“Worry is static,” says Mark Mathews. “You’ll be able to squash it.”

Earlier than you fall beneath the spell of Mark Mathews and his prey-to-predator alchemy as proven within the movie The Different Facet of Worry, let me describe the illusion of the Fearless Guy.

He’s, within the way back summer season of 2016, thirty-three years outdated, of reasonable peak, wearing a small protecting of pink fur throughout a big domed head, with darker hair tumbling over a small chest ahead of hiking a pot-belly and disappearing right into a withered adonis belt and pubis.

We discover the Fearless Guy residing in a Sydney beachside suburb referred to as Maroubra, a as soon as down-at-heel neighbourhood well-known for its gang battle and prison episodes now being gussied up through builders, a diaspora of Parisians attracted through the close by French college and creatives pushed out of close by, however dramatically dearer, Bondi. 

He lives within the rented ground-floor condo of a beachfront block, colored yellow, that used to be constructed within the nineteen-thirties. 

His two-bedroom homestead options waist-to-ceiling home windows, every stuffed with the startling color of the Pacific Ocean, fifty metres away. 

The home windows don’t body blue at the scorching December morning I consult with to inspect his newest browsing damage, a proper leg that used to be nearly misplaced to a surgeon’s knife after it used to be came upon the dislocation of his knee all through a abdomen churning wipeout had choked off an artery. 

As a substitute, we discover the Fearless Guy reclined on a five-hundred-dollar microfibre living room chair in the similar puke yellow color because the condo construction, blinds drawn, a blood-stained white sheet strewn at the surface. 

On somewhat fold-out desk is a zip-lock bag the dimensions of a Beverly Hills housewife’s handbag stuffed with oblong blister packs containing government-approved opiates of differing origins and strengths. 

“I will be able to’t stand having a look on the ocean and no longer realizing if I’m ever going to surf once more,” he says.  

He grimaces. 

“I’m fortunate to not be in a wheelchair.”

A couple of months previous, he used to be operating with the Australian photographer Leroy Bellet, who made his identify filming surfers from in the back of, a thorough methodology that nearly invitations crisis, on a venture for power drink corporate Purple Bull.

The pair had been towed into an three-storey top reef wave at the NSW South Coast. The wave went beneath sea-level, because the ledges the Fearless Guy favours are liable to do, and he jumped off when the lip in entrance of him began to disintegrate. 

The physics of water shifting vacuumed him from the ground of the wave to the highest and he landed foot first at the reef.

“To start with, I believed my leg used to be damaged,” says the Fearless Guy, whose nickname “Chalk” references his innumerable accidents together with a shoulder damage on a ten-storey monster in Hawaii that had stored him out of the water for the former 9 months. 


“I’d most effective simply began browsing once more.”

After this yr’s wipeout, he used to be installed a full-body brace and brought through helicopter to health facility. 

“The primary op used to be an artery switch. After the surgical treatment the document got here out and instructed my lady he wasn’t certain I’d stay my leg,” he says. 

He stored the leg.

Now he ain’t so certain he’ll trip a wave, any wave, no longer even one foot, let by myself the twenty-foot monsters he’s constructed a profession on. 

Because the morning solar tries to penetrate the darkish subject material of the blinds, he drags himself off the straightforward chair and scoops up his aluminium crutches. 

“I fucking hate this stuff.”

A glance. 

“I hate those extra.”

He tosses his zip-lock bag right into a plastic bin, ties a knot within the liner and hobbles out to the construction’s garbage boxes.

The Fearless Guy chooses ache over dependancy. 

He is aware of damage, the inertia that follows and a reliance of opiates will poison his thoughts up to his physique. 

“It’s gonna be tricky, however I’m no longer going to be a junkie.” 

It’s a work of theatre I’ve noticed ahead of. 

When the shoulder used to be torn from its socket on that ten-storey wave in 2015, a physique of water described through the very well-known Hawaiian big-waver Shane Dorian as “probably the most largest and heaviest waves I’ve ever noticed”, his surgeon mentioned the view from inside of his deltoid used to be an “explosion” very similar to the mess he’d noticed on a motocross rider he’d operated on two months previous. 

The Fearless Guy had come again to Maroubra to get well. 

Then, as now, the blinds had been drawn, simple chair wheeled out from the storage and the zip-lock bag opened. 

However as ache aid grew to become to want and his thoughts started to run alongside darkish tracks, the medication had been binned and the sunglasses opened. 

The street to a wholesome, non-dependant restoration from catastrophic damage ain’t simple neither is it lovely. 

It’s a terror of a ache so deep it appears like your bones are being eaten from the interior; a terror that the ones loads of humiliating rehab periods are useless and your leg or shoulder is rarely going to serve as in any significant sense. 

As simple as it will be to go with the flow on an artificial cloud, the Fearless Guy doesn’t glance away.

On each events, I used to be there for the dumping of the medication within the outdoor boxes and the squinting of his eyes because the blinds had been opened and solar flooded his lounge.

His eyes regulate to sunlight. I see him actually grit his tooth. 

He tells me he’s been petrified of the entirety: small waves as a child, large waves as a youngster, everlasting incapacity as a result of some dumb wipeout and, maximum of all, and comically given what he now does for a residing, public talking. 

And the way he has spent the remaining fifteen years learning no matter he can in finding, self-help books, peer reviewed clinical research inspecting the behaviour of the mind in tense eventualities, philosophical dissertations at the that means of existence and the frameworks, from the vintage religions to the cosmic, to assist him create his personal road-map to residing a existence liberated from concern.

He is aware of being crippled doesn’t all the time imply a damaged leg or twisted backbone. 

“Need and resolution is dynamic,” he says. “Worry is static. You can squash it.”

“How?” I ask, having a look on the swelling of flesh and tissue on his leg, colored pink in the back of a free bandage. 

“That,” he says, “would fill a guide.”

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