‘I surf big waves in my dreams, not in real life.’


Regular visitors to Become-a-Bricklayer will be aware that our website uses an image of a massive surfing wave as its branding device.

This is because surfing, for many people symbolises the idea of a lifestyle that involves freedom and excitement and the reality is that bricklaying as a career, makes such a lifestyle possible.  The fitness required for both, a love of the outdoors and the early start to bricklaying day makes catching the surf a reality.

We were therefore stoked to read in Brisbane’s Courier Mail about Peter de Haan, bricklayer from Cronulla and his amazing, out-of-the-box real life experience of the big surf.  Peter just went to see the adventure movie Storm Surfers 3D with his wife when out of the blue he was picked for a promotion and ended up in the middle of Bass Strait a few hours later in a real-life adventure beside big-wave hunter Ross Clarke-Jones.

As Peter said “All I wanted was an autograph for my five-year-old son Jett”. Instead, he found himself on a jet ski in the cold and pitch dark alongside a friendly “maniac”, staring at the biggest wall of water he had ever seen.

“It was like I was plucked from Earth and I jumped on another planet,” he said of his jaunt with one of the world’s most famous and fearless monster-wave riders.

“I’m just ordinary Pete. Things like this don’t happen to people like me. But Ross was incredible. He’s a cool dude.”

The 35-year-old said he thought at first he was being punked when Ross Clarke-Jones ushered him out of screening on to a plane to Melbourne and then drove him at break-neck speed to the Victorian coastal town of Jan Juc, just past Torquay.

Then, when he found himself sitting beside surfing-mad Clarke-Jones on a jet-ski in the dead of night somewhere off the Australian coast, hunting for big waves, he “freaked”.

“I surf big waves in my dreams, not in real life,” de Haan said of being towed off the coast looking for monster surf. I am just an average Joe who surfs a bit.”

While Ross Clarke-Jones, who with former world champion Tom Carroll stars in Storm Surfers 3D, has notoriously ridden waves whipped up by typhoons and been in a wipe-out off a 20m monster, the 4m wave de Haan saw was big enough: “Ross was great. He kept encouraging me. I got up and rode a wave but I was a bit shabby. I think I’ll leave this to the professionals.”

While it was the adventure of a lifetime, de Haan isn’t keen to repeat it: “It was crazy. I’m happy just being Pete.”

Tony Bishop,
ABBTF Manager Qld


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