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Surfing Life's Oakley Big Wave Awards
?Three guys were held down for two waves that day, and one of them almost drowned.?

18 November, 2011 : - - These are the dangers of surfing an isolated and intimidating break in the far south west of the continent where seven metre deep ocean swells explode over limestone reef, as explained by Big Wave Surfer, Mark Mathews. In the last couple of weeks, the West Australian coast has come alive with gigantic swells, thrusting the region back into the Surfing Life?s Oakley Big Wave Awards spotlight with renewed vigour.
From the madness has come magic: two thrilling contenders for the $35,000 prize pool. Both contenders ended in abrupt, violent and life-threatening wipeouts for the surfers involved; Maroubra?s Mark Mathews and the Gold Coast?s Ryan Hipwood.
Mathews is currently busy touring his feature film, Fighting Fear, with fellow Maroubra surfer and MMA fighter, Richie Vaculik, detailing their struggles, determination and journey to become professional athletes. Mathews has been victorious in the Awards at this location before, but this session was different.
?It was definitely heavier than I had surfed it before, a lot heavier,? Mathews says. ?A lot of waves weren?t actually makeable. The majority of waves I?ve ridden here hit the reef perfectly, but some of them just got really ugly? this was one of the ugly ones.?

Ryan Hipwood agrees of the dangers surrounding this session, ?It is always a hard to judge out there. You can?t really tell how big it is till you see someone on one. I?d say it was anywhere between 12 to 20 feet. It can be one the heaviest waves in the world.? And when things go wrong on one of these giant, slabbing waves, the consequences can be dire.

?You don't want to get hit by that lip,? explains Mathews, ?You feel like your legs are going to be ripped off. If you leave any part of your body stretched out, it'll take it. I've torn the ligaments off my knee out there.? Despite the dangers, these latest entries in Surfing Life?s Oakley Big Wave Awards sum up the essence of this prestigious competition ? commitment, daring, suspense ? and, of course, one REALLY BIG WAVE!

With only two and a half months remaining in the competition period, and an active late season southern ocean making itself felt from Western Australia to New Zealand, the scene is set for another bar-pushing, precedent-setting event. The Awards will be judged in early February 2011.

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