Friday, November 25, 2011

Big waves at night

It is understandable that waves, including large freaque waves, happen during the day and the night  irregardless of hours or time -- when it happens it just happens!  When I started advocating making spatial wave measurements using multiple cameras, one of the first strong objections or unfavorable comments was, and still is, that cameras can not see waves at night.  Indeed we can not limit freaque wave happenings to only day time occurrences.  As a matter of fact in April 2005 the cruise ship Norwegian Down encountered a damaging frreaque wave at a dark night.  No one can see it's coming.

Well! Leave to the surfers, they can do what scientists obviously can not!  An article in Australian by Cassandra Murnieks just published with a video this morning with the title:"Documentary probs big wave night surfing of Mark Vissor"!

Here's part of the story:
TALK to any big wave surfer about their adventures and you will almost certainly be moved to consider them crazy.

But what if they were to take on the big waves at night?

Sunshine Coast’s Mark Visser had it on his list of "things to achieve in life" and in January this year crossed it off after taking on monster waves, some with 50-foot faces in the dark at the famed Jaws break in Maui.

Visser is one of the brightest big wave talents in the world, pushing his body physically and focussing mentally to undertake on of the most dangerous pastimes known to man.
Visser’s preparation and big wave skills have come together in a television documentary “Night Rider” to feature on Channel Nine this Sunday.

“We have had this idea since about 2007. A friend told me that he had a dream about a guy who rode waves at night, which got me thinking. Was this achievable? Could it be possible?,” Visser told The Australian.

“I became a bit of a nutty professor in looking at all the options of making something like this happen. Other big wave surfers said it wasn’t safe enough to do, but I wanted to push myself and get out of the comfort zone.”

With the night surf session being filmed in January, a large bulk of the documentary was filmed beforehand.

Months of preparation were undertaken, which involved working with safety teams, special-forces and a number of coaches, who showed Visser a number of techniques designed to allow him to best cope in the event of something going wrong.

“The training with the coaches was tough. I worked with a number of people, who prepared me for the night surfing. If I had all of those things under control, it was one less thing to worry about when it actually came to surfing Jaws,” he said.

Visser tested the smaller waves at night in Australia to ensure they had the technology right.

To guide Visser through the waves, he had a number of lights strapped to his body, which allowed viewers to see the vast speed and the distance that he surfed the waves.

Now here is the difference between a surfer and a scientist: a surfer is always looking to "get out of the comfort zone" whereas a scientist absolutely needs to stay within their comfort zone both intellectually and most importantly fundingwise!  So is there any question regarding why the science is progressing so slowly in ocean wave studies: both in deep ocean and nearshore waves?

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