Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Mates on a Mission

Forty knot winds , storm warnings and gnarly weather out of the Tasman is what gets every Nelson surfer frothing.Our excitement was high and we were up hours before sunrise getting the boat ready , food , boards and warm gear. The swell was forecast to drop pretty quickly but with light winds we were keen on a mission. Driven by a desire to escape the crowds and to go and explore an isolated stretch of coast in search of new and maybe never before ridden waves , we were off in search of our own back yard nirvana. After a long gut churning drive , we finally arrived at the end of the gravel road.With a long way to go still ,we set off across the pass notorious for its swirling currents , huge flows and many boat wrecks. As we neared the exposed side of the island the boat was dipping into some deep ocean swells and our hopes were rising.I had been checking this part of coast for years , usually on a calm day with a fishing rod in hand , wondering what all those kinks and reefs would do in a swell?We had been here with boards a couple of times but never had great conditions and been teased by the potential.This part of the island is extremely exposed and very isolated with no roads , farms , tracks , houses or any sign of civilization at all , just pure south island wilderness.

 When we arrived at our destination the tide was not quite right so we motored around the corner to another potential spot and it was peeling , big on the sets and breaking right in front of raw rocks and cliffs . Super exposed , we went in for a closer look. A large set loomed out of the grey sea and broke violently down the reef.

Keni had been quietly watching from under his hoody and when i said (half jokingly) you keen on that bro , he turned round and said yeah mate keen as!! Mark mumbled something about being from Tasmania and then they were over the edge and paddling towards this psycho wave.With swirling winds and currents and not good anchorage in the reefy foul i was a bit relieved to have to stay with the boat. I did wonder how i would explain to Linda and Debs how i had let the fellas go out there if things went wrong.Any way the boys charged it and started to pick off some medium ones. It looked heavy and close to the rocks. I could see the point we had just checked starting to peel with an offshore and when Keni started to paddle further inside towards some gnarly looking reef with with no safe exit , i called the boys back to the boat . They were pretty stoked but i was keen to get some waves so we pulled up the anchor and headed back to the point.

 When we got there a nice set peeled all the way down the point and we knew we had scored.There was a good anchorage and i quickly waxed my board and jumped in after Mark and Keni who were already out there.

 The waves were peeling and we surfed for hours.

 The swell was dropping off pretty quickly and i went in to the beach to get a few snaps of the boys and take it all in.Some goat skeletons , fishing buoys and discarded boat rubbish was the only sign of any other civilization and it was a tranquil moment as waves peeled gently down the point.We had enough so rode the swells back to the boat ramp , stoked with the whole mission.When we eventually got back to Nelson the sun was out , it was offshore and the local break was offering long shoulder high barrels with a a bunch of local guys enjoying it , about as good as it gets at that size. Cleaning of the boat could wait as we paddled out for more. It was a dream day in Nelson and i sank into the couch totally washed out and stoked.

Photos and story by Bruce Wilson.

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