Episode 4

Episode 4 - The Big one....

 

It's been a pretty frantic few days, works been busy, it's dark in the mornings and dark in the evenings which makes getting the “odd” surf a veritable lucky dip.

Fortunately things were about to change, according to the charts and the forecasts we were in for some big swell, and the conditions were looking good for the weekend.

I phoned up fluffer, “What you up to this weekend? According to the charts it might be worth taking a little trip, North Coast looks like its gonna be going off… you up for it?”

Before I had finished those last words fluffer replied “Hell yeah, I've not been our for ages and I'm gagging for a surf”

So a few arrangements later and we had a trip on for the weekend. Now all we needed to do was agree on where we were gonna go.

Fluffer wanted to go to his usual North Coast spot, where it was consistent, reliable and we know most of the people down there. I felt like a change however, and we had been driving past this spot for some time now that neither of us had seen anyone out on, and looked like it held quite a nice wave.

As I was driving, I got the last shout, and come Saturday morning, we were loading up the truck in the dark to get an early start.

On the way down, we made a few calls to see if anyone else was up for it, but everyone else was either busy or couldn't get down this weekend.

As I was driving along, the worst smell started to fill the truck!

I turned to fluffer to see him rearranging things in his bin liner! His bin liner being where he keeps his Wetsuit, gloves, boots etc.

“What the hells that smell!?” I exclaimed trying not to be sick and opening the window full whack.

“Errmm, I think it's my boots!” He replied, “Put them BACK in and step away from the bag now!”

He laughed and chucked the gear in the back, within a few more minutes of open windows all round the smell had faded and we were able to put the windows up re introduce some heat.

We finally pulled up at the spot after driving for about 2 hours. There was no parking and it was a nearest lay-by job and a long walk. We grabbed the boards and our kit and headed down to the break.

The conditions were perfect, with only the offshore wind being a little stronger than ideal. We picked our way down the cliff and as we suspected the spot was completely empty.

Looking out to sea, the sets were rolling in, epic style. With the strong offshore wind and big swell, the conditions were less than friendly!

I looked at fluffer and said “Looks pretty heavy!” with that feeling in my stomach of anticipation. Fully aware what the paddle out would be like.

“Yeah” was all fluffer managed in reply, but he looked like he was thinking the same as me.

We got suited and booted up, trying to avoid the smell of fluffers boots as much as possible, and headed in.

It was as suspected a tough paddle out, with the waves breaking with the ferocity of a reef break, even though this was not totally solid bottom. I watched as fluffer powered and duck dived his way to the line-up, and about 10 minutes later I finally arrived out back in the line-up also, totally knackered!

We sat for a while getting our breath back and waiting for the feeling to return to our arms.

The sets were now getting huge, and were bordering on 15ft faces at times!

“Well” fluffer said to me “I didn't paddle all the way out here to sit on my board all day” I just looked at him, too out of breath still to be bothered to talk.

I watched as he started to paddle closer to the take off point, he manoeuvred over and then waited for the next set to come through. Sure enough it came, he let the first wave go and then started to paddle for the next, It was pretty big, but not one of the biggest, being maybe 2 – 2 ½ times overhead. Big enough!

I watched as he paddled right in, then it jacked up and he was up, a hard bottom turn and he virtually came straight back over the top. A short and sweet first wave to ease into the situation.

It was my turn really, but I just wasn't ready. Since we paddled out the waves had grown an extra 3-4 + feet, and the bottom was dredging out something chronic.

I watched as he paddled into another wave, another monster. A sweet bottom turn, a hard sharp carve back up to the top of the lip where he dug his fins in and a mass of spray came blowing over the top.

It was finally time I paddled in to one, so I waited for the current set to pass, and paddled into the take off zone, my stomach was full of butterfly's as it was probably the largest I had surfed in this country.

Fluffer shouted over to me “It's a hellava steep takeoff….”. Thanks for that I thought.

The next set started to roll in, and like fluffer I always let the first one go. The next one came along and I started to paddle in for it, it was kinda half hearted paddling and just as it started to jack up, I pulled out back off the lip. Seeing the wave jack up was pretty unnerving!

Fluffer shouted encouragement over to me, “Go on, you'll make it, just make sure you make the drop…”

The next wave came along and I paddled in with a bit more intent, it started to take me and jack up. I was trying to keep what fluffer said in my mind, and was concentrating so hard. I got to the point of no return, and had to pop up, but I was a little late, and popped up so high on the face. I stamped all my weight on the front of the board, GO GO GO GO, I knew if I didn't get down the face it was gonna be a nasty wipe-out. It was touch and go and I seemed to stay on the top for ages, but eventually with my weight so far forward, I just took off, like I was going vertically down the face of a cliff. I now had to concentrate not to just nosedive when I hit the bottom and shifted my weight.

I made the bottom and turned and trimmed along the wave, which was easily 2 ½ times overhead. I just hung there on my board trimming down line and the wave just kept facing up to me, eventually I pulled out.

With my heart going about 200 beats per minute, I paddled back out to where fluffer had been watching.

Awesome ride init” fluffer said to me. I was totally stoked, I was convinced I was going to eat it, and to be back out in one piece was a big weight off my mind. It's always the first wave that's the worst, once you have that clear the next ones are never so bad, as you know what to expect.

I was knackered already, but I think it was just the adrenalin from that first wave.

The rest of the morning, we both took turns and caught plenty of waves. We both ate it right in the impact zone more than once which was not fun!

After that session, I slept like a log! We went out the next day at our local spot, probably surfing 4ft waves which seemed like gentle slop!

Funny really how your opinion of size changes as you surf bigger waves. When I first started surfing 4ft seemed really daunting. Now it seems like just a fun wave!

Who knows where the next monster sess will be, but wherever it is, you'll be able to read about it…

 
 

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