The story of Australian surfer Darren Longbottom's epic rescue from a remote surf break in Indonesia
Darren 'Daz' Longbottom was born to surf. The son of surfing pioneer and board-maker Rossco, and brother to legendary big-wave specialist Dylan, Daz paddled out with world champions from a young age. He was one of the overexcited 'access all areas' grommets behind the rope when the World Tour rolled into Australia.
After the Longbottom brothers' first surf experiences in Cronulla, where they belonged in the waves alongside the very best in surfing, Dylan went on the road as a 'free surfer', while Daz pursued a career in the surf industry, learning all aspects of the trade and setting up a successful business. But Daz's passion for waves would very nearly cost him his life, and would test his resilience and determination in unimaginable ways.
When Daz said goodbye to his wife and baby daughter to go on a surf trip with friends to the remote Mentawai Islands off Indonesia, it was the fulfilment of a long-held ambition. But he could never have foreseen just how difficult the road home would be, or how his life would be changed so profoundly.
Beyond the Break is the tale of a freak accident, a terrifying rescue and the long and painful journey home. It is a story of coming to terms with the life-changing consequences of riding a single wave.
About the Authors
Daz Longbottom was destined to surf. Born into a surfing family, living on the beach in Cronulla and with a surfboard manufacturing pioneer for a father, it didn’t take Daz long to discover that surfing feeling. Following early successes in competitive surfing, Daz moved into the surf industry and eventually became the owner of a surf shop. He became a father and ran a successful business, which made life feel easy as he negotiated a path of pure happiness. Then, in a split second, everything changed. While surfing a remote and idyllic location in Indonesia, fourteen hours by boat from the mainland, a freak accident resulted in a broken neck and instant paralysis. Alone in the water, Daz fought to stay alive until he was rescued by his friends. But that’s just the beginning. Reaching the safety of a hospital would become an epic, life-or-death ride no-one could have foreseen.
British author and journalist Tim Rushby-Smith was a lover of the great outdoors: a passionate mountain-biker, hiker and climber, and enthusiastic in the waves. In 2005, Tim fell from a tree while working as a tree surgeon and suffered a spinal cord injury that resulted in instant paraplegia. His experience of injury and the return to normal life led him to write a memoir reflecting on his experience. Tim went on to write features for numerous newspapers and magazines around the world, as well as writing for the BBC. He served a six-month stint as a columnist for The Times in London, writing about life as a wheelchair dad.