Robbie Maddison’s Pipe Dream

After two years of preparation, Robbie Maddison became the first person to surf the world’s heaviest wave on a dirt bike.


For those that don’t know much about Robert William Maddison (usually nicknamed Maddo) you should first learn that he’s an Aussie from Kiama! Secondly, he’s a motorbike stunt rider holding five world records since his career began in 2003. A modern-day “Evel Knievel”, or to put it simply, Australia’s own dare devil.


Maddison came up with the idea by wanting to combine all of his favorite things: dirt biking, surfing and standup jet skiing. Partnering with DC Shoes, the stunt titled “Robbie Maddison’s Pipe Dream” became possible.


“My mind started wandering,” said Maddison.


“I’ve always been fascinated by the way water moves around boats and the way wakeboarding happens. I’d seen quad bikes move over water, and I knew with the right speed and the right skis on the bike, water has enough surface tension that I should be able to ride on water. And if I could ride, then I should be able to catch a wave.”


“This project has taken me to my breaking point, it tested every atom of who I am as an athlete to make it through this.”


The stunt was filmed in Tahiti over April. Maddison studied the wave and another nearby break, Papara. To learn how the bike would perform in salt water, he tested speeds at a nearby lagoon. Maddison’s first attempt riding Teahupo’o wasn’t successful. Day two was also a flop. Three successful takes were eventually filmed but the production crew agreed the waves weren’t big enough. However a surf report indicated there was a swell of over 20 foot waves on its way, so Maddison and only a small portion of the crew decided to stay.


That Sunday, Maddison did the impossible. He selected a wave that locals call a ‘west bomb’, a hooking monster which closes out the entire bay.


“Papara was totally firing that final morning. It just kept seeing these 25-foot waves; and waves that size are terrifying. Everything [in me] was saying don’t do it. There was lightning and thunder coming in, but I’m a man of my word, so I knew I couldn’t back out.”


“It was the most violent ride of my life.”


With another record set, Robbie’s stunt is nothing short of epic. Watching the video, you fear for his safety many times, but can’t help but feel the adrenalin and intensity Maddison must have been feeling only one hundred times harder! Australia breeds them tough.


DC Shoes released the final piece on August 2nd 2015.


To read in detail the very beginning of Robbie’s journey; from the making of the ski’s, the numerous test runs across a lake in Idaho, to almost walking away from the project all together, click here.