When a surf company made him an offer to find new surfing spots along the West African coast and document his travels, Melbourne stuntman and Australian Ninja Warrior contestant Jayden Irving leapt at the chance.
However, the last place he thought he’d find himself in his quest for surfing nirvana was behind prison bars in the Congo.
“It makes for a good pub story,” the 26-year-old tells TV WEEK.
After travelling up the coast from South Africa for seven months, Jayden says “things went a bit awry” when he got to the Democratic Republic Of Congo.
“There was a thought that I was a potential terrorist or mercenary, or someone potentially hired to assassinate the president,” he says.
“There was some confusion about who I was and what I was doing.”
Scarily, Jayden had no access to the world outside the prison – that is, until he managed to bribe a guard to text his mother to tell her of his plight.
She then put into action a huge diplomatic mission that eventually saw Jayden released after 25 days.
He’s now much more cautious about the situations he puts himself in.
“I consider it as a near-death experience,” he says. “Even if I didn’t die, it was a situation where you’ve lost your life. There was the potential to be thrown in jail and forgotten about.
“If I hadn’t got that message to my mum, who knows? I could still be there. It makes you appreciate every single moment, decision and single experience you have.
“You’re more appreciative of the time you’ve got – and the country you’re living in as well.”