The ultimate survivor of one of the world's most dangerous sports, Aussie hell-man Ross Clarke-Jones (RCJ) of the Central Coast is set to join forces with dare-devil WA compatriotMick Corbett (Corbs), to compete as 'Team Australia' in the inaugural invitation-only Nazare Tow Surfing Challenge, which kicks off today, November 1, and runs through to March 31, 2020.
The event will take place on the awe-inspiring "Big Mama" wave peak - considered to be one of the most dangerous on the planet - that breaks closest to the iconic red lighthouse at Praia do Norte on the rugged Portuguese coastline.
Clarke-Jones and Corbett are widely known as the loveable larrikins of Big Wave surfing, and have 66 years' combined experience under their belts. Clarke-Jones is one of the pioneering godfathers of the death-defying sport, while Corbett represents a new breed of surfers taking charge at some of the biggest waves in the world.
"We're great mates. There's a lot of trust between us, which is important when we're both putting our lives on the line to ride the epic waves of Nazare. We've each towed one another and surfed together, and now we're teaming up to fly the Aussie flag at this global competition - we're stoked and excited to get amongst it," said an enthused Clarke-Jones.
As the only Australian surfers invited to compete in the first ever Nazare Tow Surfing Challenge, Ross and Mick will ride harder, faster and higher, putting their bodies on the line in the hope of recording the biggest wave scores for their country.
In addition to Clarke-Jones and Corbett, the 19 person competition roster comprises some of the biggest names in global big wave including Sebastian Steudtner, Maya Gabeira. Andrew Cotton, Tom Butler, Rodrigo Koxa, Pedro Scooby, Luca Chianca, Kai Lenny, Hugo Vau, Alex Botelho, Nic von Rupp, Francisco Porcella, Benjamin Sanchis, Eric Rebiere, Antonio Silva, Grant Baker and Justine Dupont.
A regular at Nazare, Clarke-Jones said, "It doesn't matter how well you know a location or the surf, you can never be complacent. That's what's so awesome, but also dangerous, about the ocean."
"No two waves are ever the same, and when you're talking about 80 to 130-foot waves like those in Nazare, you can't ever afford to drop your guard. I learnt that the hard way last year when I wiped out and had to hop my way back up the cliff face to safety after being smashed on the rocks below. I'll be the first to admit that that day I was complacent, and I very nearly paid the ultimate price. It taught me a big lesson," he added.
Clarke-Jones has been based in the big wave mecca that is Nazare for four months of the year for the last three years - spending every winter for the 30 years before that on the North Shore of Hawaii.
"I've got no plans to slowdown. I have been recovering from a foot injury in recent months, so I'm throwing everything into getting my body 100 per cent competition-ready for the Nazare Tow Surfing Challenge," Clarke-Jones said.
Nazare is expected to turn on conditions for theTow Surfing Challenge - with the window for the competition falling during the peak northern winter big wave season, with Clarke-Jones and Corbett hoping for 100- to 130-foot waves when the green light is called.
Both Clarke-Jones and Corbett are currently based in Australia, with the fearless pair set to return to Nazare as soon as the big waves hit.