A big wave for his fans

GIANT RIDER: Marti Paradisis on the monster wave. | <b><a href="http://static.stuff.co.nz/files/1big_AUSTRALIA.jpg">Click for larger image</a></b>
GIANT RIDER: Marti Paradisis on the monster wave. | <b><a href="http://static.stuff.co.nz/files/1big_AUSTRALIA.jpg">Click for larger image</a></b>

Marti Paradisis and crew had waited all day 30 kilometres south of Tasmania in the Southern Ocean for a giant swell to get "rider-friendly".

Finally, the wind backed off near Pedra Branca rock and the Tasmanian surfer known as Moose set out for a momentous feat.

As the crew howled support from their boat, Paradisis was towed in by jet ski, dropped the rope, and began charging down the face of a water mountain that kept on rising until it towered 12 metres high.

Paradisis, 29, said later he was concentrating so hard on keeping his board's nose out of the water, he wasn't aware of what was behind him.
"But when I got to the bottom and looked up I knew I was going to get a flogging," he said.

Buried in tonnes of white water, Paradisis eventually surfaced as the rider of the biggest wave in Australia in the past year.

His ride tied with that of a mate, Danny Griffith, who also rode the same break that day last October, in the first round of judging by surfers registered for the Surfing Life-Oakley Big Wave Award.

But an expert panel of US big wave surfers this week gave the A$20,000 main prize comfortably to Paradisis.

"I'm so stoked to be able to represent the crew," he said. "I wouldn't get to ride waves like this without a lot of help so this isn't just for me."

Photographer Andrew Chisholm and video cameraman Mikey Brennan also won awards for the same day's work. Chisholm said that for the friends it was the culmination of 10 years' effort. 

Sydney Morning Herald