Everest News

Ut interdum risus felis, eget rhoncus sem aliquam nec. Sed eu congue arcu. Duis ultricies orci nec diam malesuada accumsan. Aliquam pulvinar pulvinar orci, nec ornare ex efficitur ac. Proin quis laoreet quam. Praesent sagittis mollis turpis tempus sodales. Ut efficitur tortor nec condimentum ornare.

Recent Comments

    WA’s Laura Macaulay becomes first woman to surf The Right, the ‘Everest of the south coast’ – ABC News

    West Australia’s Laura Macaulay has become the first woman to successfully surf a wave so huge it has garnered a global reputation for being almost unsurfable.

    Macaulay joined a select group of elite surfers to have had conquered The Right, on the state’s south coast.

    Despite her achievement being hailed as a breakthrough in the male-dominated world of big wave surfers, Macaulay — who grew up in the area — was quick to downplay it.

    “In terms of pushing the boundaries, I’m still so rookie so it doesn’t feel like I am,” she said.

    “There’s so many guys who are so skilled out there….I feel lucky to have the opportunity.”

    Macaulay was raised in the beachside community of Gracetown, just a few kilometres from the surf mecca of Margaret River.

    Her father is former professional surfer and current Masters World Champion Dave Macaulay and her sister, Bronte, competes in the World Surf League.

    Laura Macaulay learnt to surf in her hometown of Gracetown where the waves are relatively uncrowded.(ABC South West: Anthony Pancia)

    “Growing up in Gracetown was so amazing,” Macaulay said.

    “There’s lots of different waves here and it’s a pretty small community, so we got pretty uncrowded waves growing up.”

    But Macaulay acknowledged big waves like The Right were in a different league from the beach breaks she cut her teeth on.

    “It is pretty nerve-wracking because of the consequences,” she said.

    “It feels different; it’s not like going for a normal surf.”

    ‘Plenty of risks out there’

    Those consequences can be dire; several big wave surfers have died over the years, and last month a surfer was hospitalised following a wipeout on The Right.

    Macaulay has spent months preparing for The Right. She’s undertaken carbon dioxide tolerance training and wears a self-inflating vest to help bring her to the surface.

    Her father threw cautious support behind her.

    “It’s what she wants to do, so as her father I’ll support her in that,” he said.

    “There are certainly plenty of risks out there, but I respect her will to want to do it and also the way she’s going about it.”

    The Right is near Walpole on WA’s south coast, but most surfers prefer not to talk about its specific location.(Supplied: Chris Gurney)

    It is impossible for surfers to paddle out to The Right; they must be towed out by jet ski and launched directly onto the wave.

    Its location is well known among surfers in south west WA, but the specifics are rarely talked about in broader circles.

    Rob Holt, a marine environmental academic from the University of Western Australia, based in Albany, said surfers on the south coast were relatively secretive.

    “Why is it hush-hush? I think the guys who live down here, they are protective of it even though they are aware that surfers from around the globe travel to the south coast of Western Australia in search of these beasts,” Dr Holt said.

    Big wave surfers like Macaulay were a special breed, Dr Holt said.

    “It’s actually awe-inspiring and I’m totally amazed at the courage and at the skill level and at the nerve it takes to put yourself in a position where you can be maimed or even killed,” he said.

    Dr. Rob Holt says he is in awe of the courage on display from surfers who risk serious injuries to ride big waves like The Right.(ABC Great Southern: Tom Edwards)

    ‘No better feeling’

    Former bodyboarding world champion turned surf photographer Kim Feast is of the same opinion.

    “You can die,” he said.

    “If you come off or you get put in a bad situation, you have zero control over what the ocean’s doing to you.”

    Feast said Macaulay was an inspiration to other female surfers.

    She may have done what no other woman has done before, but Macaulay said she felt she still had room to improve.

    “I want to surf The Right to reach my own potential,’ she said.

    “There’s no better feeling than getting a good wave in front of your friends that you respect.

    “It’s such a privilege to be in a situation where I can try and do that, so I think that’s why I want to surf it.”