These dramatic images capture the moment a British surfer was WIPED out – by a huge 30ft wave.
Adrenaline-junkie Tom Lowe, 32, was in Mexico hoping to catch the ride of his life – but a moment’s hesitation meant he had to bail from his board at the last second.
His spectacular plunge into the ocean has been hailed as one of the biggest ever caught on camera – and has seen him nominated for a global TAG Heuer “Wipeout of the Year” at the WSL Big Wave Awards.
Tom escaped with just minor cuts, bruises and whiplash in what he described as the most violent 15 seconds of his life.
But the pro surfer of St Ives, Cornwall, said he was “stoked” by all the attention he was getting.
He said: “This wipeout was definitely the longest free fall that I have ever had.
“The plan wasn’t to fall. If I had made that wave I would have got the ride of my life.
“I don’t train to fall, but things don’t always go to plan with mother-nature and you have to just roll with it.”
In the 30 second video Tom can be seen paddling out onto the crest of a giant wave, crowded by other surfers.
As he gathers momentum the wave accelerates away from him, drawing him into its peak as the water begins to crash down around him.
Realising that it is already too late, despite the attempt having only just begun, Tom cuts his losses and jumps.
He can be seen plummeting more than 30ft before he hits the water in a pencil dive.
The footage was recorded in Mexico three and a half weeks ago – but has just been released as part of his award nomination.
He said: “I thought the video would come out eventually, as it was quite an epic fall.
“As I paddled into it, I was kind of late, so I didn’t get a good entry. I hesitated slightly because of the crowd, which you can’t afford to do on big waves.
“That put me out of the flow, and before I knew it I was too late and I jumped.
“If I hadn’t jumped when I did it would probably have snapped me in two.
“I was only under that water for about 15 seconds – but it was the most violent 15 seconds of my life, I had whiplash from being bashed against the sand.
“But the injuries were really minor considering the size of the wave. I got away very lightly.”
Some members of the surfing community are saying Tom’s wipeout is ‘up there with the best of them’ and he has been put forward for the title of the TAG Heuer Wipeout of the Year category in the World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave Awards ahead of the 2016 contest.
A message on the WSL website says of Tom: “And here’s the first of many outstanding entries in the new 2016 TAG Heuer Wipeout of the Year category.
“Behold the splendor of Cornwall, England’s Tom Lowe performing one of the longest free-falls ever caught on camera at Puerto Escondido, Mexico.”