Mark “Mono” Stewart has made history, scoring two perfect rides in the final of the Japan Open.
A near impossible feat for any surfer, the Adaptive Surfing Champion received 10 out of 10 for consecutive wave pool tube rides to win his division in Shizunami.
He told Surfing Australia: “The whole event in Japan was a bit surreal with unbelievable treatment and it’s so great to see the Japanese government getting behind Adaptive Surfing. The waves in the Shizunami pool are ideal for a surf contest as the spectators are so close. You can actually talk to people while waiting for the wave and really soak in the atmosphere.”
Mono, who lost his leg to bone cancer as a teenager, honed his skills surfing The Pass in Byron Bay,
“My first two waves in the final, my plan was to hunt a tube as they were rights, which suit me. I thought a tube would be a point of difference for the judges as nobody had got one through the event and they changed up the wave setting to expert so I hoped it would barrel with the strong offshore on the rights. It was nerve racking sitting waiting for the first wave of the final. Trying to concentrate but people yelling support and encouragement is off-putting. Knowing you only get two rights and two lefts, so there is no room for error.
“I don’t think it’s ever been done before by an Adaptive / Para Surfer. Stoked. One highlight for me was in the Semifinals. We had just had our two rights each and were sitting in the water poolside waiting to be marshalled onto the lefts. It was quite chilly and next thing the staff bought us a cup of hot green tea to sip while we waited! Amazing. Only in Japan.”
Mono is the current World Professional Adaptive Champion (AAPS Tour) Kneel and 3x World ISA champ and has won every event around the world. He said despite his successes he’s yet to find a financial sponsor.