Managing fear inside a 20-foot Cloudbreak barrel

May 27, 2016 | Surfing
Cloudbreak: Dane Gudauskas drops into heaven | Photo: WSL

World Surf League's "Strike Mission" at Cloudbreak will stay in the memory of many surfers for a long time. There were exciting and tense episodes, and an unstoppable express train of 20-foot barrels breaking on a sharp, sheltered reef.

Aaron Gold will never forget the 23rd of May 2016. After wiping out in Cloudbreak bomb, the Hawaiian lost his conscious and nearly drowned. Fortunately, there was a man - Uri Kurop - on a jet ski ready to save his life.

All's well that ends well. Gold was brought back to life, and the footage of that day resurfaced. Fiji's infamous surf break delivered one of the best big wave sessions of the decade. We haven't since anything like it since the breathtaking and historical Thundercloud swell of 2012.

This time, the South Pacific surf spot attracted athletes from all over the world. When they saw the heavy barrels exploding on the shallow water, the adrenaline levels went sky high.

Billy Kemper, Damien Hobgood, Eli Olson, Francisco Porcella, Greg Long, Koa Rothman, Landon Mcnamara, Luke Shephardson, Mark Healey, Mike Pietsch, Nathan Florence, Ryan Hipwood, and Shaun Lopez were there to witness Mother Nature's grand party.

Hobgood won the lottery. He enjoyed one of the longest and deep tube rides of the day. Dane Gudauskas' wave is remarkable, too. And Shaun Lopez honored his family name with perfectly-timed take-offs.