Big-wave surfer Jeff Rowley recently scored what could easily be called some of the biggest waves ridden this year—and he did it at a place he calls "The Bombie.” Rowley first came to the attention of the wider surfing world when, in 2010, he started a fundraiser for Breast Cancer Australia called Charge for Charity. By paddling into some of the biggest waves in the world at places like Jaws in Hawaii and Fiji’s Cloudbreak, Rowley not only became one of the planet’s elite paddle-in surfers, he also raised more than $50,000 for cancer research. These days Rowley is still looking for some of the biggest waves in the world, and his signature red, blue, and yellow Channel Island Surfboard can be seen dropping in from great heights whenever the waves gets monstrous. GrindTV talked to Rowley about his latest video and the wave in Australia.
Jeff, where is the wave? We promise we won't tell anyone.
Let’s just say it's off the bottom of Australia.
How big were the waves, and how big was your board?
Look, it's hard to say the size of the waves, but I do know the swell was 19 feet at 18 seconds when it hit the buoys. I was riding a new Channel Islands surfboard that was 11 feet long and 4 inches thick.
To us it had a similar feel to the famous Californian wave of Mavericks. What are the similarities and/or differences?
The wave does look like Mavericks being a cold-water peak, although it's a lot more of a spread out lineup, so it’s more of a hunting ground. Mavs is a slab that hits the same exact spot. I rode the 11-foot board so I could cover more ground.
What was your build up to the session?
I was in Indonesia (see a clip of Jeff surfing big waves in Indonesia) when I first saw the swell on the charts. It had been a bad season for big swells in Oz until then, so I didn't want to miss it. The swell held back until after lunch, then there was a narrow window in the afternoon when the swell grew rapidly and the wind stayed offshore long enough to get the session before a massive storm front hit. I was really happy with the big, steep wave because I had to paddle hard and throw myself over the edge. That gave me the confidence to knife it on the next one.
Are these the type of waves you grew up surfing? Tell us a bit about growing up in that environment?
I grew up surfing this kind of wave with cold water and long, thick walls. Australia has a lot of fairly isolated big waves, with deep water that will hold you down for a long time if you make a mistake. I’m lucky to have experience in those kind of waves and be able to draw on it at places like Jaws or Mavericks.
And where to next?
Pretty soon my girl and I will be making our way to Hawaii for the winter. Hopefully this season has really big swells and we can catch some big ones.
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