Taking life by the jaws

Taking life by the jaws

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Taking life by the jaws


By Olivia Amourgis | Images by Dallas Olsen

The 30-year-old finds motivation in never wanting to look back on life wondering: ‘Was that possible?’ Mark admits he’s always had an  adventurous and risk-taking streak, leaving little wonder as to why he takes on the feats he does. The record breaking night ride on 10-13m waves at the Jaws break in Maui is one of his biggest achievements yet.
“The first two waves my heart was pounding through my chest and the  sound of my heartbeat was all I could hear. It took over everything,” Mark recollects. “I was really scared but I knew I just had to tell myself that I had to stay on my feet and stay as calm as I could. It was the most intense night of my life.”
The feat was not only a world first; it was the  starting point for Mark’s journey to proving to himself, and the world, exactly what is possible. Today, the Australian adventurer uses Maui’s pivotal event as an anchor; he’s done it before, he can do it again. Through this powerful attitude and the thrilling experience of his Jaws night ride, the documentary Nine Lives was set in motion.
The adventure series exhibits adrenalin-charged challengers pushing the boundaries of human strength and endurance. The extreme episodes include Mark not only parachuting from aircrafts into the ocean thousands of kilometres off shore; he dives right into the largest swells on earth with jet skis and surfboards in tow.
Mark admits to being scared, but he breaks everything down one step at a time and pushes his fear to the side. Not only is he able to forget the fear, Mark has learned to take the adrenalin and use it to his gain; all to capture ‘the greatest dream and conquer our greatest fears’.
“I’m always scared,” Mark says. “There is so much adrenalin pumping through your body that you have to accept it and use it to your advantage. I try to tap into that heightened awareness when I’m really on edge.”
On the edge is exactly where Mark lives and to do so, he needs to be fit. He spends a lot of time in the pool doing sprints and underwater drills, and in the ocean free diving and practising his board paddling. On top of that, he  spends a couple of days per week in the gym doing functional training; staying strong and mobile is vital for Mark to achieve what he does. And without question, nutrition plays a big part in his success.
Mark has always been lean and often struggled to gain weight; as a result, his body couldn’t keep up with the elite challenges or constant training at 100%. The biggest lesson he has learnt throughout his career, though, is the  importance of hydration for performance. Today, Mark ensures everything he puts in his body and does is functional for what he is trying to achieve; whether it be riding 10-13m waves at night, surfing on record-breaking swells thousands of kilometres off shore or sky diving from an aircraft.
The daredevil certainly knows how to keep life interesting; leaving little surprise he has suffered some injuries in his time. Mark has torn his knee, busted his ankle and almost broken his back over the years; ironically, he always seems to get hurt when he’s ‘mucking around’ or doing something with little to no risk.
“Mentally, I always took it as a sign that I needed to have a bit of a break and pay attention to what was going  on,” Mark says. “I try to never take the little things for granted no matter how simple they seem.”


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