Watch: ‘Bezerke’, A Grand Introduction To The Fearless Russell Bierke
“It’s rare when a kid that age is that comfortable in waves that heavy.” – Kelly Slater.
It’s only a matter of time until we see Russell Bierke wrap his hands around a WSL Big Wave Award. He was made for it. At 18 we’ve already witnessed him achieve much on surfing’s heavy side. Like in June, when he won the most frightening event ever televised, The Cape Fear Challenge. But, it comes as no surprise, Russ is more a “holy shit” guy than an air-revo guy; whenever he graces our screens it’s in serious swell paired with waves of consequence.
“Pretty much since I can remember I’ve always looked up to my dad and the kind of waves he liked to surf and always wanted to achieve that,” he says, introducing his father as the key to his big wave inspiration. “Eventually when I had the ability and was old enough to handle it, he let me tag along and showed me the ropes and different lineups. It’s really helped me be where I am today.”
Kelly Slater first noticed Russell’s edge in powerful surf years ago on a trip to the southern coast of Australia. “It was kind of intimidating watching this 15-year-old kid is putting your 25 years of experience on the line in front of your face – it was cool!” He also makes note of his Cape Fear victory. “He looked so comfortable, so many guys were just eating shit and like almost dying, he was one of the most fitting guys to win that for sure.”
The film traverses from Russ getting schooled by his old man and learning tricks to overcome panic during long hold-downs, through his win at Cape Fear and his desire to push the boundaries in big wave paddle surfing. With a delicate balance between lethal action and narrative, the thrill comes guaranteed.
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