After that bizzare 2 week run of unseasonably easterly weather we are now settling into some classic El-Nino setups with northwest to southwest flows looking set to run right throughout the month.
A really good old fashioned Northwest bender lined up in a 10-12 days time will be sure to blow the cobwebs out of a lot of crew who seemed to have distanced themselves from the lineups of late. Question mark. Question mark.
The switching Southwest Northwest trend is a tricky one to try and source the right place and right time and quite often its a disastrous situation along the most of the boulder bank leaving a lot of people scratching their heads.
If you nut it out though you will find some hidden gems.
The truth is out there,
Growing up back in Tassie.....
.. there used to be this term "Whitey-Chucker".
It derived from the description of someone turning pale white just before either vomiting, passing out and/or both. It also transcended into the term for someone being a really good surfer in that if you were watching the person surf either from the shoreline or out in the water they would make you want to "chuck a whitey".
To best interpret the term one really needs to immerse themselves in the moment so without leaving you hanging any longer please sit back and watch this latest edit of Albee Layer.
......He is one big Whitey Chucker.
My whole trip to California reads like a best-case,
all-time dream. It began when I made contact with Ken Robbins on
Facebook. Ken is a top bodysurfer living on Oahu in the Hawaiian
Islands. We had been talking for a while when I was suddenly contacted
by Vince Askew of the Del Mar Bodysurfing Club in San Diego, inviting me
to be on their team to surf in the URT WOMP at Coronado Beach and in
the 39th World Bodysurfing Championships at Oceanside Beach in August of
2015. I was blown away by the invitation but had to turn it down
because I couldnt afford to get there. Vince said that all I had to do
was get there and the Del Mar Club would put me up, all expenses paid. I
posted this on my FB page and the whole thing went viral - overnight my
whole friends list lit up with everyone totally pusing me to go. Almost
immediately a besty of mine messaged me to say that he would pay for my
return flight and I could pay him back when I could manage it. This was
an amazing opportunity for me suddenly so at the suggestion of friends I
set up a Givealittle page on the Net and all my friends began donating
money into it so I could pay the flights loan back to my besty. I paid
him back in two weeks and the rest is history.
came over to San Diego, met up with Vince and all the amazing people
(too many to mention them all!) he had organized for me to stay with
from the Del Mar Bodysurfing Club - four different sets of people,
finishing up for the World Championships in a great condo at Oceanside
overlooking the Pier. The first day after I arrived I entered the URT
WOMP Bodysurfing contest and in small surf managed to make it to Second
Place! I was pretty stoked even though the waves had been small and I
spent the day going between the Del Mar crew and the Slyde Handboards
tent - great to meet Steve and Ange after all this time in a way so
unlooked for and also the rest of the Slyde crew - totally cool to get
in the water with all of these guys! Steve and Ange invited me to join
them for a BBQ at a friends house after the contest and we all had a
ball round there with a great pool, rocks and waterfall right out of
Unfortunately a few days later I
hurt my back, two days before the World Bodysurfing Championships and
even though a good friend of mine rang around and found a great
bodyworker - Bob Davis - thanks Bob! who got me back on my feet, it set
me back a bit for the contest - I had to swim mostly on my back which
slowed me down and I didnt get enough waves to qualify out of my heat.
But ... even though I was frustrated with my performance, I was
determined not to let it get me down and I still had the most amazing
time, with incredible people and every day totally special in every way.
I left California with a big lump in my throat - a friend had bought me
the new surfing book, Barbarian Days - you have to read this book - its
the best! I took it to a big meal with most of my new friends at a
great restaurant and asked everyone to sign and write something in it
and I now have an incredible memento of my time at Del Mar and
Oceanside! Humbling and very special - thanks so much guys - new friends
from San Diego, Brazil and Australia and a load from all over on
Facebook! Ive had a lot of invitations to come back next year, so ive
saving already .....
Flying out to Hawaii on
the way home to New Zealand Aotearoa, I had one night on Oahu with my
friend Ken Robbins. Ken made it into the finals of the Worlds and I was
staying with his brother, Bruce, at Oceanside and we had already planned
to try and catch Point Panic in the morning before I flew out. Ken took
me for a great sight-see around Honolulu but we found that there had
been a sewage spill into the sea on the South Shore so we couldnt go in
the water - the next morning Point Panic was flat anyway so I asked if
we had time to get to the North Shore. It was summer and the North Shore
is usually flat at this time of year but I just wanted to sink my feet
into the sand at Pipeline ...
extraordinary trip has come full circle for me now, sharing this last
session with Ken. He was my first contact on Facebook which catalysed
the progression of events resulting in my invitation by Vince Askey to
go to the World Bodysurfing Championships at Oceanside beach, so I guess
it is fitting that we finished up the trip together in a way I never
would have envisioned. We swam out and bodysurfed the Ehukai sandbar at
the famous Banzai Pipeline. For those of you who are not familiar with
the world of surfing, the North Shore on the island of Oahu has always
been synonymous with big wave riding. This is the place where, sooner or
later, every surfer is obliged to come and be tested if they aspire to
make it into the ranks of professional surfing. Allowing for the
mysteries still inherent (and which I hope fervently, will remain that
way) in our individual and collective psyches, this earth of ours has
become an open book now in so many ways, across every spectrum of
physical, mental and spiritual endeavour. Within the realms of surfing,
many other profoundly challenging locations in different parts of the
world have become accessible to all comers and while some of these spots
are now included on the professional surfing circuit, the short stretch
of coast on Oahu`s North Shore still remains, perhaps, as the abiding
trial by … water. Like so many surfers of all disciplines around the
world, all my life I have been familiar with the names of Kaena Point,
Haleiwa, Laniakea, Waimea Bay, Pipeline, Off-the-Wall and Sunset Beach, (and the outer
reefs, like Outside Log Cabins and Avalanche) to name perhaps the most
prominent spots as you travel along the Kamehameha Highway. The North
Shore comes alive in the winter months and subsides in summer. Where
25ft waves can be the order of the day at Waimea Bay and Sunset Beach in
winter, summertime usually initiates a vacuum and these beaches can be
snorkelled with impunity.
Together with all of the
above-mentioned spots, Pipeline has always retained a profound and
awe-inspiring mystique so it was with a certain surprise and mounting
excitement that I walked through the Ehukai parking lot with Ken, to see
a crowd of about twenty surfers scrambling to ride 6 - 8ft sets
consistently hitting the inside reef. We watched the crowd jockeying for
position and noticed a woman bodysurfing on the end of the
left-handers, when she could find a space between board-riders, but they
were few and far between so we walked down the beach a little way to
check the sandbar next to the main Pipeline peak. This was also
consistent and coming through at a more manageable 3 - 5ft with only one
person out on a stand-up-paddleboard. We took note of the large, random
rocks awash in the shore break and speculated on the possibility of
bodysurfing the right-hander coming in to meet the diminishing Pipeline
left. We were not expecting any swell of consequence at this time of the
year and I realised that this was another once-in-a-lifetime cubic
centimetre of chance hovering in front of me. I could walk away or I
could take hold with both hands. Ken and I looked at one another and
said together, ‘Let`s do this!’.
So we returned to the car,
locked up and walked our fins and my GoPro on my helmet mount and my
Hexflex Slyde Handboard back to the sandbar. The swim out in the 80deg
water (this was 9.30am and the air temp was around 85deg) was easy and
pretty damn blissful (lol) and Ken and I began sharing waves with the
SUP surfer, who soon got out. My first time in the surf in Hawaii, I
noticed immediately that the waves had an edginess, a thickness and
power to them which is not apparent in NZ. Just wearing boardies
(initially it felt like I had a parachute on until I realised my pocket
was open and acting like a break. I became more streamlined when I
zipped it up) and a rash vest with no wetsuit made it easy to go deep
when diving under the waves and I was entranced by the clarity of the
water - the reef was just below us and clearly visible. Then a big set
of three or four waves came through, well overhead and suddenly we began
paying more attention to the line-up and the implications of having
larger waves arriving, (we had seen this happening before we went in but
still thought it looked ok). By then three other guys had joined us and
I chatted with one about the surprise of finding waves this size
breaking here in the summer. He agreed and said that it was a new swell
and was forecast to get bigger tomorrow and the next day. Things were
still in control but I started thinking about past stories of hapless
surfers on the North Shore being caught out on ‘step-ladder’ days, when
each successive set of waves increases in size and you keep
paddling/swimming further and further out until eventually, you are
hundreds of metres out and its so big you can't get back in again
because you are too scared to take off … and you know, this was Pipeline
… I checked in with Ken and he had already made the decision that if
the big sets hitting us suddenly decided to become the average norm,
then we were out of there … I agreed, quite happily. So we traded waves,
both of us getting good rides and diving under the big sets until it
was time to go. Ken went in first and I followed after I had finished
talking with a young lad who was bemoaning his fate of having to leave
the next day to go to college … in Wisconsin - not a lot of surf over
there. I enjoyed my last wave and rode it all the way in. The steep
beach was coming up fast and I considered riding right up the sand, then
saw the shore break dumping inside-out and did a tumble-turn at the
last moment, coming to my feet and walking backwards fast, in my fins -
but not fast enough. Just to demonstrate that this spot is not to be
trifled with, the next wave swatted me over and sucked my handboard
leash right off my wrist. Gone. I thought I had lost it and did not
fancy going back into the shorey to look for it, then saw a tiny piece
of the leash sticking out of the sand - the board was buried and
completely out of sight - and pulled it out of the sand before the next
wave arrived. So we came through unscathed and I have yet more great
memories - and footage - of my California Dreaming trip. I am thankful
though, that there was no surprise stepladder in evidence … and thanks
so much Ken, for taking me up to the North Shore and what a gift for us,
out of the blue, to go out and bodysurf at Ehukai Beach … who knew?
Howdy Surflings, not too many updates of late as Spring seems to have sprung and everything is full on!!
Its almost as if we all look round and think "what...spring already? , but the years nearly over, better get some stuff done"!!!
Lucky for us here in surf-city , Huey the god of surf has also decided we need to get stuff done on the home front with no surf forecast for at least the next fortnight maybe even 3 weeks! The last couple of swells have been a little bit of a wind-down indicating that infact how consistent run through Winter may all be about to abrubtly stop!!
On the club front, Trudie Pegg the new secretary/treasurer has been more than pro-active raising over 500bux for the club in only a few weeks and if you are one of the crew to sign your life away paying your subs on time then there is a t-shirt here with your name on it!!! We will be in contact!
So, the plan after the school holidays is to pick the eyes out of the next weekend swell and hold another club day/ competition so keep your eyes peeled for something going on in October some time we would hope!!
(above): Hossegor, France.
Travel Wise, Jimmy Wright and Finnley Meekma are like Bill and Ted on an excellent adventure through France at the moment heading through to Spain and have been stuffing there faces with baguettes and the like trying to gain some weight after too much time in Amsterdam.
Bruce Wilson and Raef Murray are both off to Rarotonga (seperately) whilsts Dale Cooley and family are soaking up some of that Samoa'an flavour as I type.
A week of easterly winds ahead and that can only mean one thing. Im off to the west coast.