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In his own words, Occy tells the complete, remarkable story of his spectacular rise, terrifying fall and miraculous rebirth.
'Occy was always a missile going hyperspeed, about to blow up at any moment. - it's true of so many highly intelligent or gifted people . . . All of his passion was put into his surfing.' Kelly Slater, eight-time world champion
Child star at sixteen, ranked third in the world at seventeen, winner of the Pipeline Masters at nineteen - Mark Occhilupo looked set to sweep all before him with a radical, spontaneous, irresistible brand of surfing. Yet a spiralling descent into drug abuse and depression snuffed his flame out prematurely when he quit the pro tour at just twenty-two. Faltered comebacks, spectacular bursts of free-surfing and manic breakdowns followed, as the surfing world watched a freakish talent self-combust.
After years spent immobile and overweight on the couch, in his so-called 'Elvis period', Occy eventually emerged from his cocoon, reborn and ready to tackle a whole new generation of surf stars. His celebrated comeback to win the world title in 1999, sixteen years after his career began, is a sporting fairytale without equal.
'By going down so hard, by fully falling apart, he was able to give himself longevity. It's like the Buddhist teachings about birth and death - something has to die for new birth to happen, and that happens inside us too. Occy was the ultimate example of that.' Tom Carroll.
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