The decision could mean life or death for Mark Healy.
Every surfer makes this decision, usually a few times per session: OK, I see I’m caught inside. Do I sprint-paddle out to sea, trying to make it over the top before the wave breaks in front of me? Or do I try to survive right here, getting my butt kicked in heavy whitewater?
If you go for it, but miscalculate, you just used up your breath & energy sprinting, only to put yourself in the worst possible spot. If you stay put, you are still going to have a bad time.
Mark Healy found himself facing the biggest wave on the biggest day in 20 years at Tavarua’s legendary Cloudbreak. Not too many individual waves become famous. But this one did.
According to witnesses, this particular wave actually rearranged refrigerator sized boulders on the reef, sending them flying on impact. Take a few minutes to hear Mark tell the story.
Surfline’s Great Breaks sells a gorgeous metal print of Mark just making it. But you’re not sure he survives when you see it. Surf photog legend Tom Servais named it: Beautiful Nightmare. We have a sample here in-store, printed on collector-grade 24×36″ metal. As a surfer, it’s the only shot here that’s hard for me to look at. Makes my stomach sink.
Which is how you feel when you’re caught inside.