Dave Kalama Interviews Jamie Mitchell About Belhara France


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Dave: So the first thing I thought when I saw that picture was, before I got over got over the “holy shit” and the “oh my God”, was what was going through your mind when you knew your where committed?

Jamie Oh man, that’s a good question because all morning we had been basically dodging waves. The waves were moving so fast that you couldn’t be outside and try to paddle into them so you basically had to be in the position of either getting cleaned up, or being in the right spot.

So this one was one of the bigger ones of the day, so I saw it and I saw someone padding for it, but he wasn’t in the right spot so I thought, “it’s now or never”.

To be honest I really didn’t think too much I just knew I was in the right spot and I knew I had to go. I had come all that way and spent all that time and energy, and have been training really hard. I was like “this is it”!

Basically I just swung and put my head down and paddled my ass off!

Jamie Mitchell Hurcules swell zoomed in

Dave: So the next question that went through my mind after seeing that picture and realizing that you didn’t make it was what happened next? How long were you down, was there another wave?

J. To start off I was in such a good position for the wave that I actually thought I had it. I remember getting to my feet; you know I’m getting down one bump, the second bump, then the third one. The further I got down the more violent the bumps got and the wind got under the nose, as you can see the rest is history, but it basically looks like I just jumped off to the side and sort of just tried to pinball down.

Basically I was slipper sliding down the face of the wave, then I spun on my back and was looking back up at the face of the wave, and I had the most amazing view ever, that I particularly didn’t want to have!

jamie mitchell belharra reef france

The first part of it I skipped and it sucked me over and drove me down, but I was lucky I had my vest. I was skipping down and still relaxing and still getting plenty of breaths, still breathing and really conscious to make sure I was trying to stay relaxed.

I had my Patagonia vest pretty inflated so when I did get sucked over and pushed down, from what I can gather because I didn’t have to equalize, I didn’t get pushed down too deep because I was already inflated.

Dave: When you say not too deep, give me a number?

Dave: It’s hard to say how deep.

Dave: When you do the math if you go under 5 ft., but the wave is 40 ft. and comes on top of you, now you are like 45 ft. under.

Dave: I don’t think is was that deep because I didn’t have to equalize, but maybe something like 20 ft., it’s hard to really put a number on, but the violence was pretty bad. What I felt was at Belharra, the water moves sort of like an avalanche. So you look at it top to bottom this wall of water and it felt like I was getting dragged a long way. It wasn’t like I was down and under and just being pinned under, because I didn’t have a leash on either. So usually the leash with the board will tombstone you and you will be stuck.

jamie mitchell billabong

So I was moving with the whitewater and that’s what felt like wow, I’m constantly moving and tumbling, moving and tumbling; it wasn’t like I was just down waiting, I was constantly moving.

I finally came up and I wasn’t under any super dourest with the breathing, but then when I popped up, obviously the next one was bigger.

Dave: So you took off on the small one!

Dave: I guess the smaller one, but the next one just looked like a wall of whitewater and the way the clouds were that day it made it look like one wall of whitewater to infinity. It was like the whole sky was about to mow me down!

I took one look to the channel, because basically it’s a left and the boats from the channel looked over, and I was hoping miraculously super man on a jet ski would come rescue me an pull me out, but realistically I was thinking there is no one in the world right now that can help you. You just got to man up and take it

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