Sunday, June 10, 2012

Weird swell, 3 waves sessions and the urge to ride bigger waves!

This is one of the most valuable sites I visit to check out the conditions for surfing. It provides the swell and sea data from a buoy off West Cape Howe about 35 kms to the east. I think most who surf here would agree that the most favourable situation is when both the swell and the sea line up south westerly and wrap nicely around the point or push straight through around the bay.

The chart from today shows the sea coming from the east creating a cross swell which is not optimum but will result in some wave movement in the corner. I am really just waiting for the overall swell to come up more before I go for a physical surf check today to get a session in before all hell breaks loose next week and more on that shortly. For the last few days, however, we have had uncharacteristic, for this time of year, strong north easterly winds which have resulted in both the swell and the sea being lined up from the east. Although there has been plenty of size, this has resulted in pretty frustrating sessions of late as the waves have not been hitting the current bank set up correctly at all. I have spent a lot of time during the last couple of sessions paddling around all over the place trying to find something that was sitting up nicely and actually peeling off with a bit of wall rather than phaffing out as the wave moves across the bank incorrectly. In both sessions I have struck it lucky just in exactly the same spot front of the inlet, when a rip has pushed out for awhile creating a really great A-frame peak and peeling off beautifully in a nice tight V where in normal circumstances a wave would not exist. Unfortunately, this situation only lasted about twenty minutes on each occasion but resulting in two or three really great rides mainly to the left. I remember one in particular that had a wall that towered over me and I kick myself for not trying to carve up the face and give that lip a good thrashing but I was just enjoying the view and sensation of the movement across the face that I just didn't think to do it. Bliss really and next time for sure!
The prediction for the overall wave height in the middle of the coming week is 11 metres!!!!!

I don't know about the rest of you, but I have found that as my mat riding experience grows I am seeking out bigger and bigger waves to ride.  (I can assure you I will not be going out in that 11 metre swell should it eventuate). Now I realise this is a pretty typical whatever surf craft you ride but one is able to partake of waves on a mat that one may very well think twice about before doing so on a board. So I am now becoming a little concerned that I might get in over my head one day and engineer my own demise. It is this inclination that led me to more than usually appreciate a recent repost on SurfMatters of one of Peter Bowes offerings in relation to GG. Peter is one of the great writers on surf related matters so I make no apology for quoting a large chunk of it that particularly appealed to me.

"He goes out to the bombies around the Cape and links them all up on his …. craft, says Al. It looks like a mat but the thing is only half full of air and can be used as a kind of bodysheath so GG can plane it out and accelerate when the wave starts to get steep and throw, and then he can shift its function to something similar to a hull-cut and carry on through the fat bits – still at full speed and no slap-bumps because he’s changed the in-water configuration of the thing somehow – until the next shallow section shows its boils." 

This threw us. Greenough has invented something new to ride waves on has he? – and on the bombies out behind the Cape where all the local White-pointers meet for lunch.

" – and if anyone reckons he needs company he just buggers off and goes further out and further back around the Cape."

I wonder where the old bloke is out today – there’s about a 10′ swell jacking up into the north coast and he won’t be looking for company.

Clearly, the same inclination to ride bigger and bigger waves occurred for GG too. It is with some relief that I am able to note that he no longer seems to do this and is content to surf Wategoes in the company of his many good mates. Hopefully, in my case, a degree of common sense and self-preservation will prevail and I will find myself doing the same at 70+ and onwards!

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