Mark Visser

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Mark Visser
Mark Visser, smiling and holding surfboard.png
Personal information
Nationality Australian
Born (1983-03-09) 9 March 1983 (age 34)
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. He is the 2014/15 Big Wave Paddle-in Champion and 3x runner up for the ASL Big Wave Awards. His dedication to the sport is unprecedented with intense training regimes and freakish skills, he is known as one of the fittest waterman in the world. He spends his time tracking down some of the biggest waves on the planet utilising innovative technology and pioneers unique ways to surf them. Marks feats are not only about surfing, but adventure, exploration and survival.

Visser is renowned for achieving a night ride on 30–40 ft face waves at Jaws, Maui, globally known as ‘Night Rider’.[1][2] This night ride is the start for an upcoming adventure documentary called ‘Nine Lives’ which Visser is currently working on.[3]

Early career[edit]

Visser learned to swim when he was nine and started surfing when he was ten.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

Professional career[edit]

Mark 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 and 2010/2011 Oakley ASL Big Wave Awards. He has also had several waves entered into the XXL awards for biggest wave ridden. Mark won the 2014/15 Big Wave Paddle-in ASL Big Wave Awards.[4] In 2015-2016 Mark was selected to complete in the Ultimate Waterman event. The event selects eight professional water athletes from around the world to find the best all-round waterman. The contest tested the athletes in eight different water disciplines in both skill based and endurance events. Mark Visser placed 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.[5]

'Nine Lives' Documentary[edit]

Mark Visser is currently working on an adventure documentary called ‘Nine Lives’. The documentary involves never before seen technology and breath taking world first feats of human strength and endurance.[6]

'Nine Lives', Episode 1: 'Operation Night Rider'[edit]

Mark Visser surfing Jaws, Maui at night

On 20 January, Mark Visser was the first person to surf the infamous Jaws break in Maui at night. He rode 30–40 foot waves in the notoriously dangerous outer reef, illuminated by specially engineered LED lights built into his buoyancy vest and modified into in to his surfboard.[1][2] This world first is globally known as ‘Night Rider’.[2][4]

'Nine Lives', Episode 2: 'Operation Deep Blue'[edit]

Marks second project follows Visser and his team as they parachute out of a specialized aircraft with their jet skis and surfboards into storm swells miles out to sea in search of ‘freak’ waves. No athlete has ever gone to these lengths to find them, let alone surf them.[7]

Cinematography Award[edit]

'Operation Night Rider' won an 'Australian Cinematography Award' in the category of 'Documentaries, Cinema & TV'.[8] Cameraman Drew Llewellyn captured the historic moment from a helicopter which won him a bronze award (1 x gold and 2 x bronze awards were issued).[8]

Additional Film, TV and media[edit]

Vis Tips[edit]

2- 4 minute clips of Mark providing advice/tips on topics such as surfing, training and health. The Vis Tips run on Fuel TV 3-8 times per day,.[9]

Diaries with Mark Visser[edit]

3 - 5 minute segments that follow Visser around the world in search of some of the best big wave locations. The Diaries run on Fuel TV,.[10]


Mark Visser has several specialised trainers who have developed programs for water and land consisting of exercises specific to the demands of big wave surfing. These exercises include training his body to cope potentially dangerous situations, such as extended periods of submersion without oxygen which has created interest from the U.S. Navy SEALs.[11][12] Before submerging Mark does not take a breath, and after expelling all the air in his lungs, he can sink to the bottom of the pool and wait for 1 minute and 30 seconds before swimming the length of a 50-meter Olympic swimming pool underwater (view training drill[13] Visser can also hold his breath underwater for 6 minutes and 4 seconds.[14]

Tasmania July 2011[edit]

In July 2011, Visser, along with his brother Kevin and a group of local surfers James Hick, Marty Paradisis and Mike Brennan, took on what leading forecaster Ben Macartney reported as one of the biggest swells seen on Australian charts. The group braved severe hailstorms and 157 km/h winds and icy waters to conquer waves rearing up to 4m. This particular surfing trip prompted the surfers to paddle in, rather than tow, taking the degree of difficulty to dangerous heights.[15]


  1. ^ a b "Big-wave surfer Mark Visser takes on Maui's 'Jaws' at night -". 24 January 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-01. 
  2. ^ a b c "Night surfing in 30-40 foot » Aquabumps Surf Photography Bondi Beach Surf Report". 21 January 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-01. 
  3. ^ "Night Rider Mark Visser's 2AM Tow In At Jaws". Surf Transworld. Retrieved 2012-04-17. 
  4. ^ a b "Night Surfing 40 foot Jaws". 20 January 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-01. 
  5. ^ "The Ultimate Waterman Is Underway". 17 March 2016. Retrieved 2017-08-23. 
  6. ^ "About". Retrieved 2012-04-17. 
  7. ^ "Mark Visser Operation Deep Blue". Drift Europe. Retrieved 2012-04-17. 
  8. ^ a b "Award Winners". Australian Cinematographers Society. Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
  9. ^ "Videos Vis Tips". Retrieved 2012-04-17. 
  10. ^ "Videos Travel Diaries". Retrieved 2012-04-17. 
  11. ^ "Big Wave Surfer Mark Visser Makes History | Fuel Tv". Fox Sports. 21 January 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-01. 
  12. ^ "Mark Visser Sports Tonight - Extreme Training on Vimeo". Retrieved 2011-06-01. 
  13. ^ "Videos Training". Retrieved 2012-04-18. 
  14. ^ "Define Magazine June 2011". Retrieved 2012-04-18. 
  15. ^ "Storm surfer Mark Visser conquers giant wave in Tasmania". 12 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-18. 

External links[edit]