New Zealand Surfing - - Right Place | Right Time -

Be­cause I am a power surfer, my per­son­al­ity and my travel sched­ule, four straight pump­ing days would be all time and suits me to a tee! Get the job done and move on! Hav­ing those four days in a row pump­ing is rare for around here, so when it did hap­pen we made the most of it, I man­aged to surf longer than 20 min heats and am pretty sure I was out froth­ing and surfed longer than Di­vey! And it helped that we got the first two days with only a few guys out, un­til the rest of NZ caught on that it was pump­ing every­where!”

- Matt He­witt.

IN 2011 THE EAST COAST OF BOTH IS­LANDS OF THE COUN­TRY SIM­PLY PUMPED, SOME­TIMES FOR MONTHS ON END. Then came 2012, the year it all dried up. From time to time there were pe­ri­ods of ok waves but those clas­sic days had be­come dis­tant mem­o­ries. En­ter the re­gion of the Bay of Plenty, not ex­actly revered for its con­sis­tency, surf spots in this re­gion have be­come the butt of many jokes over the years. And for one par­tic­u­lar zone they hadn’t seen a wave worth claim­ing for over eight months. Sum­mer, which usu­ally de­liv­ers, didn’t come, and with the en­vi­ron­men­tal tragedy of the Rena Ship strand­ing on a reef off­shore, sev­eral days that would have ap­peased the ap­petites of lo­cal surfers were off lim­its with closed beaches and an ocean full of de­bris and oil.

Then in re­cent weeks a deep win­ter de­pres­sion rolled out to set up camp north-east of the coun­try and be­gan to pump in a groomed mid win­ter swell, all surf fore­casts were show­ing one good day of waves with ad­verse con­di­tions ei­ther side of the swells peak. How wrong they were! When surf fore­casts show its go­ing to be pump­ing and it isn’t, that’s down­right heart breaking, in fact you feel ripped off. But when the re­ports show a pos­si­ble day here and there and it smokes the whole time, well the feel­ing when you score those rare times, usu­ally with not a lot of oth­ers that have switched onto it, then that’s bit­ter sweet.

With four straight days of some of the best waves lo­cal surfers can recall in their life­times, it raised the ques­tion, what kind of surf do you re­ally live for, es­pe­cially in th­ese parts. So we thought we would play the game ‘What would you rather’, where you get given two sim­i­lar op­tions with dif­fer­ing re­sults and have to choose one way or the other. So for some of those surfers that were on hand we put it to them. Would you rather score four pump­ing days in a year, or have an abun­dance of av­er­age days?

NZ Surf Mag se­nior pho­tog Hamish ‘Estrada’ Mathieson, was foam­ing at the mouth, such was the over­load of ex­cite­ment of scor­ing more than a few feet of drib­ble. He takes up his side of the story from the epic swell;

“To tell you the truth, af­ter the ter­ri­ble run of swell we’d had I’d stopped look­ing at fore­casts. Liv­ing in Mt Maun­ganui you don’t re­ally need to any­way, about a week out ran­dom dudes come up to you in the street, foam­ing at the mouth, throw­ing dou­ble shakas and claim­ing that next Wed­nes­day is go­ing to be pump­ing. By pump­ing they just mean there’s go­ing to be surf, usu­ally two foot on­shore crud.

So the night be­fore this hyped up swell was sup­posed to ar­rive, I ac­tu­ally checked the charts. Yep it looked like Wed­nes­day would have waves with off­shore winds, then drop­ping away Thurs­day and


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