Ian Walsh has experienced situations while big wave surfing that most mortals could never dream of. On more occasions than he would care to recall, the zipper on Walsh’s protective life vest failed due to the force of a bad wipeout in big waves. Quite literally busting open from end-to-end, his life vest left him nearly defenseless and scrambling for survival.
As Walsh explains, “I hit the water so hard on one wave that the life jacket I had on broke. It blew the zipper open, so when I hit it was a like a parachute just opened on my back and put me to a dead stop. I was probably going like 40 or 50 miles an hour.”