Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Fred Dagg was Right!! -

 Guest Author -   Sam Dillon

Winter can be depressing. It can get you down, it can get you cold, it can even get you dreaming of tropical climes.....
As surfers , especially Nelson surfers, we have a secret weapon to combat the cold! Because we know that winter is the season of swell when those big low pressure systems track further north, marching across the Tasman and kicking up the northerly ground swells we crave, you know the ones – the only ones fit into that funky jigsaw puzzle shape that is Tasman bay.
Only trouble is when the school holidays roll around my snow-crazy family harass me to head south into the mountains and ride the big white walls instead. But this year I had a cunning plan, with a frothing teenage grommet son who was ready to be blooded with some proper cold water surfing(well he claims he was raised as a toddler down the coast), I thought why not throw the boards in too and surf the icy perfection of Kaikoura on the way south? And so we did, scoring some nice SE swell at afternoon Manga’s followed by a solid glassy Meatworks session the next morning, brilliant!
First lesson for the young fella: (and one I seem re-learn every winter) Kaiks is a whooole lot colder than Nelly..... cue the Fred Dagg song. We dont know how lucky we aaare son!

Next mission is drive all night to Omarama and stay in a mates shearer’s quarters, then wake up to minus 13! Well that aint my lucky number I can tell you. The soggy wetsuits I left hanging overnight in the woolshed have got 6 inch icecles dripping off them by morning and the booties.... well you could hammer a nail in with them! Dont get that in Nelson.
The upside to minus 13 is that the snow is in perfect condition and we spend the next few days making pigs of ourselves boarding & skiing the mountains above lake Ohau, mint! Freshmint actually. Boarding a big powder face is a bit like paddling into a giant bomb at Jaws or Cortez Bank.... without all the danger and certain death hold downs, like! Heading back north to Arthurs Pass we score another day of mountain action before checking in with Grassmaster swell tracking dotcom (we have been happily divorced form the internet for many days). The Godfather of surf advises us to pin it straight down the line for home as the goods are due for delivery soon. Thats all it takes and we scorch northwards up the west coast stopping to watch the hardy Cobden locals ripping through barrelling high tide lefts along the breakwater whilst being blast frozen by the vicious 30 knot offshore Greymouth “Barber”. Hmmm makes our SW look tame.
We cruise north through Punakiki stopping to surf big clean Tauranga bay and for a real treat a sand bottom and no booties required. Another late night driving mission has us pulling in to the Glen in the pitch black and winding down the window to a warm northerly which felt distinctly tropical after the deep south. I swear I could hear the sound of coconuts falling from the palms...... although I guess it could have been the rocks rolling round in the shorebreak! We dont know how lucky we are son.
We wake on Sunday morning to the deep Boom Boom of a solid long period swell and instantly know the drive was worth it. After a slow start you can imagine the bewilderment  of pulling into an empty Snappers carpark...... what the ?? Has there been a Mick Fanning moment or something? 
Paddling out a crazy grin spread across my face as an empty double overhead set rumbles through, and then as I swing and drop down the face of a big freight train a full “Confucious-Grasshopper” moment ensued as I realized the irony of the fact that I’d driven thousands of Km in a giant circle only to find the ultimate stoke right on my front doorstep!
(above): Sam returns home to THE solo session.   Photo: Rob McDonald
The ultimate full circle.... We’re unaware of how fortuituos are the circumstances Fred!
Written and directed by Sam Dillon.

1 comment:

  1. Yo Sam! I was photographing you that morning and I couldnt work out why no-one else was out. I was nursing a cough and didnt want to have a freezing vice around my chest so I had to stay put by the Tepee, but man, I was fiending to get out there! You scored some great waves! Have a look at my album on FB, Mid-Winter Promise :) Great write-up above too bud!


Swell Season On !!!

(above) TuaraWhati in all its Glory. Just like that. The flick of a switch. Four days in a row of waves and at least 2 more systems on ...