Mark Visser

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Mark Visser
Personal information
Nationality Australian
Born (1983-03-09) 9 March 1983 (age 35)
Country Australia
Sport Big Wave Surfing and Ocean Adventure
Event(s) Big Waves, Night Rider

Mark Robert Visser (born 9 March 1983) is an Australian big wave surfer and ocean adventurer. Visser is best known for being in 2011, the first person to surf Hawaii’s most dangerous night break at Jaws, Maui, known as ‘Night Rider’.[1][2][3]


Visser was coached by several experts who used big wave surfing programs for water and land. These programs included training to overcome dangerous situations and extended periods of submersion without oxygen.[4][5] In addition to submersion without taking a breath, Visser can also hold his breath underwater for 6 minutes and 4 seconds.[6][7]


Visser learned to swim and started surfing at an early age. In his junior years he represented Australia in the Australian School boys team that competed in the Australasian Tournament in New Zealand, finishing 4th in the Taranaki final. He also represented Queensland in his junior year in the Australian Titles in the open division.[8]

Visser spent three years competing on the World Qualifying Series (WQS) ASP world tour before focusing on big wave surf events. Visser's past achievements include: 5th in the 2006/2007 APT tow-in tour event in Chile, 7th in the Nelscott Reef Big Wave Paddle In event United States, and runner up in the 2008/2009, 2009/2010, 2010/2011 and 2014/2015 Oakley ASL Big Wave Awards.[9] His accomplishments were also recognized by the XXL awards for biggest wave ridden. Visser won the 2014/15 Big Wave Paddle-in ASL Big Wave Awards.[10] In 2015-2016 Visser was selected as one of the eight world professional water athletes, to compete in the Ultimate Waterman contest. Visser ranked in the top 3 for the Short Board, Long Board, Big Wave/ Tube ridding event, 6km Prone Paddle race, 18km Waka Ama / OC1 race and the Underwater Strength Run and Swim event.[11] In addition to his sports activities, Visser also gives keynote speeches to individuals, corporations, teams and organizations including TEDx Noosa. His goal is to inspire others by sharing his story.[12]

Tasmania event[edit]

In July 2011, Visser, along with his brother Kevin and a group of local surfers James Hick, Marty Paradisis and Mike Brennan conquered waves as high as four meters during severe hailstorms. This particularly dangerous surfing trip prompted the surfers to paddle in, rather than tow.[13]


Operation Night Rider[edit]

Mark Visser surfing Jaws, Maui at night

On 20 January, Visser became the first person to surf Jaws break in Maui at night. During this event known as the ‘Night Rider’, he rode 30–40 foot waves in dangerous outer reef, illuminated by engineered LED lights built into his buoyancy vest and integrated into his surfboard.[14][10] This night ride is the start for an upcoming adventure documentary called ‘Nine Lives’ which Visser is currently working on.[15] 'Operation Night Rider' with cooperation of cameraman Drew Llewellyn won an 'Australian Cinematography Award' in the category of 'Documentaries, Cinema & TV'.[16][16]

Operation Deep Blue[edit]

Visser's second project documents him and his team as they parachute out of a specialized aircraft with their jet skis and surfboard in search of ‘freak’ waves.[17]


Visser is currently working on an adventure documentary which involves new technology and display of human strength and endurance.[18]


  • Diaries with Mark Visser are very short segments that follow Visser around the world in search of some of the best big wave locations. The Diaries run on Fuel TV.[19]
  • "Ocean Warrior Course" is a training program created by Visser to help surfers discover the secrets of the elite underwater athletes. The course originates from Visser’s own past struggling in big waves.[20] The course teaches about breath holding and safety in the water to students including Navy SEAL and big wave surfers. Over the past 5 years, he has coached some of the most elite military organizations, Olympic and professional sporting teams in the world.[21][22]
  • Book: “The Big Wave Method -Eight Steps to Overcoming Your Fear and Achieving Your Ultimate Dream”. Mark Visser. October 31, 2017. Hay House. ISBN 9781401953201.


Visser is known as one of the fittest waterman in the world. He is known as the 2014/15 Big Wave Paddle-in Champion and three times runner up for the ASL Big Wave Awards.[8][23] He spends his time tracking down some of the biggest waves on the planet utilising innovative technology and pioneers unique ways to surf them. Visser feats are not only about surfing, but adventure, exploration and survival.[24][25][14]


  1. ^ "Moonlighting". The Sydney Morning Herald. 25 August 2012. Retrieved 2018-03-01. 
  2. ^ "Big wave rider Mark Visser on surfer's eye and protecting your vision". The Daily Telegraph. 4 June 2017. Retrieved 2018-03-01. 
  3. ^ "Surfer Rides Giant Waves at Night". CBS News. January 26, 2011. Retrieved 2018-03-01. 
  4. ^ "Big Wave Surfer Mark Visser Makes History | Fuel Tv". Fox Sports. 21 January 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-01. 
  5. ^ "Big wave surfer Mark Visser breathes life in to title bid". Brisbane Times. 26 February 2016. Retrieved 2018-03-01. 
  6. ^ "Define Magazine June 2011". Retrieved 2012-04-18. 
  7. ^ "Big Wave Surfer Mark Visser Started with a :45 Second Breath Hold; Now It's 6 Minutes". The Inertia. 19 January 2018. 
  8. ^ a b "The night rider: Daredevil surfer who lights up monster waves in pitch darkness". Daily Mail. 24 January 2011. Retrieved 2018-03-01. 
  9. ^ "The winners of Surfing Life's Oakley Big Wave Awards 2014/2015". Surfer Today. 12 February 2015. Retrieved 2018-03-01. 
  10. ^ a b "Night Surfing 40 foot Jaws". 20 January 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-01. 
  11. ^ "The Ultimate Waterman Is Underway". 17 March 2016. Retrieved 2017-08-23. 
  12. ^ "Speakers prepare for sell-out TEDx Noosa". Sunshine Coast Daily. 27 March 2014. Retrieved 2018-03-01. 
  13. ^ "Storm surfer Mark Visser conquers giant wave in Tasmania". 12 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-18. 
  14. ^ a b "Big-wave surfer Mark Visser takes on Maui's 'Jaws' at night -". 24 January 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-01. 
  15. ^ "Night Rider Mark Visser's 2AM Tow In At Jaws". Surf Transworld. Retrieved 2012-04-17. 
  16. ^ a b "Award Winners". Australian Cinematographers Society. Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
  17. ^ "Mark Visser Operation Deep Blue". Drift Europe. Retrieved 2012-04-17. 
  18. ^ "About". Retrieved 2012-04-17. 
  19. ^ "Videos Travel Diaries". Retrieved 2012-04-17. 
  20. ^ "Mark Visser Jumps off Jetski, Gets Steamrolled by Jaws". Surfline. 
  21. ^ "Shane Dorian and World's Most Elite Watermen Just Launched a Safety Course for All Surfers". The Inertia. December 26, 2017. 
  22. ^ "Ocean Warrior Course". Ocean Warrior Foundation. 
  23. ^ "Mark Visser goes big wave night surfing". Surfer Today. 21 January 2011. Retrieved 2018-03-01. 
  24. ^ "Irish among San Diego surfers catching waves beneath the stars". The Irish Times. 1 May 2017. Retrieved 2018-03-01. 
  25. ^ "Massive swell may be one for the ages". Sunshine Coast Daily. 13 February 2018. Retrieved 2018-03-01. 

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