We’ve seen a surfer fight off a shark, surfers on fire, and surfers facing the biggest swells and winning world titles – 2015 was an intense year for surfing.
THUNDER BAY – SPORT – This was the year we watched Mick Fanning fight a shark off his board at the J-Bay Open in South Africa. No stunt, no joke – but the reality of a Great White Shark attack. Helped by fellow finalist Julian Wilson, Fanning came through this “completely unscathed physically,” he sighed in an interview here. “I don’t know what the shark’s intentions were. It definitely got stuck in my legrope, but I’m just thankful it was my leash and not my leg.”
But this was also the year freesurfing pioneer Jamie O’Brien decided to surf the Teahupo’o wave in Tahiti… whilst on fire. “The whole barrel lights up fluorescent orange,” he said here at the time. “I had this flame just wrapping around my head, which was pretty insane, something totally different than anything I’ve ever done before.”
This year, Maya Gabeira faced her fears, too. Nearly two years after falling during a big wave ride that left her fighting for her life in Nazaré, Portugal, the Brazilian returned to Praia do Norte to surf the infamous 10-foot swell again. “I needed to get back in Nazaré, because that’s where my surfing life stopped two years ago,” she said. “I needed to restart from here.”
Later on, Carissa Moore and Adriano De Souza would be crowned world champions in Hawaii.
We’ve also seen an artificial waves competition in Wales, Red Bull Unleashed; a battle between athletes competing in eight different surfing disciplines, The Ultimate Waterman.
And a lot more surfing events bringing the water sport closer to its fans around the world.