Aussie surfer parachutes for waves

BY foxsports • September 1, 2011

Very few surfers have to train with US Navy SEALs before heading out to take on the waves -- but that's exactly what one Aussie adventurer has been doing as he literally takes big wave surfing to new heights.

In a world first, Mark Visser has taken to parachuting into heaving oceans thousands of miles from land in a bid to ride the biggest waves on the planet -- and hopefully claim the sport's "holy grail" of breaks up to 100 feet high, The Courier-Mail reported Friday.

"These waves break in the middle of oceans, out of fuel range of helicopters and too far for surfers to access quickly enough by boat," Visser said.

His Operation Deep Blue project is to be featured in a documentary series called "9 Lives."

After scientists use satellite technology to help find open-ocean hotspots, specialist aircraft are used to get the 28-year-old and his team into position, before the ramp lowers and they parachute from 5,000 feet (1,524m) with jet skis, surfboards and cameras.

After his monster wave sessions, Visser -- with his brother and jet ski driver Kevin -- have to wait to be collected by boat and expect that at some future locations that could involve sitting in a life raft for up to two days.

The Sunshine Coast surfer trained with the Navy SEALs to give himself the best chance of survival in the advent of a catastrophic wipeout -- learning how to hold his breath for six minutes and escape from underwater caves in total darkness.

"This project was really terrifying. Being out in the middle of the ocean without seeing a speck of land is a very humbling experience and you definitely feel very, very alone out there."

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