After slicing his nut sack open on a fin when a barrel closed out on him – Mark Roughley, from Ulladulla Australia, decided to surf as much as damn possible once those scars had healed.
That incident was more than two decades ago. Spring forward to just the other day and Mark's surpassed his 10,000th session in the water in 9,322 days, or the equivalent of surfing almost every day for the past 25-years.
And isn't that pure dedication? Handily, Mark (aka @mrjaffle69) who is 48-years-old, kept a diary of each session that went down across the globe. Although it's a staggering achievement, he remains humble about the situation. “It's no easy feat, but it would have been a lot easier than that bloke from Northern Cali, Dale Webster, you know the one - who surfed every day for 30 years, but that's his story,” he said.
“Mine starts like this; it was 1992, just got back from Hawaii. My local beach was crappy but you know, you just go out with your mates for a muck around. Anyway, pulled into a close out barrel to have my fin slice my ball bag open.
Anyway, pulled into a close out barrel to have my fin slice my ball bag open
“When I returned to the beach and looked through the hole in the crotch of my wetsuit, I was delighted to see my ball hanging out of its bag dangling on a string. To cut a long story short, 16 stitches and five weeks later, I was back in the water very cautiously, and ever since February 14 1992, I've written down every surf, from Canada, Indonesia, Hawaii, Fiji, South Africa, with Lakey Peak being my all time favourite.”
For the past 20-years, Mark's worked at a cafe in Milton NSW called Pilgrims. “It's a cafe that a lot of surfers frequent, for example Taj was in the other day. My hours are 8am till 4pm, or thereabouts, so it gives me a chance to surf either side of the day, in amongst mowing the lawn and sitting on our back deck with my wife.”
It was 12-years-ago he moved to Ulladulla, his local now Mollymook reed. “My mates thought that was a loser move,” he said. “But it's made Golfie and Nommie, (Ulladulla's premier waves) so handy.”
When I ask about how he stays motivated, Mark said: “I find the motivation from surfing, I just love it. I reckon I've had more bad surfs than most people have had surfs. I'm pretty good at being out of position for the good sets, which is so annoying.
“We have a morning group that surfs together, like everywhere I suppose. This helps with motivation but then there's them days, you know, straight onshore mushburgers and it's funny, because in some of those surfs, I have better ones than when the surf is good.
“By the way it is never flat, it's always surfable here, riding my CI 5'6” or 5'7”, not fishes, no need for Mals. It feels good to have 10,000 surfs behind me, I would really like to get to 20,000 - I think my surfing days are nowhere near over but my biggest ones are behind, unless I win the lotto or something like that.”
Mark's diary highlights
- Most days surfed in a row: 1,198.
- Most surfs in one month: 64.
- Most surfs in a year: 602.
- Least surfs in a year: 120.
- Longest surf: 10 hours, Hts. “Jumped of the boat at 7am and got back on at 5pm, no sunscreen, with a bald head,” he says.
- Biggest surf: Waimea bay. “I'm not really into big waves, especially in the last few years.”
- Winning the 1998 Werri Beach Autumn Slash beating Phil MacDonald and Dylan Longbottom in the final.
- Getting dropped in on by Mick Fanning at Lennox head, he got off when I made the section though.
- Caddying for Pam Burridge in the final of Bells in 1997. She got beat by Lisa Anderson.
- Any surf with my son Kiarn.
- And hopefully surfing in Kelly's wavepool through an invitation but the invitation is not compulsory [laughs].