The Night Surfer

At The Wild Geese® Irish Whiskey, we like to celebrate ‘Men of Action’ – those who are intrepid, adventurous and uncompromising – who are inspired to chase their dreams and relentless in their pursuits. A perfect example of this is Mark Visser. 

Fearless big wave surfer Mark Visser made a name for himself when he headed put into the deep blue to meet Jaws head on. In this instance, ‘Jaws’ is not the predator shark which emptied costal waters in 1975, but is just as terrifying. The 28 year old surfer left the beach at 2 am on 26th January, heading out to a reef break off the coast of the Hawaiian island Maui and met 30-40 foot waves, becoming the first person to night surf the break.

The conditions for a ‘big wave’ to form are very precise and usually only occur between December and February, when very strong winds and ocean swells combine. Timing was everything in this project, which took two years to prepare. Big Wave surfing can be incredibly dangerous, as surfers can be pushed down 20 to 50 feet by a breaking wave, and must get to the surface before a second wave breaks. The risks are increased at night, when there is very little light, which would make it difficult to determine which way the surface is. Understandably, this was one of the ‘most scariest but exciting experiences’ of Visser’s life.

Visser tackled the waves with a surf board equipped with technology designed by NASA for submarine lighting and had LEDs built into the buoyancy so that his support team could locate him.

As the first person to surf these dangerous shores at night, Visser is certainly a ‘Man of Action’. Like The Wild Geese® , who are the inspiration behind our brand, we celebrate Visser’s intrepid and adventurous characteristics. He plans to make a full length documentary of the risk-filled project entitled ‘9 Lives’, in which he hopes to show that anything can be achieved and inspire people to chase their dreams.