December 16, 2009

LOST AT SEA (part 1)

After sitting around the house for days waiting for the rain and wind to stop we started getting restless. Frequent runs to the beach in between downpours only revealed victory at sea conditions but we knew it had to clean up sooner or later. So when the forecast showed a switch in wind direction, less rain and more swell, we decided to make a plan and head out to a wave that rarely breaks and needs heaps of swell like we had on our hands. Getting there would require spending some quality time on the ski and motoring out miles into the distant horizon. The crew consisted of Asher and his good mate Ado along with Dean Morrison and Shaun Harrington. The plans were made and we would take off dark and early the next morning.

lightning

We  awoke to what had to have been the loudest crack of thunder any of us had ever heard. It was pretty clear that the storm was nowhere near finished but plans were already made and so we headed off for the long drive to our launching point to assess the situation. Upon arrival we were greeted with howling side shore wind with pelting sideways rain. Out to sea the horizon was black and the wind driven white caps marched across it with no sign of remission. But, plans were made and the thought of what we might be missing out yonder wouldn’t allow us to cancel the trip, after all this wind would be off shore at our destination.

storm

So we packed ourselves and the gear on to our ski, three hombres, five surfboards, one Camera, one water housing, one tripod, three backpacks, two extra fuel canisters and the storm of the year. Packed on like refugees we set off on our adventure  wondering what the day and our luck help in store for us.

After motoring out for about five minutes we heard Deano and Shaun whistling from their ski behind us and we realized we had lost all five boards. We quickly looped back and rounded up the wandering crafts and pulled ashore to reload. The seas were extremely choppy and it was clear no matter how tight they were tied down we were going to have to keep an eye on them.

Take two, so we made headway into the black horizon and as the wind driven sideways chop met the on coming swell we found ourselves caught in what felt like a washing machine. No sooner than the shoreline disappeared and my death grip to the back seat started to loosen we rode over the top of the biggest lump yet. Then we came down the back only to submarine right under the next wave. The ski had to keep motoring to stay afloat and we submarined for what felt like a good distance before Asher and myself were ripped from the ski into the murky water. Luckily the tripod bag floats because it went flying off as well and was floating a few yards from where I popped up. The waters we were in are known to be very very sharky and we didn’t exactly want to hang around to find out.

So now that we had two mishaps in the books there was sure to be a third since things seem to always happen in threes. We continued on for what seemed like forever bobbing up and down and slowly making our way to an island we still couldn’t see. Luckily the rain let up, in the distance we could see the shoreline and knew that were on the right track. The wind was still howling as we make our way around the island to the side where the swell was hitting and as we came around the corner we could just barely see through our bloodshot eyes what appeared to be waves peeling off in the distance.

continued in part two tomorrow . . .

December 4, 2009

SNAPPER

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Sand is of the up most importance to the many world class points on the Gold Coast and during the summer and fall months the sand bars can take quite a beating and change drastically. We witnessed such a change when one of the biggest storms to hit the region in decades came ashore and demolished the sand bars. We were lucky enough to get a few days before the sand was displaced and the wave know as Snapper Rocks disappeared completely only to turn into a mushy close out for months before the sand would regroup. Although this wasn’t classic Snapper, it was the one of the last days it would resemble anything of its normal shape for the months to come. Asher Pacey, Mick Fanning, Dean Morrison and friends took full advantage of the dark barrels before the storm hit and the sand disappeared.


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