Ross Clarke-Jones: smile you survived a near-death experience in Nazaré

Australian big wave surfer Ross Clarke-Jones nearly drowned in Nazaré, Portugal.

There is a golden rule at Praia do Norte that says: "Never go right."

The 51-year-old surfer from Sydney has been a regular face at the Portuguese surf break. But, this time, he didn't even need a huge wave to live a terrifying moment.

All it took was a medium-sized right-hand wave caught and ridden in front of the iconic lighthouse cliff. After bailing off the wave, he was pulled underwater for 30 seconds.

And when Ross inflated his life vest, he saw the cave and rocks in front of him.

"The rip was so fast and strong that dragged me straight into the death zone, where no one can reach you on the jet skis because it's shallow and covered in rocks," explained Ross Clarke-Jones.

Left at the hands of Mother Nature, the Australian got pounded once again and was washed straight onto the rocks.

"I was completely out of breath, so I put myself into a safer area and hid behind a rock. Another set came in, which dragged me in and out like a washing machine."

After recovering his composure and orientation, Clarke-Jones timed the sets and climbed up the 30-meter cliff.

"You know what you sign up for when you surf Nazaré. I always have a hell of a time. But this was a nice reminder that you should never take it for granted. Especially on the smaller days like today where you can get complacent. "

"It was a big mistake. I think I'm done for Nazare's season. I think I'm going to call it a day. I need a rest. It's been a long four months," concluded the big wave surfer.

In the end, Ross Clarke-Jones escaped death by drowning with a concussion and a wounded leg.

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