About a month ago, Michael Lawrence and the guys from Garage Entertainment brought me in and said they wanted to show me something. Without saying anymore they just handed me this VR headset, I put it on. I was totally blown away. All of a sudden I was transported to sitting at the edge of a lake, to flying a helicopter, to this beautiful villa in Europe within a matter of minutes.
It was crazy! Then I had the thought - "Wow ! What if you could take some one inside a barrel with this?" This was exactly the reaction the boys from Garage Entertainment wanted me to have. From that moment we were on a mission to make this happen.
It just so happened that 2 brothers Bruce and Rob Allan from Triggar had just built a water proof 360 camera rig and were actually willing to let me hold it in a 15ft wave. I had hoped to test the camera in small barrels first but the first swell to pop up on the charts ended up being at the "The Right” and I just couldn’t help myself.
That day down at The Right the swell didn’t kick in until super late in the afternoon so It was a race to get waves before the sun went down. I had a couple of average waves and it was already getting dark. My heart was sinking.
My friend Brad Domke (professional Skim Boarder) was next in line when a bomb set reared up. He started to tow into it and i just couldn’t help myself. I yelled out to Phil Read my tow partner "Go Go! Tow me behind him." I had seen footage of Domke making the the craziest waves lately so i figured there was a good chance he would make it.
The barrel at The Right is so big so I figured that there would be plenty of room for both of us. It all happened so fast. I just remember coming into the wave and thinking “I’m on the perfect line here. There is plenty of room between the 2 of us”. Then I saw him struggling to deal with the water drawing off the reef as the wave was sucking up.
At that moment I was like “Oh no” - but I held my nerve and my line and just ducked as low as I could hoping he wouldn’t drop on my head! I saw his board fly by then out of the corner of my eye I saw him. It was like he was falling out of the sky. The scene was so strange a picture of it is tattooed in my head.
Because I was crouching so low as I was coming out of the barrel my arm holding the camera caught the face of the wave and sent me spinning. By then the serious danger had passed and I was rolling around underwater laughing at the sight of Brad doing his mid air running man in the barrel!
The PoV footage and 360 platform are so cool but I can’t wait until people get to put on the Virtual Reality headset and have this experience for the first time. I think it's going to make a lot of people take up surfing... maybe not behind skim boarder in 12 foot barrels though!