About Real Risk
In my view, the very embodiment of courage and resilience is my friend Gill Hicks. As a young woman Gill travelled to London to find adventure and a new life. She found success and everything she had hoped for in that wonderful city. But that all changed in "a breath", when she was just meters away from a detonating suicide bomber on the London Underground in July 2005. The ghastly physical impact was just the beginning of a journey that would lead her on a quest to literally promote world peace. Gill is articulate, kind and outspoken about her vision of what humanity could look like. I need to sit down with her for a few more hours to hear more of her philosophies! Gill's book "One Unknown"
To see lots of Molly's thrills and spills, be sure to watch the interview on YouTube under Real Risk Podcast. For the last episode of the series, I bring you a chat with an extraordinary Australian who is currently dominating in the highly competitive world of rally driving. After winning the Australian Rally Championship in 2016 (as both the youngest competitor and the first female), the hugely skilled and very personable Molly is now finding success in multiple disciplines within the sport. And she's not to shabby in front of the camera either after starring in the Australian SAS series as well as working as a motor sport commentator. Molly's career looks set to go from strength to strength, so I was lucky to catch her before her next big year!
Check out the video version on YouTube under Real Risk Podcast. The 2019/20 bushfire season in Australia was the worst on record. The first ever recorded "giga-fire" that burnt across multiple states. And Greg Mullins was one of the experts who knew it was coming. Greg fought his first bush fire as a young lad alongside his father. It was the start of what would become a lifelong career not only fighting bush and structure fires on the front line, but studying the science behind what seemed to be making them worse with every passing decade. In his last position as the Commissioner of NSW Fire and Rescue, nobody could question Greg's expertise. In this conversation Greg Mullins AO AFSM relates harrowing stories from the fire fronts. But it is his predictions for our future that are really frightening if we fail to immediately act on the impending climate disaster. For more information Greg's book Firestorm is a well referenced, balanced account from a subject matter expert.
See the video of Carly's interview on YouTube under Real Risk Podcast. At 24 years of age, Adelaide Muay Thai and Karate expert has already won national and world championships. She is a successful business woman and has a passion for enabling women to be confident, strong and safe on the streets and in life in general. Her latest venture is to promote the prestigious Pride Fight Series with the ultimate goal of seeing the fight card equally balanced with male and female athletes. In a time where many contact sports are increasingly being scrutinised due to the evolving concerns around Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) which can follow repeated minor head injuries, Carly explains why such adversarial contests are still relevant in the modern era. In fact the growth and promotion of mixed martial arts would suggest combat sports have never been more popular. Whatever your view, Carly is an articulate and intelligent woman, as well as an impressive athlete. Her stories about her life in the sport are fascinating. Carly's gym www.femalesfightingforward.com.au Pride Fight Series pridefightseries.com.au
Enjoy the video version on YouTube at Real Risk Podcast. At the top end of town in motor sports - Formula 1 and MotoGP, the budgets are eye watering. The technology is beyond comprehension and the competition to get a seat or a ride is extraordinary with countless young wannabes vying for a tiny number of opportunities. So when the red lights go out and the racing starts, the need for not only speed but also reliability is obvious. A tenth of a second here or there gained through tyre choice or suspension setup will win races. Much of this is in the hands of the crew chief, the person responsible for coordinating the different teams who look after all the different systems and who can also interpret the feedback from the racer. In motor cycle Formula 1 (the MotoGP), the best of these crew chiefs was Australian Jeremy Burgess. "JB" looked after some massive names - Randy Mamola, Freddy Spencer, Wayne Gardner, Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi. JB earn't the nickname "The Kingmaker" through his involvement with over 15 World Championships! It was a delight to chat with one of Adelaide's own who made it big on the world stage.
Check out the video version on YouTube Like all elite branches of law enforcement or the military, the Water Operations Unit of the South Australian Police demand high standards of fitness, stamina and intelligence in their recruits. More than just divers, the team are police officers first and foremost, conducting their duties at sea and on rivers or other inland waterways. They have a strong presence in search and rescue ops as well as the counterterrorism space. But the diving is where their unique skills really come to the fore. Underwater, they are still potentially working a crime scene. Gathering evidence as small as a bullet casing or a diamond ring; or as large as a car driven into a river. And mostly in the complete darkness of muddy water where they cannot even see a hand in front of their face. Add into the mix the important but grisly job of recovering human bodies, one can see why the team need to have a certain temperament. They are an inspirational and very tight knit team of professionals, replicated in countless cities around the world by others performing the same role .
Check out the video version on YouTube! Matt Hall can fly pretty much anything from an airforce jet fighter to a composite MXS raceplane in the Red bull air races. This Australian is a third generation pilot from New South Wales. During a high octane career spanning over 35 years, he's learn't a thing or two about risk management as he pushes the envelope just about as far as is humanly possible. Matt remains the reigning Red Bull air race champion (doesn't hurt that the series stopped during COVID!) and with the promise of a series return in 2022, will be fighting to hold onto the title. I hope you enjoy the conversation as much as I did! Matt Hall Racing HERE Matt and Red Bull Air race HERE Matt and a close shave! HERE
Watch the video version of the podcast on YouTube at Real Risk Podcast! As Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear famously once said: “Speed has never killed anyone. Suddenly becoming stationary, that’s what gets you.” An on-site account of the 2003 race by Sports Illustrated writer Franz Lidz called the spectacle "38 Miles of Terror... a test of nerves and speed that may be sport's most dangerous event". The event has been held on the remote British island since 1907. Since the inaugural race, there have been over 255 deaths on the race course . In 2016, five riders died during practice and racing. The worst year was 1970 with 6 deaths. Davo Johnson has been called the nicest bloke in the paddock. But he is undeniably effective on the massive bikes that aim to complete the 6 laps of the course at an average speed of over 130mph! Watching the slow motion imagery of these machines airborne over the road crests then missing the stone walling by inches makes me return to my childhood, looking at horror movies through the cracks between my fingers! But Davo takes it all in his stride, finding the thrills and competition completely addictive. Learn about the race HERE An in depth look HERE featuring the unique Guy Martin
Check out the video version of Real Risk Podcast on YouTube. Craig Challen is a Perth based technical and cave diver who is equally comfortable diving deep shipwrecks and exploring caves. He and your podcast host became friends in the mid 2000's when they discovered a shared passion for exploration, in particular in the niche area of ultra deep caves. Along with their tight knit friendship group (The Wetmules), they have travelled far and wide in the quest for new finds, developing techniques and technologies along the way. In this conversation the banter is as thick as the stories are tall. There are stories of adventure and derring-do culminating the Thai Cave Rescue. Enjoy!
Watch the full video interview on You Tube under Real Risk Podcast Russell Ord (surf photographer extraordinaire) and Shanan Worrall (big wave surfer and water safety expert) are the true definition of watermen. Both of these hardy souls come from the south west of Western Australia where the Indian Ocean swells roll onto the shore at spots like the infamous break known as "The Right". Both men immersed themselves in every facet of ocean sports from an early age and whilst Shanan continues the search for the ultimate wave, Russell has turned his attention to capturing the beauty of the ocean's motion and the athletes who try to master the massive waves. This has led to a strong friendship between the two, cemented when Shanan nearly drowned at The Right and Russell came to his aid on a jet ski. Their understated tales of frightening swells, horrific shark attacks and the personal struggles that followed are compulsory listening, and should be an example to us all of how to face your fears, share your worries with mates and how to come back stronger than before. www.russellordphoto.com www.sharkeyesglobal.com
Check out the video podcast on the REAL RISK YOUTUBE channel! Few individuals can claim to have truly expert knowledge and mastery of the practical aspects of their discipline. Dr Simon Mitchell is the Professor of Anaesthesiology at Auckland University and is widely acclaimed in the field of diving and hyperbaric medicine. His often very practical research into operational and equipment based diving conundrums, makes him a highly sought after, and very entertaining speaker at diving and medical conferences. The breadth and (literal) depth of his diving experience is extraordinary, from reef blasting as a young man, to military, commercial and technical diving - he has amassed many thousands of dives. Simon was involved in a record breaking dive with friend Trevor Jackson in the quest to identify a wreck purported to be the Hospital Ship Centaur. He is an exceptional underwater photographer. He has been a spearfishing and underwater hockey champion. He is the ultimate waterman, a talented educator and a great bloke to share a beer with! This episode dedicated to Operation Flinders
Watch the full video interview on You Tube under Real Risk Podcast Hugh Riminton is a citizen of the world. Growing up in Ceylon, then New Zealand before moving to Australia he has covered stories from around the globe. From the world's most dangerous settlement of Soweto, the killing fields of Rwanda and the horrific cost of the Somalian famine; I suspect Hugh's eyes have witnessed more pain and suffering than anyone should experience. And yet he remains a kind, generous and gentle soul with unique insights into the human condition. Hugh's story is a remarkable place to start for episode 1 of the 3rd series of Real Risk. Watch the full video episode HERE Check out his book 'Minefields'
To finish the series, the frightening account of the shark attack that so nearly cost Chris Blowes his life. The attack ended with his two mates watching the shark swimming off with their friend's leg in its mouth, towing his surfboard by the leg rope behind it. That imagery is so much worse than anything that Hollywood could dream up. Over the next few hours Chris came as close to dying as one can. Another inexplicable survival story in the vein of last week's episode with diver Chris Lemons. But Chris Blowes survived to marry his girlfriend, have a child, return to work and perhaps most courageously, return to surfing. It is yet another story of courage, inspiration and humility that makes Chris a worthy final guest for the series. I also spoke with Dr Kylie Stanton who coordinated the medical retrieval from the SA Ambulance Emergency Operations Centre. Her medical insights into Chris's survival are equally fascinating. Enjoy! Edit-the quote attributed to Chloe at the end of the podcast was actually stated by Dr Michelle Cresp. Chris Blowes will release his book "Caught Inside" this December 2020.
In this second episode of Life on a Line, we rejoin Chris Lemons on the seabed in the North Sea. His umbilical is severed, and he has switched on his bailout gas with the knowledge that in 8 minutes his gas supply will be exhausted and he will die... Make sure you listen to the previous episode first!
The world of saturation diving is high tech, complex and fascinating. The physics and physiology present unbreakable rules that must be followed to remain safe. The risks of decompression sickness, High Pressure Nervous Syndrome (HPNS), oxygen toxicity and inert gas narcosis are carefully managed. But perhaps the hardest part; living in the confines of the hyperbaric quarters for 28 days with no possibility of early release. You have to be the right kind of person. In 2012, Chris Lemons was an experienced commercial diver, but relatively new to sat diving. "Sat" is the pinnacle of the job, good pay, exciting work and greatly respected. And he loves it. So when a highly improbable sequence of events occurred on board the ship nearly 100m above him in the middle of the North Sea late one night, he managed the chain of event which followed with a measured calm born of inner strength and years of training. He stayed calm right up until the moment his life support umbilical snapped...he then knew that in approximately 8 minutes his breathing gas would run out and he would die. Documentary Last Breath Chris Lemons website
Paddling onto a 70 foot wave must make every nerve in your brain scream STOP! The deafening roar, the wedge like tons of water curling over then hurling you down towards the reef visible beneath the shallows at the bottom of the drop. The explosion occurring all around as you reach an impossible speed if you are still standing at the base of the beast, as you then desperately try to cut across the face to escape the monster that seeks to crush you. Frankly it is inconceivable that anyone has such courage. And wave names like Jaws and Killer do nothing to misconstrue or deceive. In what has been the domain of male big wave legends like Laird Hamilton and Eddie Aikau, there is a group of determined female athletes challenging the status quo. And from some of the venom and vitriol I read on social media a lot of the surfing establishment is not happy. But these woman are a force that cannot be ignored. Check out names like Paige Alms, Keala Kennelly and Aussie Felicity Palmateer. But today I talk to the surfer of the biggest wave ever ridden by a woman, Brazilian born Nazare resident Maya Gabeira. Check out the footage of the wave here and Maya's website here
Alex Honnold is cool. Beyond cool actually. His skill and calm transcend what most of us can conceive is possible. And yet when you chat with him he is immediately likeable and you can imagine hanging out. His enthusiasm makes you want to go climbing with him although in my case that would be very embarrassing. I do suspect he'd help you maximise your potential. After all, he guided his own mum to the top of El Cap in her 60s! I can't remember enjoying talking to someone more than I did Alex. And when I somewhat clumsily asked him if Autism Spectrum Disorder was the key to his fearless attacks on the big walls, he seemed as interested in the possibility as I was. Enjoy the conversation and see what conclusions we came to.
Three minutes without oxygen, three days without water, three weeks without food. We all know the saying, but some people just refuse to acknowledge these kinds of rules. James Scott, a young medical student was such a guy. He left Australia for an adventure in Nepal, a clinical placement which would set him up for his return to start a career in surgery back home. But a poorly judged trek at the beginning of the Himalayan winter left him trapped without food, starving to death in a rock shelter in sub zero conditions. 43 days later, as close to death as you ever want to come, he was found thanks to a relentless search by his sister Joanne. It is an extraordinary story of courage, stubbornness and the ingrained will to live.
The documentary 'Free Solo" based around the rope-less ascent of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park by Alex Honnold had us all on the edge of our seats. I found myself holding my breath, at times barely able to look at the screen even though I knew Alex would ultimately succeed. To capture the drama of that quest took both great technical and dramatic skill; the perfect marriage of talents for two film makers - Jimmy Chin (the mountaineer and director) and his wife 'Chai' Vasarhelyi (director and in Jimmy's words, the one who brings great restraint to the film to allow the natural drama to play out). The film received an Academy Award and a BAFTA. But it took years in the mountains perfecting his crafts before Jimmy reached these dizzying heights. His honest account of life before the making of Free Solo is equally intriguing. Make sure you check out 'Meru" as well, which is Jimmy and Chai's first climbing documentary!
When your father is Jack Brabham a three times Formula 1 World Champion, it seems likely that motorsport will be in your blood. And as it turned out all three of Jack's sons took to the track like the proverbial ducks to water. David Brabham never intended to race cars, he was content driving the farm ute at breakneck speeds sideways around the local dirt roads. But when he casually entered a gokart race with a friend one day, he discovered a natural aptitude and competitive spirit that would stand him in good stead for many years. From karting, to sedans, various open wheelers, sports cars and even F1, he became a champion in his own right. And in this conversation, he describes that amazing journey whilst at times living in the shadow of his legendary father, and the family name that still means so much to all Australians. Oh and if you fancy a nice ride for yourself, check out the Brabham BT62! www.brabham.co.uk www.brabhamautomotive.com