Cloudbreak

Mark Healey ditches his board as the biggest set of the day bears down on him. For reference, his board is nine feet long … Photo by Tom Servais

"This is probably the biggest, most perfect wave ever seen. It's Cloudbreak in Fiji and was taken in conjunction with the Volcom Fiji Pro," says veteran lensman Tom Servais. "The swell was historic in size. Caught too far inside, big-wave surfer Mark Healey took off his leash and ducked under this wave just in time.”

Mark Healey bailing his board? Never heard of that happening before. But this swell was special. Special in that it arrived smack dab in the middle of the 2012 Volcom Fiji Pro waiting period. Special in that the world's best big-wave riders had amassed along with the ASP's top 32 surfers. Special in that it was the biggest damn Cloudbreak any of us had ever seen.

Volcom Fiji Pro contest directors had to make the tough call as to whether or not the conditions were safe enough to run the event, or if the massive, 20-foot-plus bombs were too dangerous and the contest needed to be put on hold. They decided to go for it, but after just two heats—and a terrible wipeout sustained by Raoni Monteiro—it was deemed too big and bumpy and the contest was delayed.

What followed was a big-wave session for the ages. Conditions cleaned up, and got bigger, and bigger. With Volcom streaming everything live, the world witnessed arguably the greatest big-wave surf session ever, the apex being this unridden set wave that caught even the world's best big-wave riders off guard and scrambling for their lives.

For more of Tom Servais' work, head over to tomservais.com.

More from GrindTV

Surfing author Michael Scott Moore is freed

"John Severson's Surf" reveals surfing's Golden Age

5 wacky, weird waves that surfers love