The rocks of Pedra Branca stand 26km from the southernmost point of land in Australia – well, technically it’s the Tasmania part of Australia. Sticking out of the Tasmanian Ocean, the rocks are a magnet for massive south swells coming up from the Antarctic. Big, mean, cold waves. Waves that hurt. Known for years as a tow-in spot for only the most fearless, unpredictable winds have kept windsurfers ashore – until now. Realising the dreams of his countryman Jason Polakow, Australian pro windsurfer and student Alastair McLeod is the first windsurfer to ride the wave.
“There are two big rocks: Pedra Branca and Eddystone,” says McLeod. “The wave comes up out of super-deep water at Eddystone and breaks over a reef shelf. There are two sections – this totally hellish slab, then more of a wall that barrels.”
In windsurfing terms, that’s incredibly scary, followed by slightly less scary. And the results of a wipeout? “Every one who surfed here and wiped out has had a serious injury,” says the 23-year-old. “Broken legs, being knocked unconscious, torn muscles – the truth is, death is a real possibility if you go over the falls.”
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