Ross-Clarke Jones on riding big waves and driving a Porsche at over 300km/h


The superman who rides the biggest waves in the world | PHOTOS, VIDEO Monster Wave: Ross Clarke-Jones on a wave at Nazaré in Portugal. Picture: Nac Noc

Ross Clarke-Jones – a surfing legend.

Ross Clarke-Jones preparing for a surf.

Ross Clarke-Jones

Ross Clarke-Jones

Ross Clarke-Jones

Ross Clarke-Jones

Ross Clarke-Jones and racing driver Mark Webber.

Ross Clarke-Jones and racing driver Mark Webber.

Ross Clarke-Jones

Ross Clarke-Jones

Ross Clarke-Jones

A dramatic pictures of Ross Clarke-Jones after he almost drowned in Nazare in Portugal in February.

A dramatic pictures of Ross Clarke-Jones after he almost drowned in Nazare in Portugal in February.

Ross Clarke-Jones shields behind a rock when he almost drowned in Nazare in Portugal.

Ross Clarke-Jones

Ross Clarke-Jones

Ross Clarke-Jones

Ross Clarke-Jones

Ross Clarke-Jones

Ross Clarke-Jones and Tom Carroll.

Ross Clarke-Jones and Tom Carroll.

Ross Clarke-Jones

TweetFacebookBig-wave surfer Ross Clarke-Jones is on a different planet to most of us.

The 51-year-old has been conquering massive surf breaks in and around the world for decades.

Hegrew up in Terrigal on the NSW Central Coast and now splits his time between homes in Torquay in Victoria, Nazaré in Portugal and Hawaii.

Asked whether Newcastle or the Central Coast had better surf, he said: “Central Coast”, with a hint of hometown favouritism.

However, he does fondlyremember hismother taking himto Merewether Beach for a number of competitions “when I was a grom”.

“I remember surfing in a contest when I was 15 with Mick Adam and Mark Richards,” he said.

“The surf was huge for me at that stage. Mick Adam kindly showed me the way to paddle out, off the pool.Ionly just made it on my 5’4 Nirvana twin-fin flex surfboard.”

Beyondhis formative years, Clarke-Jones has surfed some of the biggest, mostawe-inspiring anddangerous waves on the planet.

In February, healmost drownedin big surf at Nazaré.

A big wave smashed him against rocks. Then he was swept back into the ocean and pulled underwater as another couple of waves battered him some more.

He grabbed onto a rock and managed to scramble to safety up a 30-metre high cliff.

A month earlier,he rode a 40-metre (130-foot) monsterin Nazaré, which was said to be the biggest wave ever ridden there.

It was almost 20 years to the day since he rode one of the largest swells in history at a break known as “Outside Log Cabins” on the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii.

It was Wednesday, January 28, 1998, which became known as “Biggest Wednesday”.

He doesn’t classify himself as someone who “trains”for surfing.

He keeps active with cardio,but uses the Kieser training method for his main physio and strength work.

On April Fool’s Day 2015, hesurfed a wave that almost ended hiscareer.

“A big wave landed on my back and knees, compressing me into the surfboard and resulting inACL and MCL knee injuries,” he said.

“Two out of three doctors told me I would have to have an operation if I was to continue to surf at the level I enjoy. Dr Drew Slimmon, the head doctor at Geelong Football Club, recommended that I try Kieser training as an alternative option.

“He put me in contact with Richard Wallace who helped me rebuild and strengthen the muscles in my leg, so I didn’t have to have an operation.

“I’ve never looked back.”

Before a big surfing session, he doesn’t sleep much.

“I have trouble sleeping at the best of times but before a big swell I like to get at least fourhours sleep,” he said.

“On the big swell days, I get up early.I won’t do a surf check, just prepare myself and equipment.I love to get the first wave of the day to wake up and be focused.”

Fear doesn’t own him.

“I actually feed off other people’s fear and turn it into a strength.Plus I like to do things that excite me, rather than scare me.”

For him, the essence of surfingis “sharing waves with only one or two surfers that have the same respect, passion, excitement and enjoyment, but most of all having fun and laughing”.

Asked if he ever surfs small waves these days [we mean waves that are 6 foot and under, he said: “Yes, I really enjoy surfing Bells Beach on some of the smaller fun days”.

“I actually enjoy small long waves on a longboard – that’s the closest I’ll get to cruising. You can feel the power of the wave and enjoy the slower ride.”

When he isn’t surfing, he makes time to drive hisPorsche 911 GT2 at the famous Nurburgring motorsports complex [nicknamed the Green Hell] in Germany.

“It is one of the best tracks in the world that is open to the public. Anyone can experience one of the F1s’ most dangerous tracks,” he said.

He’s also driven on Germany’s famousautobahns.

“The fastest I’ve been in my [Porsche] was 347 km/h on the six-lane autobahn, heading towards Stuttgart at 4am in the morning. There is nothing better than having the road to yourself,” he said.

“You step into another world after you hit 300km/h.”

He relates to this Ayrton Senna quote: “I don’t know driving in another way which isn’t risky. Each one has to improve himself. Each driver has its limit. My limit is a little bit further than others.”

Clarke Jones said: “You step into another world after you hit 300”.

“I seek out uncrowded smooth roads with banked corners. My real passion is finding the best lines through the corners on a racetrack.”

He said driving through corners at high speeds had a “similar heightened level of excitement” to negotiating the right line of a massive wave”.

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