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- December 27, 2012
On a spear fishing trip to Guadalupe Island, Mark Healey got bored swimming with Great White sharks. Needed something to get the heart rate going. So to spice things up, he rode them. Like the pasty Nebraskan couple clutching Flipper’s fin at Oahu’s Sea Life Park, he rode them. Floating, away from boats or cages, he’d wait for a shark to pass under him, and then grab its dorsal fin. Five second rides on the back of the most feared animal in the sea.
Some surfers golf. Others blog. When Mark unties his work boots after a day of surfing, he moonlights as a shark whisperer. A spear fisherman. A skydiver. A Hollywood stuntman. Big wave legend Evan Slater says Healey’s “the most un-scared surfer on the planet.
Mark claims that he does get scared, but it’s clear from watching him at Waimea or Maverick’s or the Outer Reefs that his threshold is a few notches higher than most. Which is why, as the limits of what you can ride and pull into are pushed, Mark plays a key role in big wave surfing progression. He stands his ground when a set blacks out the horizon.
The crew Healey rolls with—Long brothers, Twiggy, Ramon, Kohl Christensen—is a tight knit group that take responsibility for the advancement of big wave surfing. They hold each other accountable on big days. They take jabs. You won’t go. You won’t pack that. So when Healey holds his ground, as he does, so do the rest. And of course they go. Of course they pack that. Healey is the spark that lights big wave fires.
Enjoy Mark from a safe distance with your cell phone ready to call 911.