Brad Domke just rode The Right on a skimboard
Photos by Chris Gurney (@chrisgurney_) | Story by Lucas Townsend
Brad Domke just rode a skimboard at… wait for it… The Right. Yes, a skimboard… at The R I G H T! Again, Domke beats surfing at surfing after flying 31 hours from Florida to West Oz to ride slabs with Brad Norris. “I’m just the happiest man in the world,” Domke says, speaking exclusively to Stab. “I just decided to cruise 31 hours off to Western Australia and now I’m getting down with my new maytes. I just said, fuck it, I wanna get a big one.” It wasn’t too long ago Domke rode the biggest wave ever ridden on a skimboard at Puerto Escondido. Now he can add biggest slab to his feather cap after these latest efforts, which led to a call from the Stab office.
Stab: Tell us about your session at The Right.
Brad Domke: Well I landed last thursday from Florida and surfed The Right on the Friday. We woke early and bolted there, got to the channel and stared at this one 20-foot slab come through like it was nobody’s business. I’m sitting on the ski in the middle of nowhere going, H-O-L-Y-S-H-I-T, what the hell is that? This wave could kill me. The boys were like, let’s just chill and see if it’s do-able. We saw a few more so I grabbed my skim and Brad whipped me in. He was used to towing surfers but it’s a different approach to the wave for a skim and I went down hard. I thought I was going to die! I fell right off, flew down the face, ate shit, got smashed, thrown deep. It was gnarly. I was so rattled.
You made some, too! Yeah, it all came together just before dark, the sun was starting to go down, the light was insane. It cleaned up and Brad eyed off a really good one. When I was in Florida I was studying the wave to know which ones to take. So when Brad got me into that one, I just focused and looked for the ledge where it throws. I knew it was going to be good. I remember catching it, making it to the bottom, it threw over my head and I looked up and I thought, oh my god that’s the bluest, thickest lip I’ve ever seen. It was one of the best moments of my life. I’d never towed a slab before, I didn’t think it was going to work.
How’d a skimboarder from Florida end up with a slab gent like Brad Norris? I met friends of Brad’s in Puerto during that big swell. They said I had to meet their gnarly friend who was going to be right up my alley. Sounded great. We got talking online and he’s been keeping me in the loop. I was getting the worst waves ever at home and he said it was going to work on the weekend. So I booked a ticket, flew down here by myself and I’ve been hanging with the sickest crew ever since.
Were you riding the same skimboard as Puerto? No. After Puerto I order a bunch of new ones. Still there was no fins, no straps, no modifications at all.
Was surfing The Right harder than surfing Puerto? That was the hardest wave I’ve ever ridden in my life. Now I’m addicted to surfing slabs and I want to always be on the hunt.
Did the board start planing? Yeah, I got buckled on a few and shoved down hard. The water was so cold down that deep. It’s a super eerie, hellish wave but it’s got a beautiful vibe at the same time. You just never know what it’s going to do. It could just be a giant closeout, crush you and end you forever. Or you can get the barrel of your dreams.
Did the hold-downs live up to the hype of worst in the world? F’sure, it was violent. I’d never felt it like that. Fortunately I had a thin life vest on underneath, just enough to get me up.
We’ve got to ask… why are you doing this? (Laughs) It’s the funnest thing on Earth. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Ask any pro surfer why the surf big waves and they’ll tell you it’s for the thrill. It’s the same for me.