Terminal Velocity

A crew of Tasmanian slab hunters return to Pedra Branca for our March Issue

| posted on February 05, 2014

Sixteen miles off the coast of Tasmania sits Pedra Branca, an ominous rock spire emerging from a violent seascape. The wave there is the stuff of nightmares: a giant, thick-lipped right-hander breaking into deep, dark water. A crew of Tasmanian chargers abandoned their sanity in pursuit of massive barrels. See the story and more in our March Issue.

Filmed and edited by Andrew Chisholm.

  • guest

    But I’d probably drown in a bath tub

  • Jim Benton

    Incredible footage! At 2:50 how do you even survive this? These guys are brave if not just plain crazy. One suggestion though, please ditch the sappy music for actual sound of these beastly waves and maybe a little narrative.

    • nettwench14

      Absolutely! I want to HEAR this freak of nature!

  • Mathias


  • Michael Cornish

    yep how on earth do they survive?

  • Dash

    That clamp section at the end is terrifying. Imagine if it stayed open though…

  • Big Bob

    I don’t know. Looks like a big photo op drop. Nothing more. A slabs gotta have an exit strategy, otherwise we’re just playing cameo in a Jack Ass movie.

  • drew

    this music is terrible

  • Eric

    The only thing more incredible than this footage is that someone would set it to this music!

  • Jay Dubbiyou

    I don’t think he made it, my friends. Can you say ‘choking on his balls’?

  • alex

    thats a close out. what a bunch of nutcases

  • mict2000

    I hate to be that guy but, this is how you make epic footage unwatchable. A minute thirty of intros and scenic slow mo shots in a three and a half minute video. 2 minutes in we had seen one wave. Surfers want porno, not plot. Don’t be an editing genius. Just once I want to see a big wave vid where you can hear the waves and see all of what happens after they fall. I want to see how long they are under for and where they end up. If you’re gonna add music, please no Adele or other suicide music. Otherwise, great footage. Spot has some serious mega backdoor potential.

    • jbinsb


  • Basti Reweting

    Not sure, who was first, but in Portugal / Ericeira is a wave, with exactly the same name.

    • Edgar Malveiro

      Surfed since the early 80ies. The white rock or “Pedra Branca” in Portuguese. It’s a great hollow left hander with a great barrel.

  • Patrick Downs

    🙂 “please no Adele or other suicide music”

  • Paul S

    How did that guy survive at 2’50”? Ridiculous. Incredible footage spoiled by the worst choice of music ever. (I turned the awful sound down and instead played Igor Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite – perfectly ominous!)

  • David Dixon

    Before I criticize let me be clear that these guys have my respect. They truly are Hell men; and, obviously, no one can question their dedication and prep in exploring the frontier for crazy ass big wave slabs. However, I can question their choice to surf this wave. What’s the point? To not die while towing into a 25 foot backless close out? Or, to pull into the very end of a giant barrel only to be clamped on (potentially fatally)? Someone who knows please elucidate: is this how this slab ALWAYS breaks? Does anyone actually know? If not, then hopefully we’ll see more courageous attempts to tame this beast. However, If so, then though the ominous and alien middle-of-the-ocean spire definitely gives it a cinematic appeal, and the wave takes surf carnage porn to (potentially) a whole new level of drama, this is an un-makable waste of time.

    • Chiza

      Gday Dave, I am the filmer from the swell. Yep it is a tough choice to head out there, we have only surfed there 5 times in about 5 years. Obviously the wave itself is not great.! However we had surfed it pumping once, alot less sectiony on the end bowl but still those thumping closeouts. Being from Tasmania these guys just want to ride big waves, they get nearly zero support from the industry and are taking days off work to be here. Its more of an adventure to be out here and its a great day. Everyone will remember this for a long time to come, but yes is it worth the effort? Hard call, especially when Shipstern Bluff is on in similar conditions, much smaller though.
      thanks, and have a look at my work

      • David Dixon

        Thanks for the reply, Andy! Yes, it certainly does look like a very surreal adventure. Beautiful photographs on your website, too; I’ll have to keep tabs on your work. I hope all the guys who trek to, and charge, Pedra Branca stay as safe as possible. Best of luck to you guys down at the bottom of the Earth.

  • Jay

    Actually, the music makes it less scarier. crazy crazy

  • whamo

    That guy that took off steep and deep showed a lot of style.