Top-notch Newquay surfer and dedicated supporter of Joe Way appeal, Tom Butler, was stoked with the huge waves in Portugal last week and did a fine job representing his home town - and the UK - on the world stage of BIG wave riding.
Although this must have been an awesome time, Tom didn’t forget the local Newquay charity close to his heart. He made the time to get a shot of himself and Hawaiian big wave rider Shane Dorian holding the Joe Way appeal banner, along with Eric Rebiere, Sebastian Steudtner and Hugo Vaue.
Small Joe Way appeal banners have already travelled the equivalent of nine times around the world, clocking up 362,973km, and have been photographed with singer James Morrison, boxer Frank Bruno and some of the world’s top surfers. It’s been taken under water, up mountains, out to sea and strapped to Joe’s dad when he did a parachute jump.
Team Joe are now looking to get the distance up 400,000 km which is comparable to travelling from the earth to the moon.
One of Joe Way appeal’s biggest sponsors - Perranporth Signs - have recently donated more mini banners which are ready to go global. If you are planning a trip and would like to help clock up the miles to fulfil this new target please call Matt Way on 07761 079 454.
It’s (almost) effortless! Pack the lightweight, fold-up banner and carry it to the furthest point of your journey. Unfurl it, take a snap and send a copy of the image to Matt with details of its journey and destination.
Click Joe Way Paddle Map to see where the banner has been taken so far.
The meeting between Tom Butler and the Hawaiian big wave surfer happened after Tom travelled to Praia do Norte in Nazare. He had seen all the hype and huge action shots taken from this beach and was also aware that Praia do Norte holds claim to the highest breaking waves ever surfed. Some amazing 78ft - or around 23 metres - monsters.
Tom, his surfing tow-in partner and travel partner went there in December to take on and surf what ever came his way. Tom explained this was easier said than done as “the beach is treacherous and a no-go for local everyday tourists.
“There are a handful of European surfers who ride the waves here, most surfers don’t want to know about it. Garret McNamara holds the world record here. Then Shane Dorian visited last Friday. He’s pretty much the main big wave rider pushing the boundaries on every historic swell. He’s the Usain Bolt of big wave surfing if you like!”
Tom went on, “Last Friday Praia do Norte was paddled into the biggest it ever has. Taking away the tow-in part of big wave riding means you have to position yourself a lot closer to the danger and use your own arm power to propel yourself into and down the fast moving waves.
“It’s my personal best experience and performance. They are the biggest waves I have paddled into so far! 20-25ft in size. I shared this day with three of Europe’s best big wave guys and Shane, so pretty amazing for my career. It takes a lot of experience to be comfortable in huge waves - the other surfers are 30+ so I’m the baby of the bunch.
“I’m pretty happy in waves of that size after gearing up my mind and body for days like that. It’s my life. It’s all I want to do - push European big wave surfing and share session with the best in the world!!”
To get a taste of the magic that happened to Tom Butler paddling Praia do Norte in Nazaré, Portugal, on Friday, January 11, 2013 go to Magic Seaweed Nazare.
Shane joins some other world class surfers who have supported the Newquay toddlers appeal including Kai Lenny, Robbie Nash, Nat Young, Bonga Perkins along with the WLT riders and Robert August.
Words from www.newquay.co.uk