Laurie Towner goes to work on a whopper
ANGOURIE'S Laurie Towner, 19, produced possibly the ride of his life in Tasmania in making a charge on the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards.
At Shipsterns Bluff, off the southern tip of Tasmania, he paddled into one of the break's biggest waves without the assistance of a jet-ski. That ride earned Towner a berth on the US$10,000 Monster Paddle-In category.
"Andy (Irons) was right next to me on that big one, calling me in," Towner said.
"At the start I was paddling slow, just having a bit of a look at the wave, and as it jacked up I paddled a bit faster and it let me into it."
Irons has compared the rarely-surfed Tasmanian break to hot-spots Hawaii and Tahiti.
The monster session was captured on land and in the water by video and stills cameramen with the Australian entry to join rivals surfing breaks in Hawaii, Mexico, California and Tahiti in the competition.
Irons, in Australia for the first leg of the professional surfing tour, rated the surf up there with some of the best breaks in the world.
"Shipsterns is radical," Irons said. "It's a really challenging wave, one of the toughest I have ever surfed.
"With the staircases in it and the way it hits the reef, it is so powerful, and with the cold water you're not really penetrating the surface when you fall.
"I have never really surfed a barrel that changes so much as it goes along. I have never surfed anything like that, other than Hawaii, Tahiti and Fiji, nothing even comes close."
The weekend wasn't without incident, however, with Parkinson taken out by a three-metre close-out that felt like being hit by 'a five-storey building'.
"I had a pretty nasty wipeout on one set," Parkinson said.
"It felt like a five-story build- ing landing on my head."