ULLADULLA'S Russell Bierke, who won 2016's Red Bull Cape Fear in extremely dangerous conditions at Cape Solander, in Sydney, this week became the youngest surfer (21) to qualify for the WSL Big Wave Tour (BWT).
How did he celebrate?
By visiting the scariest wave on the schedule Praia do Norte (Nazaré) of course — where he snagged one of the biggest bombs of the day – which saw most waves exceed 60-foot on the face.
This was followed by a harrowing wipeout and daunting rescue by Brazilian BWT competitor, Lucas ‘Chumbo’ Chianca.
"I guess a huge Nazare beating is a good way to shake off the jet lag,” Bierke said.
“It was by far my longest hold-down.
“I barely got a breath before the second wave landed on me.
"I'm feeling pretty sore, and I felt like I could barely walk up the beach when I got there.
“Thank you Carlos Burle and Lucas Chumbo for the board tow and, most importantly, for the rescue."
This isn’t the first time Bierke has had a massive wipeout on the world stage, as he was rescued by a group a professional surfers, including 11-time world champion Kelly Slater near Port Campbell Beach in April last year.