his­tory never re­peats

New Zealand Surfing - - Roady 79 -

All good road­ies start well be­fore sun up; head­ing off in the dark, still half asleep and hun­gry, call­ing in to pick up mates on the way, wak­ing them up af­ter they slept through their alarm, stack­ing boards on the roof and punch­ing on through those small coun­try towns, scan­ning for the first bak­ery with fresh pies and cof­fee to open its doors. The driver on road­ies such as th­ese is the true hero of the morn­ing, he re­mains fo­cussed while ev­ery­one else falls back into slum­ber mode, and sin­gle-hand­edly de­liv­ers the lads to the waves, ev­ery so of­ten a pot hole is hit or a rad­i­cal swerve is nec­es­sary, fol­lowed by a "Sorry lads, didn't see that till last minute," al­though the wry grin across the driv­ers face gives the im­pres­sion that the ac­tion had pur­pose, per­haps a lit­tle re­minder not to get too com­fort­able!

The 79th Primo Roady be­gan with sim­i­lar fash­ion, al­though the thick fog of the Waikato re­gion made our trav­els slow and a lit­tle dodgy not be­ing able to see the cen­tre line with cat­tle trucks ap­pear­ing from the dense white and fly­ing past as if they had 100 % vis­i­bil­ity, scary to say the least. Some­where up ahead we knew there was a tight cor­ner with a rail­way cross­ing that had some se­ri­ous abil­ity to launch a car, and al­though it was ex­pected, the low vis­i­bil­ity meant we came in way to hot and as the humps were hit, launch­ing the sleep­ing travel com­pan­ions and the jet­ski in tow into the air there were a few abu­sive com­ments be­ing thrown down. Well at least ev­ery­one was now awake. Early morn­ing NZ is soul cleans­ing, this is hands down my favourite part of the day, as the sun brings life to the new day, the way the ris­ing light il­lu­mi­nates the curves and forms of the land­scape is mind blow­ing, the birds have taken flight and other an­i­mals be­gin their frolic in the warmth. The golden rays beam through the road­side forestry and a fam­ily of pigs goes about dig­ging for a feed only me­tres from the road un­con­cerned that we drive on by. Th­ese are the mo­ments that make you ap­pre­ci­ate where we live. Af­ter wind­ing through the moun­tains and down along the coast we ar­rive up on the look­out spot where Daniel Kere­opa is al­ready sit­ting wait­ing on us, "It's mas­sive" are his

wel­com­ing words. The reef where we are headed sits eight km out off the coast but be­fore we could even get any­where near that, we first had to launch the jet ski's off this wild West Coast beach be­low and punch out through lines of ex­plod­ing white wa­ter that were stacked up out to the hori­zon. With forecasts call­ing for a late arvo pulse in the swell it was just go­ing to get big­ger, so there was no rush. We would wait for the tide to fill in mak­ing ne­go­ti­a­tion of the maxed out coast­line a lit­tle eas­ier. With a mixed bag of crew com­ing in from all ar­eas of the coun­try all search­ing for the thrill of rid­ing a beast, we had Gis­borne's Blair Ste­wart and Da­mon Gun­ness, Bay Of Plenty's Clint Reid and now Auck­lan­der Sam Wil­lis, round­ing out the crew was Raglan's DK. While most of the lads were go­ing to tow surf, DK as DK does, planned on at­tack­ing the ses­sion a lit­tle dif­fer­ently and had the big­gest grin on his face as he pulled out his new big wave pad­dle gun, all 9'2" of it. How we would get that board out through the break­ing surge of white­wa­ter would be an­other chal­lenge, but DK reck­oned it would be "A piece of piss!" Sam, the man known as Sanga hadn't seen the lads for quite some­time, af­ter trav­el­ling over­seas most of last year, re­cently re­turn­ing home to set up his own busi­ness in Auck­land. He kept the boys en­ter­tained run­ning round in his one piece, one mil neo­prene body-suit that did a good job of leav­ing noth­ing to the imag­i­na­tion in the down­stairs vis­ual depart­ment, Yuck! I must say we were all jeal­ous of this new prod­uct that was to be worn un­der your wet­suit adding a tonne of warmth and keep­ing the freedom, but the look of it worn solo he should have been ar­rested for. Af­ter a team ef­fort to get the trail­ers down the beach and the ski's into the surf we be­gan the zig zag through the mael­strom, look­ing for that one small win­dow of op­por­tu­nity to punch a clear gap to get out the back. DK's board came loose which meant turn­ing around and head­ing back to the safety of the in­side gut­ter to re-tie be­fore our sec­ond at­tempt. Get­ting out seemed far too easy, per­haps it was a long lull, af­ter all, the swell was still build­ing or at least we hoped! Skis are a joy to use when sur­face con­di­tions are smooth, how­ever when lumpy they are sim­ply frus­trat­ing, and mak­ing head­way can be slow. Af­ter an easy half hour of stop start and punch­ing duck dives into on­com­ing waves on the ski we ar­rived, cold, wet and with sting­ing eye­balls. A cou­ple of beast waves rum­bled across the reef sig­nalling the start of a fran­tic rush to be first out there. This wave had only been surfed a few times and only by tow surf­ing, no one had ever pad­dled into a wave here yet. DK knew this and this was part of his in­spi­ra­tion to pad­dle, he has a heap of ex­pe­ri­ence in waves like this, yet didn't want to watch the con­di­tions for too long and be psyched out so wrapped his 15 foot leash around his an­kle and stroked for the take off. By now the tow teams al­ready had a few un­der their belt with Clint and Da­mon bag­ging a cou­ple of bumpy beasts, we al­ways

knew the con­di­tions would be less than de­sir­able, it was the size we were af­ter and ac­cord­ing to the swell re­port it was about to get twice this size over the next cou­ple of hours. DK played cat and mouse dodg­ing mini moun­tains of wa­ter slowly work­ing his way into the prime spot for a take off, then picked the right one, ap­pear­ing as a tiny dot threw down his head and stroked fran­ti­cally as the swell lurched up and DK cat­a­pulted over the ledge down the face to ride out on the shoul­der. His­tory writ­ten and that cheeky lit­tle grin of DK's was beam­ing. The next hour played out in sim­i­lar fash­ion, yet the swell slowly be­gan to de­cline in size and form. The lads had talked this ses­sion up big time, and had been fo­cussed all week in rais­ing the bar of big wave surf­ing to a new realm, yet it never even­tu­ated so emo­tions of dis­ap­point­ment

Mt Maun­ganui's Clint Reid didn't learn this at home. With many road­ies un­der his belt search­ing for waves like this, Clint is ready and wait­ing for when the day comes.

LEFT: An­other pi­o­neer­ing mo­ment for DK writ­ing his name into the his­tory books again! | ABOVE: Maz Quinn hack­ing in be­tween barrel sec­tions.

BE­LOW: Be­van Wiig man­aged to get a pit, but couldn’t man­age to share his brew.

TOP TO BOT­TOM: Da­mon Gun­ness drops in while DK launches for a cray­fish | Wel­come to the new day. |A deep up top teaser goes un­rid­den.

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