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“We call it the pie hunt,” be­gins Kai Ot­ton as he ex­plains the events lead­ing up to this wave a few clicks south of his north­ern beaches abode. “I won’t surf in Syd­ney that much at all but in­stead save it up for a lit­tle strike mis­sion north or south and just live off cof­fee and pies for three days.”

Hail­ing from Tathra on the sap­phire end of the south coast, Ottz grew up on a sta­ble diet of bak­ery treats and heavy wa­ter. So when the whiff of a fresh south swell was on the hori­zon he was the first to be mar­shalling the troops at dawn.

“You know you're in for a good laugh and some se­ri­ous sun­burn on these trips,” says faith­ful lens­man Troy Simp­son who was en­listed on this latest call of duty. “Kai gets so frothed up for these swells – or any­thing ride­able for that mat­ter – and it's su­per con­ta­gious.”

This humdinger was only his sec­ond wave of the ses­sion and is a tes­ta­ment to a life spent chas­ing down fall­ing anvils. Ottz man­aged to stick to his feet as he knifed his way into a fa­mil­iar track, soul slouch­ing un­der a con­crete slab be­fore the smoul­der­ing bar­rel spat him into the chan­nel leav­ing him cloaked in a thick coat of eu­phoric bliss.

“I'm pretty sure Kai still had his feet in the wax when he boasted to us he was hold­ing a 19.5 heat score,” laughed Simp­son who was on the re­ceiv­ing end of Ottz’s heat anal­yser as he kicked out.

Af­ter three back-to-back quar­ter­fi­nal re­sults on the CT this sea­son the tour vet­eran ad­mits that the south coast is the per­fect prov­ing ground for any­thing that gets thrown at the tour elite.

“Any­where south of Syd­ney is good train­ing ground for the tour,” says Ottz. I mean even Cronulla and Voodoo are ex­actly like Fiji and Chopes on some days of the year. You just get used to heavy wa­ter on that coast­line and the lo­cal guys push you. They all charge. That’s just how it is down there.”

Judg­ing from this cur­tain fall­ing mo­ment you can safely as­sume the brag­ging rights went to Ottz whose peers we hope at least shouted him a good old fash­ioned south coast pie for his ef­forts, with tomato sauce of course.

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