Episode #23: Ross Clarke-Jones Speaks On Surfing the Biggest Waves Ever & Staying Calm In Crisis

Posted by Top Livin on


Our guest today is a man well acquainted with the exhilaration of the ocean, the quest for another high and the need to stay calm under pressure.  Ross Clarke-Jones is a world class big wave surfing icon.  He is renowned for surfing huge waves up to 80 feet in the most extreme surfing conditions around the world.  Ross was featured in the award winning documentary, “Storm Surfers 3D” and also competed in the sixth season of the popular reality show “Australian Survivor”.  

While participating in a daily challenge on Survivor, Ross suffered the most horrific injury of his life, worse than anything he had endured while surfing. In this episode, Ross shares about his difficult experience throughout the long road to recovery and his struggle with depression during that time.  Being an avid supporter of LIVIN, Ross encourages listeners that It Ain’t Weak to Speak and the importance of reaching out for help when times get tough.

Ross shares about his search for big waves and the awe he feels when faced with a wave of over 30 feet.  He talks about the numerous people who have died while surfing in extreme conditions and his own near death experience in Portugal.  Ross also shares about how he manages to stay calm, even while having to hold his breath under water.

Having an open heart to new experiences and being comfortable in his own skin, Ross encourages listeners to be themselves, be kind and not judge others.  At the end of the day, we’re all in this together.


[3:50]: Ross’ horrific injury during his appearance on Survivor and the long road to recovery

[6:00]: How Ross’ experience on Survivor made him realise how stable he was and happy to enjoy the simple things

[7:16]: How Ross’ sleep apnea was a big issue as it was unable to sleep

[9:30]: Ross’ struggle with depression during his long recovery and how it has affected his zest for life, even to the point of blocking his friends and family out

[12:05]: How the adrenaline rush from surfing big waves gets Ross through life and the deadly conditions that he and others have faced

[14:10]: Ross talks about an epic experience surfing the biggest waves he’s seen in Hawaii

[17:04]: The biggest surf Ross experienced in Indonesia, his near death experience and how it was the closest he came to drowning. 

[19:30]: Ross shares about the time he watched his friend Donny die and how he tries to avoid surfing on that day of the year 

[22:16]: How Ross manages his anxiety in dangerous situations and the importance of staying calm

[25:00]: Ross’ advice for people to stay home during lockdown and not risk spreading sickness

[27:05]: The importance of speaking to someone and Ross’ experience talking to a psychologist during his recovery

[30:40]: Ross shares about Sunny Garcia and how his suicide attempt affected the surfing community

[33:00]: Ross’ plan to get back into surfing soon and his desire to explore more parts of the world

[34:34]: How surfing isn’t about achieving but about experiencing something different each time

[36:04]: Ross’ advice to be yourself, be kind and open and not to judge people


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Storm Surfers 3D

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If after listening to this episode and you don't quite feel right or you want to reach out to someone to speak to, we have provided some useful resources below. 

For immediate support please call one of the following 24/7 hotlines. Someone will be ready to take your call. Remember, ‘It Ain’t Weak to Speak’

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Emergency: 000

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800

If you are in the United States:

Emergency: 911

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Crisis Text Line: Text LIVIN to 741741 in the United States

If you would prefer to speak with someone face-to-face, we recommend visiting your local GP (doctor) who will be able to have a chat with you about what is going on in your life and refer you to a mental health professional if required.

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