WOULD YOU RATHER?
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