Tuesday, October 15, 2013

No Slouch.... A short Sea Story

... well, I like to think that im no slouch - not that its a choice so much as a driven thing, if you know what I mean - an unquenchable desire to Do ... absolutely man, lets do it! If there is no-one to do it with, I tend to do it anyway, but lets face it, unless you are in a particularly Zen moment, its nicer doing it with friends aye? So last night, with this firmly in my subconscious, at 5.30pm I joined Marky Mark Nichols and another friend, Wairarapa Rob in his tinny at the Akersten St slipway and in our wetties, took off into the swarming gloom and 40knot winds to go and surf The Cut, next to Haulashore Island.

On the way there we were heading with the weather, but I was glad of the 3mm vest/hood I had on under my winter steamer, because I planned to bodysurf the spot and I wanted to be toasty warm. Marky is an old hand at The Cut but I had been waiting for a while now, to bodysurf it and looking at the top two images below, you might be able to see why I wanted to get in there. Bodysurfing on a small handboard, which I have practiced extensively over the last four years, ideally needs a hollow wave and this spot is renowned for delivering just that. We arrived in the nook just behind The Cut on the Haven side of the Boulder Bank and after an interesting struggle to moor the tinny (Rob nearly broke both Marky`s legs in his efforts to tie up) we jumped overboard and swam/paddled to the Bank for a looksee over the other side. So in my minds eye I was seeing the first two pics below, but in reality it was the following pics (these were taken at The Glen after I got home) which greeted our hunched-against-the- 40 knot- stormforce-wind-forms. Marky reckoned that if you hug the concrete and wood structure (see first pic) there is a back-eddy and you dont get sucked down the Bank and with this in mind the three of us dived into the maelstrom. Of course, I had spotted what I thought to be a more makeable section a little further out and before you could say Shag-on-a-rock, the current had me and I was gone ... the tide was coming in so no worries - I just had a speed-blur vision of passing rocks and the two forms of Marky and Rob walking back, as I swam back over to the Bank. Getting in and out on boulders while wearing swim-fins is always a challenge and as the surge unceremoniously spat me up the Bank, I consoled myself with the knowledge that I had been very toasty warm throughout my (en-)light`ning trip. Rob and I sat on the Bank in the gathering gloom and watched Marky duck-dive 50 unmakeable waves in 30 mins until it finally dawned on us ... 'Its not going to work bro!' and we headed back, somewhat thankfully, to the security of the tinny.

 Surfing in such outrageous conditions in such full-on surroundings (calculated risk - we are all very experienced surfers) was nothing to the insane high-speed run in the tinny, back up the Haven - against the weather! Spine jarring, gut-wrenching, water-smakking 10 mins later, we arrived back at the slipway, pleased as hell with our adventure and looking forward to home and families, warm fires and food. I had picked up a large, heart-shaped stone which I managed to swim back to the boat as a present for Janice, my partner and climbing into the boat, I left it on the transom. When Rob climbed up, he saw it and in astonishment said, 'Where did that come from?' I very nearly told him the wind had blown it off the Boulder Bank onto the boat ... Words by Mike Baker.

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