Stab Magazine | Ross Clarke-Jones VS The Rocks At Nazare
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Ross Clarke-Jones VS The Rocks At Nazare

A clash of titans!

cinema // Feb 27, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Without a doubt, Nazare is one of the world’s most dangerous waves. The fact that nobody has died there is either fortune or a blessing depending on what you see in the sky.

In that same absence of doubt, you could say that Ross Clarke-Jones is one of the best big wave surfers in the history of our sport. At 51 years old, he’s been charging since before that was even a term. He’s shoved the limits all over the world and won the Eddie in 2001.

So when Nazare and Ross come together, it’s quite the clash.

The Australian spends a few months there every winter, trying to wrangle very tall walls of moving water. On a medium sized day (for him), Ross fell in a bad spot and things quickly went south. Safety crew on Jet Skis were unable to grab him and the waves that followed pushed into the cliff, where he continued to wear waves on the head. The whole fiasco was caught on film.

Despite the drama, Ross did manage to sneak a quick little rock tube at 32 seconds!

While the clip mysteriously cuts out before Ross climbs to safety, he forged his way out on his own. In the aftermath, he’s potentially dealing with a broken leg and a concussion — kinda explains that dazed grin. So, what do you do after surviving something like that?

“Look at castles, eat some food and have some wine,” says Ross.

Fair enough.

Here’s more from his recount:

“I headed out this morning around 8am with my tow partner Carlos Burle (Brazilian). I caught my first wave on the second peak, which I went right.

Bailing off the wave I was pulled under the water for about 30 seconds, using my Quiksilver Airlift to inflate me to the surface I came up looking directly at the cave and rocks. 

The rip was fast and strong, which dragged me straight into the danger zone – where no one can reach you on the jet skis as it’s shallow and covered in rocks.  At this stage they said they couldn’t even see me.

I took another hit which washed me straight onto the rocks, hitting my side which rolled over the rocks. Completely out of breathe, I put myself into a safer area and hid behind a rock. Another set came in which dragged me in and out, exactly like a washing machine. Launching back into rocks I hit my head and side, forcing myself to stay conscious I had an instant flash back to when I was 12, my brother and I used to hide behind the rocks at Terrigal’s tube rock.

Clutching to the rocks I stayed there for a minute to get my breath back and to orientate myself.

As I watched the set coming towards me I waited then scrambled to the cliff to start scaling the 30 metre sheer drop up.

You know what you sign up for when you surf Nazare, I always have a hell of a time but this was a nice reminder that you never take it for granted.  Especially on the smaller days like today where you can get complacent… it was a big mistake.”

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