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Tasmanian devil

The surf at Pedra Branca has taken 22 lives

Pedra Branca
Pedra Branca

My first thought upon seeing the images of the wave at Pedra Branca (“White Rock” in Portuguese) was of a Hollywood tsunami. It had to be a certain death for any human other than Snake Plissken or James Bond that tried to drop in and ride it.

The wave at Pedra Branca rises up over a reef some 20 miles off the southern tip of Tasmania and crashes alongside the 180-foot-tall rock that marks the location, which can be seen from the mainland miles away. This speck in the Southern Ocean with its unabated swells from the Antarctic is a link in the ecosystem; Eddystone and Sidmouth rocks, along with the taller Pedra Branca, make up the five-acre spot identified by BirdLife International as support for over one percent of the world’s shy albatrosses and Australasian gannets. There is a lizard there — the Pedra Brancha Skink — that is found nowhere else on Earth. Then, there is the wave.

The surf at Pedra Branca has taken 22 lives, mostly fishermen and scientists. Only six surfers had taken the wave on through 2015 — the last two broke their legs and were knocked unconscious. If the wave alone isn’t enough for extreme sports enthusiasts, the seal colony on the rocks attracts large great white sharks.

Unpredictable winds kept the windsurfers away until recently when Australian windsurfer and student Alastair McLeod teamed up with Tasmanian big wave surfer Marti Paradisis — credited with being the first to surf Pedra Branca — as a consultant to plan, prepare, forecast, and finally try to windsurf out to Pedra Branca, ride the huge wave, and return. Does he make it out and back? Watch the movie.

Place

Misfit Pictures HQ

565 Pearl Street #100, La Jolla, CA

My Own Private Monster will be screened Friday as a part of the Action International Film Festival’s 16 outdoor action films Thursday through Saturday at the Misfit Picture headquarters, 565 Pearl Street, #100, La Jolla. Screenings begin at 7 p.m. each night and tickets range from $5 to $100. See the full list at actioninternationalfilmfestival.com.

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Pedra Branca
Pedra Branca

My first thought upon seeing the images of the wave at Pedra Branca (“White Rock” in Portuguese) was of a Hollywood tsunami. It had to be a certain death for any human other than Snake Plissken or James Bond that tried to drop in and ride it.

The wave at Pedra Branca rises up over a reef some 20 miles off the southern tip of Tasmania and crashes alongside the 180-foot-tall rock that marks the location, which can be seen from the mainland miles away. This speck in the Southern Ocean with its unabated swells from the Antarctic is a link in the ecosystem; Eddystone and Sidmouth rocks, along with the taller Pedra Branca, make up the five-acre spot identified by BirdLife International as support for over one percent of the world’s shy albatrosses and Australasian gannets. There is a lizard there — the Pedra Brancha Skink — that is found nowhere else on Earth. Then, there is the wave.

The surf at Pedra Branca has taken 22 lives, mostly fishermen and scientists. Only six surfers had taken the wave on through 2015 — the last two broke their legs and were knocked unconscious. If the wave alone isn’t enough for extreme sports enthusiasts, the seal colony on the rocks attracts large great white sharks.

Unpredictable winds kept the windsurfers away until recently when Australian windsurfer and student Alastair McLeod teamed up with Tasmanian big wave surfer Marti Paradisis — credited with being the first to surf Pedra Branca — as a consultant to plan, prepare, forecast, and finally try to windsurf out to Pedra Branca, ride the huge wave, and return. Does he make it out and back? Watch the movie.

Place

Misfit Pictures HQ

565 Pearl Street #100, La Jolla, CA

My Own Private Monster will be screened Friday as a part of the Action International Film Festival’s 16 outdoor action films Thursday through Saturday at the Misfit Picture headquarters, 565 Pearl Street, #100, La Jolla. Screenings begin at 7 p.m. each night and tickets range from $5 to $100. See the full list at actioninternationalfilmfestival.com.

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