This is the stuff of urban legends. Mark Foo was a professional surfer, starting out surfing the south shores of Oahu, and later moved on to big wave surfing at Waimea Bay. In the 1970’s, Foo joined the IPS World Surfing Tour and became a fixture on the international surfing scene. His passion for big wave riding got the best of him however, and he quit the professional tour in the 1980’s to pursue his addiction to the big wave.
While his life was full of passion and excitement, his death was something out of a horror movie. I mean straight out of a horror movie. On December 23, 1994, Foo was surfing a set of waves at Mavericks with fellow surfers Brock Little and Mike Parsons. Foo had just dropped onto a large wave, when he wiped out and disappeared from view. Parsons caught the next wave and promptly wiped out. Then he felt something tugging at his leg. Thinking it was Little, and not realizing that Foo had disappeared, he went back out.
Fellow surfers found and retrieved Foo’s body later that afternoon. This video documentary shows the wave and Foo’s wipeout, as well as Little and Parsons coming to shore on the next set of waves, still unaware that Foo was missing. Parsons later told reporters about Little grabbing his leg from below the surface. Nope, it wasn’t Little. Look at the video and you see Little coming up behind Parsons…while Foo is still alive, held below the surface by his leg rope. This video literally shows a man drowning in the background, without you, the viewer, even knowing. How’s that for eerie?? However, the surfing community wisely chooses to remember Foo as a big wave surfer, who lived and died following his passion. And for that, I salute Mark Foo.