunshine Coast journo's. Understand though he's into Jeep for 400k annually plus a wagon to run around with. Ben Wilson gets a bit more. Good cash if you can get it

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thermalben Tuesday, 12 Feb 2013 at 3:38pm

Four hundred grand a year plus a free car? Jeeez.. I'm gonna start doing some pushups this evening. Followed by nineteen minutes underwater.

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mick-free Tuesday, 12 Feb 2013 at 3:44pm
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thermalben Tuesday, 13 Aug 2013 at 1:04pm

Breaking News! "Life is swell for big wave surfer Mark Visser with two Jeeps".

http://www.news-mail.com.au/news/life-is-swell-with-two-jeeps/1978232/

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udo Tuesday, 13 Aug 2013 at 1:36pm

ol captain two jeeps, had forgotten all about him....been very quite of late, should be down vicco this weekend in his jeep chasing large world record waves.

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udo Tuesday, 13 Aug 2013 at 2:06pm

actually no recent surf news at all for visser, big stuff around the globe has been charged , shippies ,Puerto, chile, Portugal, monstrous dungeons....no visser ?

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Craig Wednesday, 14 Aug 2013 at 10:02am

That is the most blatant piece of advertorial I've seen. And again no surfing..

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scum-dog Wednesday, 14 Aug 2013 at 11:00am

Swellnet, more specifically STU, makes me laugh! He criticises Visser
...' they positively reeked of PR brand-building. I treated them with the disdain they deserved.' but cant seem to see that SWELLNET acts in exactly the same way, by capitalising on individuals ego for wanting 1 minute of fame and publishing their photos (of often sensitive spots) to promote their own site, which in turn attracts advertising, which lines their pockets.

Stu mentions, Visser does the following... The first is this: 'If you keep selling yourself someone will eventually buy'. While the second lesson is far more simplistic: 'Don't listen to your critics'...

Isnt this exactly what SWELLNET does. Im not saying SWELLNET shouldnt, it exists for a reason, just dont be so ignorant in passing judgement....

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stunet Wednesday, 14 Aug 2013 at 11:06am

Swellnet said: "Don't listen to your critics."

Scum Dog said: "Isnt this exactly what SWELLNET does."

Swellnet replies: "Yes it is."

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thermalben Monday, 18 Nov 2013 at 3:14pm

Any update on Visser's movie? Hasn't been a peep for the last six months or so.

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southey Monday, 18 Nov 2013 at 6:22pm

MV & JR take turns ....
Its clearly been JR's turn in the last few years .

Perhaps theres been a Rogue shortage of freak waves . Either that or his skydive ticket expired ?!

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brutus Tuesday, 19 Nov 2013 at 8:49am

yeah Southey..JR has tried to do the same...he finished a marketing degree and then has set out to emulate MV....at least MV got some big $'s....and not from the surf industry.....

We have actually studied trying to catch a Rogue wave.......you are going to need to be going in excess of 100 KPH.....at least......oops that's enough

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thermalben Tuesday, 19 Nov 2013 at 12:50pm

brutus wrote: We have actually studied trying to catch a Rogue wave.......you are going to need to be going in excess of 100 KPH.....at least......oops that's enough
Fascinating stuff brutus. Would love to find out more!
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thermalben Friday, 14 Feb 2014 at 7:54am

Still no signs of the Nine Lives docco, but it looks like MV's getting active in the advertising arena right now (including some Jeep advertising on our website!).

&feature=youtu.be

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mick-free Friday, 14 Feb 2014 at 10:38am

He is punching it out to the mainstream too.

http://www.mensmuscleandhealth.com.au/PROFILES/tabid/4871/entryid/1313/T...

Interesting Quote "surfing on record-breaking swells thousands of kilometres off shore". Some journalistic liberties taken there.

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mikehunt207 Friday, 14 Feb 2014 at 10:58pm

adventurous and risk taking streak? What the fuck is that advertising?

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brutus Saturday, 15 Feb 2014 at 5:05am

seems like the whole talking up and manufacturing of stories to enhance a surfers reputation is failing.....

no sign of mark near any size surf in how long?? Not sure if he has the respect of his peers anymore after seemingly making up stories of riding waves in the middle of no-where .......Jeff Rowley talking about his 50'waves and blah blah and now dropped by his cancer charity because he gave nothing...

when you actually see how humble all the real big wave riders are.....its pretty easy to see the difference in personalities.......the young tassie guys are just doing it for the passion and the love.....as are all the greta big wave riders!!

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mikehunt207 Sunday, 16 Feb 2014 at 12:34pm

Looking like an add for a new mission impossible film on top of swellnet webpage today, "visser gearing up for his next challenge" - what could that be? Maybe actually catching a big wave somewhere and somebody else seeing it? Convincing the surfing public how genuine he is,Telling the truth even? Some big challenges there for mark if he decides to accept this mission.. This message will self destruct.....

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thermalben Sunday, 16 Feb 2014 at 4:20pm

Interesting to dissect the latest Jeep campaign. On MV's own site, it says "This campaign started airing on the 14th January and will continue for 3-4 months on cable TV, free to air networks plus the billboard and posters will be seen in all Jeep dealerships Australia wide. Stay tuned for more information on this commercial being viewed overseas!"

On the YouTube ad, the voice-over says: "Mark's adventure is about to begin. So sign up and come along for the ride".

I assume by this that he'll be live blogging (or in some other way providing real-time updates) during the next mission. Maybe they'll take a punter along or do something similar for publicity.

But, if the advertising campaign is 3-4 months long, and the outcome is for people who 'sign up' to eventually 'come along for the ride', this means that this next phase of the Nine Lives project can't really kick into gear until the end of that period - ie late May at the earliest.

Which realistically pushes back the release of Nine Lives until the middle to latter part of the year.

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thermalben Sunday, 16 Feb 2014 at 4:22pm

Also, it looks like he scored some good waves at Jaws last month. 

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mick-free Friday, 14 Mar 2014 at 9:03pm

In other news just got my latest update from Mark via email.

&feature=youtu.be

No footage of the firewalking though

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thermalben Friday, 14 Mar 2014 at 9:49pm

Holy shit.

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mikehunt207 Saturday, 15 Mar 2014 at 11:54am

You get me to bite everytime. WTF? Mark, big wave surfing? firewalking? Always ends up with Mark and a bunch of half naked guys ,( i guess the pitbull has been rehomed somewhere safer )and not much surfing, plenty of courage ? Anybody want to buy a Jeep?

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thermalben Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 at 11:02am

No news of any surfing exploits, however he's now got his own shop. MarkVisserShop.com

Where you can buy a Mark Visser Adventure Pack for $220! Containing, amongst other things, two different versions of his own MV-branded Leatherman.

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uplift Friday, 25 Apr 2014 at 3:48pm

He's also got a leggie with a double thickness, knotless string.

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wellymon Friday, 25 Apr 2014 at 4:51pm

No he doesn't Uppity, that stuff only comes in the post free.....
You can't buy that stuff mate.

What a huge promotional wank, he is not Bear Grills by no means.
Wheres the proof, oh yeah a couple of Jeeps, FFS...

Geez he's good at promoting himself.

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fitzroy-21 Friday, 25 Apr 2014 at 4:52pm

Promoting himself doing what.........................Nothing?

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stray-gator_2 Friday, 25 Apr 2014 at 6:35pm

Self-promotion with nothing to back it up?

What sort of wanker would do that?

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sir ambrose bea... Friday, 25 Apr 2014 at 6:47pm

UplifT

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uplift Friday, 25 Apr 2014 at 9:02pm

'Self-promotion with nothing to back it up?

What sort of wanker would do that?'

The same sort of terrified, gateless gimp that has spent their whole lives hiding and snivelling in terror. Or the same sort of useless, snivelling, chubby geek, that lives for the thrill of u turns and the trough, and bends over for gateless gimps.

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stray-gator_2 Friday, 25 Apr 2014 at 9:29pm

Big backswing. Good racquet speed. But, alas, another miss. How about you just concentrate on getting it back over the net, rather than going for an ace every serve? Very ordinary hand to eye for a former NBA wannabe.

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uplift Friday, 25 Apr 2014 at 9:43pm

Punchdrunk.

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udo Sunday, 11 Jan 2015 at 10:23am

Mark Visser will be the only aussie to compete for the title of "The Ultimate waterman" a challenge to be held in N.Z. in March, consisting of shortboard surfing,longboard,SUP,and outrigger canoe.
Visser has also been asked to train elite groups such as U.S. navy seals

Story in Qld courier mail

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thermalben Sunday, 11 Jan 2015 at 10:36am

Got a link Udo?

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thermalben Sunday, 11 Jan 2015 at 11:09am

"Expected to attract a social media audience of 50 million".

Gawd, they're oudoing the ASP with these kinds of claims.

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mick-free Sunday, 11 Jan 2015 at 11:25am

Just followed them on the gram. Now they have 69 followers

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brutus Sunday, 11 Jan 2015 at 11:30am

I think its a Red Bull event no??

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mick-free Sunday, 11 Jan 2015 at 12:01pm
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thermalben Sunday, 11 Jan 2015 at 12:24pm

Here's a clip of MV at TEDxNoosa 2014, where he talks in a little more detail about the "Operation Deep Blue" project.

Some of his scientific descriptions don't make a lot of sense, but perhaps he's just modified it for the intended audience (he is a very good public speaker).

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Rabbits68 Sunday, 11 Jan 2015 at 12:48pm

Cheers Ben, that was bloody awesome listening to MV. I had no idea this sort of thing was in the making. Wicked!!

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thermalben Sunday, 11 Jan 2015 at 12:54pm

Well, it's been in the making for quite a while. The trailer was released three and a half years ago!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhcFYa8hH6Y

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Rabbits68 Sunday, 11 Jan 2015 at 1:04pm

Wow that's some serious project in the making. Missed the trailer, clearly I've been living under the "big wave" rock :-) cheers

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udo Sunday, 11 Jan 2015 at 12:30pm

Been no sign of him at Nazare.

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thermalben Sunday, 11 Jan 2015 at 12:58pm

Gawd, how did we miss this article from the Sunshine Coast Daily back in 2012?

"Surfer waves goodbye to luxury for rugged look"

http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/surfer-waves-goodbye-to-luxury-for-rugged-look/1237772/

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thermalben Sunday, 11 Jan 2015 at 1:36pm

The SCD followed this up in 2013 with another article: 

"Life is swell for big wave surfer Mark Visser with two Jeeps"

http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/life-is-swell-with-two-jeeps/1978232/

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simba Sunday, 11 Jan 2015 at 2:18pm

Gotta give the man credit for following his dream and having a go,spoke well in that Tedx noosa clip above,good on him,certainly got balls.

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Rabbits68 Sunday, 11 Jan 2015 at 3:56pm

Stu, your call (back in 2011) re this post, "that he will never find & ride a 100ft wave", do you still stand by that or has your tune changed since? Whilst I respect the science factor (the known) but what about what we don't know? Having seen that recent session at Nazare, I reckon that his quest (and others) is possible, but only time will tell............imagine if all adventurers gave up there quests because science said it wasn't possible. Have you seen that doco "Storm in the clouds" (I think), about that chick that got sucked up into that thunderstorm whilst paragliding (not that she was on that quest). Science said she should have died without doubt. She survived & was back paragliding 6 days later with the same glider!! Awesome. My point being, who really knows for sure??

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stunet Sunday, 11 Jan 2015 at 4:13pm

Well I don't know for sure, there's always an element of uncertainty in such predictions. But I'm basing my opinion on what I know, what I've observed, and also what I speculate to be plausible. Mix 'em all together and I'm still pretty confident.

Happy to be proven wrong and happy to admit as much if anyone cracks a ton.

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Rabbits68 Sunday, 11 Jan 2015 at 5:41pm

Yep fair enough. Cheers

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brutus Thursday, 29 Jan 2015 at 10:14am

OK Stu...I reckon we will crack the 100' mark....Nazare is close....and could be the one. But.....there are a couple of new reefs that are awaiting ......and seem to be bigger than Nazare,but a bit more top to Bottom....I think that with all the forecasting and the ability for surfers to reach just about anywhere in 48 hrs....its just a matter of time...especially with the wild weather climate change is bringing...

Maybe its just a dream.....one mans dream is anothers reality!

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zenagain Thursday, 29 Jan 2015 at 10:03am

First time in ages that we've actually seen Mark Visser on a bomb.

Courtesy the Courier Mail.

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/mark-visser-takes-on-hawai...|home|nca-homepage-masthead-feature|1|heading|homepage|homepage&itmt=1422484472424

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udo Thursday, 29 Jan 2015 at 9:46am

With the many vids that have been recently posted on Jaws has anyone picked Visser on waves in them ?

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yocal Thursday, 29 Jan 2015 at 9:46am

'The key requirements for surfers included a high degree of skill, supreme fitness, amazing courage and the ability to hold their breath for a long time in the case of a savage wipe-out.'

love it

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caml Thursday, 29 Jan 2015 at 9:14pm

"mv" visser has just made the finals of the oakley / surfing life big wave awards . he could be a winner by the looks , its very close

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udo Thursday, 29 Jan 2015 at 9:34pm

Caml, fuck your entry is wild ,hell air on the take off..........im guessing at YB.
EDIT: shit you have 2 waves in it ...cow bombie as well.

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caml Thursday, 29 Jan 2015 at 10:02pm

cow bommie udo

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Rabbits68 Thursday, 29 Jan 2015 at 10:34pm

Caml that big wave entry pic at CB with two blokes on it, if that happened to win, is the award shared or is the guy on the inside?? Cheers. Epic entries yours, by the way!!

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caml Friday, 30 Jan 2015 at 12:13am

rabbit i dont know but you would think the inside guy ( mv) would , but yeah you would think the guy on the shoulder could deserve a small cut of the awards .

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Rabbits68 Friday, 30 Jan 2015 at 9:49am

Yeah intersting. Cheers

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southey Friday, 30 Jan 2015 at 1:36pm

Vissers stance and stature makes that wave look bigger .
if you cover up Jamie it looks massive , but if you cover up mv not so .....