Surfer's big-wave night ride

The footage from Night Rider won Coast cameraman Drew Llewellyn an Australian cinematography award.
The footage from Night Rider won Coast cameraman Drew Llewellyn an Australian cinematography award.

OBTAINING the footage may have cost him a horrific wipeout in huge surf at night, but Mark Visser was singing the praises of Sunshine Coast cameraman Drew Llewellyn yesterday ahead of a one-off screening tomorrow night across Australia of Night Rider, the documentary of his exploits.

Visser in January became the first surfer to ride the infamous Jaws break off Maui at night (see video attached) and Llewellyn captured the moment from a helicopter that had to back away from the advancing wave as he did so.

The footage won Llewellyn an Australian cinematography award and the documentary was snapped up by cable channels across the globe.

The ride was no spur of the moment piece of bravado.

It was four years in the planning after first being suggested by Sunshine Coast Surf magazine editor Crys-Ky Carroll.

Visser said several approaches were trialled to enable him to ride the 30 foot plus waves in darkness with confidence and as much risk elimination as possible.

Eventually he worked out that he needed small glow sticks positioned on the cliff as bearings and back lighting fitted into his vest so his support crew could find him.

"If you were going to light the whole thing up you might as well do it during the day," Visser laughed.

Visser will be in Sydney tomorrow night to host the film's screening at Bondi but it will also be shown at Sunshine Plaza.

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Topics:  documentary mark visser surfing

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