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Big-wave surfer Mark Visser takes on Maui's 'Jaws' at night

January 24, 2011 | 11:39 am


Professional big-wave surfer Mark Visser made history early Thursday when he took on 30- to 40-foot waves at Jaws, off the shore of Maui. That's because the 28-year-old Australian went out surfing in the dark. Using specially engineered LED lighting built into a buoyancy vest and on the surfboard, Visser became the first to night surf the infamous break.

"It wasn't until I saw the pictures I realized how big it was," Visser said. "I had to go off feeling. It was the scariest but most exciting thing I have ever done."

With the guidance of a helicopter team overhead, which had a spotlight, Visser was towed in by Jet ski to take on the waves. The project, two years in the making, utilized lighting technology especially created to ensure the wave and board were lighted without hindering the vision of Visser, the Jet Ski drivers and the helicopter pilots.

"I am so pumped to achieve something that no one thought possible and that I was told couldn't be done," Visser said.

The action -- including glow-in-the-dark wipe-outs -- was caught on video, which already has more than 550,000 views since its posting Thursday on GrindTV.com.

This feat, called "The Night Rider," is the first of a series of extreme adventures for Visser, which will be compiled into a documentary titled "9 Lives," scheduled to be distributed in late 2011 or early 2012.

-- Kelly Burgess

 Video: Chris Mauro via GrindTV.com