From sheep farm to big waves: Brad Norris surfs the Great Southern
Big wave riders are a different breed on the surf circuit. Hell-men as they're known, seek out and ride the largest waves on the planet, scaling 20-40 ft cliffs of water and foam. Voluntarily.
Norris is an unlikely candidate for a big wave rider. Hailing from a sheep farm in the central Wheatbelt town of Ejanding, the up-and-comer discovered surfing aged 10, after moving to Perth for his education.
"It was sort of lucky. As soon as I got to Perth, my uncle was a mad surfer and pretty much threw me a surfboard and said 'here you go'. It became one of those things that you do every single day after that," he says.
A passionate young surfer, Norris found himself drawn to bigger swells.
"It's the best thing ever. There aren't that many people crazy enough to do it, you pretty much know everyone out there, but it's like nothing else," he said.
Denmark's surf secret
The Great Southern is home to one of the most coveted big wave breaks in the world - The Right. A few kilometres offshore from Denmark, prime conditions produce monster swells enough to test the most seasoned rider.
Norris is a finalist in the 2014/2015 Oakley Big Wave Awards for taking on this spot. He relishes the thrill of riding The Right.
"It's like nothing else. Every single wave is completely different, you never know if you're going to make it or not, so it's up to Mother Nature to let you do what to do."
"It's that fear factor that you love and that adrenaline that brings you back," he said.
A risky pursuit
As the waves get bigger, so too do the dangers. Norris has experienced the hazards of big wave riding firsthand.
"I had one time that I was under and I didn't think that I was coming up," he said
"So I train, I surf and I keep really fit."
"They actually have these emergency, blow-up vests, that if you don't think you're coming up you can pull this cord and it releases a plastic bag full of air inside your wet suit and you come to the top"
"But you try not to use them as much as possible otherwise you just rely on them. If you go down, you just take the beating that you deserve I suppose," he said.
In the transient world of surfing, Norris is never far from a trip back to the Wheatbelt. He jokes that sponsorship deals could come from his hometown.
"My Pop's stud in the Wheatbelt maybe - it would probably be pretty hard to convince him," he said.
"My whole family hate what I do, they all love seeing me come home."
Brad Norris spoke to the ABC Great Southern Breakfast show.