Within 12 hours of arriving in Nazare for the first time, Ollie Dousset was speed hopping down the face of a solid 40-foot wave. The lack of experience and the huge chunks in the face made the task difficult. The fact that Ollie only has one leg should have made it impossible. 
 
It is remarkable to think that it was less than 18 months ago that Dousset was told by a doctor in Perth that he could either lose his leg or lose his life. The 26-year-old from Sydney’s northern beaches had been travelling on the back of a scooter as he headed back to his accommodation in Uluwatu on August 11, 2018, when he was tragically run over by a cement truck as it attempted to overtake them.
 
He scooped up a lot of his leg and his calf muscle that was lying on the ground next to him and caught a taxi to a local hospital. Ollie received surgery the next day to pin his leg back together but developed an infection 10 days later. His parents had to pay for an emergency flight to the Royal Perth Hospital where he received the devastating news.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Some moments captured before my first surf at Nazare after flying in the night before, A last minute decision on less than 24 hours notice. . I had only towed into a handful of time’s in my life and never surfed a real tow board (they are Super heavy 12-15kgs)... nor had I done any tow surfing with straps since loosing my leg.... we didn’t know what was going to happen and if I was going to be able to do it...... Everyone was having second thoughts about going out there in such big conditions.... and were thinking of waiting for a smaller day..... . @caiogebaravaz quietly walked over next to me and asked me what I thought away from Everyone... I said I think that it’s pumping and a perfect day, some of the cleanest big waves I had ever seen... I want to surf. . . he said “Then let’s go!!!!” . So i put my canisters into my vest, put on my original big wave psyche up song on repeat (breathe - @hilltophoods ) and we headed down to the boat ramp to suit up and get out there. As we were getting ready I noticed Caio was wearing a moon boot; he was still recovering from a heavy injury at huge cloud break, where he ripped his hamstring off the bone and destroyed his leg.... so it was only fitting that two dudes with two good legs between us were heading out together.... we were both laughing as we were walking down the wharf to the jet ski. . I jumped on the back of the rope while we were still in the safety of the harbour and practiced a few rescue pick-ups and water launches to figure out how to get my prosthetic foot into the tow strap. The board felt good and fast..... Caio and I held hands and he ran me through the traditional prayer that they do before each session, which was very special. we were ready. 👊🏼 . 📸 @anacatarinaphoto

A post shared by Ollie Dousset | Amputee (@olliedousset) on

 
However, Dousset immediately set up throwing himself into a new life. Since the operation, he has learned to snowboard and parachute and has committed himself to the big wave realm. “I saw Ollie surf the big left at Durras last year and I was blown away,” said big wave filmer Tim Bonython, the man behind the reality documentary series Swell Chasers. “Since then he has surfed Waimea and Pipeline. I told him he had to come to Nazare and within 15 hours of stepping off the plane he was towed into that bomb.” 
 
The Nazare big-wave fraternity is one of the most inclusive and supportive in the world and Dousset borrowed boards from the two-time SUP World Champion Caio Vaz, who also towed him into the wave. “It was really emotional,” said Bonython. “Everyone on the hill was cheering and clapping and everyone in the water was looking out for Ollie. It was a special moment. The kid is unstoppable!” 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

It was an honour to be invited to surf in the @gigantesdenazare paddle contest today... an expression session of the some of the worlds best big wave surfers here in Nazare.... . It was also my first time paddle surfing nazare, Conditions were perfect with waves in the 15-25ft range with some rouge bomb sets.... Which landed on my head... twice. . This photo is from my first wave of the session, I was nervous and unsure if I could match it or even hold my own with the caliber of surfers in this event... So I planned to catch a wave as soon as I got off the JetSki...... I was the first person to catch and wave in the event and this was it. Literally 2 minutes after jumping off @lucaschumbo ski (Thankyou for the ride) . Today was undoubtedly one of the best big wave sessions I’ve ever had. I caught 8 waves today on a weapon on a board Loaned to my by @c.j.crooke 🙏🏻and surfed well. My cheeks hurt from Grinning ear to ear for the entire 3 hour session....Thank you to the event organisers, all the jet ski drivers and safety crew and all the fellow surfers. I have never felt such a welcoming and friendly community of incredible humans in my life. Thankyou to everyone 🙏🏻🤙🏼❤️ . Photo captured by the local legend @miguel_chaby 📸

A post shared by Ollie Dousset | Amputee (@olliedousset) on

 
Dousset wasn’t done there though. After a few tow sessions, he was invited into a paddle expression session as part of the build-up for the Gigantes de Nazare competition that should run this week. Borrowing a ten-foot gun from underground charger Chris Cook he described the eight waves he caught in the 15-25ft range as the best big wave session of his life, even if he wore a few on the head. “I have never felt such a welcoming and friendly community of incredible humans in my life,” he posted afterward. 
 
It is just the latest feat in an incredible journey as he transforms a traumatic event into a catalyst for adventure and inspiration. “I set big intentions for 2020 and I was determined to let nothing hold me back,” said Dousset. By the looks of things, he’s been true to his word.