For a surfer, catching a big wave can be both exhilarating and frightening at the same time. In July 2008, Australian surfer Kerby Brown rode a 41 foot monster wave in Western Australia. But he almost didn’t live to tell the tale of his epic ride.

Kerby Brown Surfer
Kerby Brown rides a huge wave in an undisclosed location southwest of Western Australia July 6, 2008, in this picture released November 7, 2008 by the Oakley-Surfing Life Big Wave Awards in Sydney. Picture taken July 6.

Kerby Brown: The Big Wave Gone Evil

Brown was elated to have the opportunity to ride such a massive wave, but the feeling didn’t last long. Moments after photographers were able to document his epic ride, the wave went “evil” causing a devastating wipeout that he almost didn’t escape from.

“Usually the wave never steps out or goes evil like that one, but it just went dry,” Brown said when recalling the details of his ride. “I went straight over in the lip and did about 10 backflips and then pulled a muscle in my shoulder. It felt like I ripped my arm out of it’s socket.”

But getting crushed by the wave for just the first part of his wipeout. Brown still had to reach the surface with a bad shoulder.


“I felt like I was the deepest I’d ever been (underwater). I took about 10 huge big strokes to get up and I was seriously struggling. I finally got to the surface and I was ready to pass out, luckily my brother was there on the (jet) ski.”

An Award Worthy Wave

The unbelievable photos of Kerby Brown surfing this monster wave were entered into the Oakley Surfing Life Big Wave Awards. The organization rewards surfers who dare to ride the biggest waves off the coast of Australia. Brown’s monster wave is being called the largest Australian wave surfed in 2008. Pictures of the July 2008 ride were just released on November 7, 2008, by the Oakley Surfing Life Big Wave Awards.

NERD NOTE: Surfing is an ancient practice invented by the people of Polynesia. It was first observed by British explorers near the island of Tahiti in the 1760s. In 1767, Samuel Wallis and the HMS Dolphin visited the island and were likely one of the first westerners to see surfing for the first time. A couple years later, James Cook and the HMS Endeavour visited Tahiti in April 1769. 

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