JOEL Parkinson has taken on the most dangerous waves in the world over nearly two decades as a professional surfer.
Heavy breaks like Teahupoo in Tahiti and Hawaii's infamous Banzai pipeline are where you expect to hear about near death experiences and horrific injuries.
On the weekend he drove south of the Tweed River in search of waves as the first swell of the new year filled in, according to a News Limited report.
In a freakish incident after falling off a wave, his leg rope became caught on submerged rocks, the water pressure not allowing to reach the surface.
"It scared the living bejesus out of me," Parkinson said, in a News.com.au repor
t by Lucy Ardern.
"I didn't think I was going to get back up."
The leg rope finally broke but Parkinson said he did not have much air left in his lungs.
"I couldn't get up and only had about ten seconds of air left.
"Finally the leash gave way. It was a close call."
Peak fitness and training is a big part of being a professional surfer in the modern era and Parkinson trains with ironman Wes Berg to stay in top shape.
Parkinson had attended a rally at Kirra at the weekend, with fellow surfing champs Mick Fanning and Kelly Slater.
The rally, organised by the Save Our Southern Beaches Alliances wants Gold Coast beaches protected from development by having them declared as world surfing reserves.