ROAD WAR­I­ORS

New Zealand Surfing - - Roady 80 -

Af­ter 80 is­sues over 13 years we have cel­e­brated the fine tra­di­tion of one of surf­ing's great­est good times, the Roady. Brought to you by the good folk at Primo, the con­cept was to keep the tra­di­tion of hit­ting the road and head­ing afar with other like-minded in­di­vid­u­als, to score epic waves but most im­por­tantly have a good time do­ing so, share laughs and ex­pe­ri­ence new places. We have done so many miles over th­ese 80 roadies that we al­most con­sider our­selves pro­fes­sional driv­ers and apart from couri­ers, truck­ies and on road reps we would have to say we hit the road more than any oth­ers out there. For our 80th Primo Roady we were joined by sev­eral true war­riors of the road in the form of three full time reps who had man­aged to score some time off to chase an en­su­ing swell. Sam Wil­lis who has spent the last ten years sell­ing across both is­lands is well used to drive time and af­ter launch­ing a new ven­ture and be­ing based in Auck­land he was keen as to get the hell out of the big smoke. For­mer O'Neill rep, Scott Bell, who th­ese days works for Cal­tex had been re­cov­er­ing from a knee in­jury and surgery so was up for some wa­ter time so the two joined forces and headed south over the Bom­bay's. You know a roady is a good one when you've driven so far that you de­cide to sub out and share the driv­ing, but a lit­tle de­tour out to the East Coast town of Mt Maun­ganui was needed to pick up another road war­rior rep Troy Ri­ley. Through the night the three ami­gos drove south past bub­bling mud, around a mas­sive lake and past Mount Doom and on out to­ward the coast, where they hoped the morn­ing would bring some good­ness. They had barely squeezed in a cou­ple of hours sleep af­ter their ar­rival at the desti­na­tion be­fore it was time to get back in the car and head on down to the coast to the sight of lines in the

glow on the hori­zon. With next to no wind and clear skies they were on, or so they thought! Al­ready parked up was a bus whose occupant was al­ready out bob­bing around in the lineup in semi-dark­ness, it was soon re­vealed that it was none other than Dunedin charger Todd Robin­son who had taken the mother of all roadies and driven up from the bot­tom of the south along with his fam­ily. He must have driven pretty fast cause the weather he brought with him was fol­low­ing only min­utes be­hind. Within sec­onds, as half the lads were half naked with one leg in a wet­suit and the oth­ers half­way out pad­dling to the lineup, a thun­der­ous squall swept in with gale force winds and bit­terly cold rain lash­ing side­ways, you couldn't even see where you were from the wa­ter. It was late Septem­ber in the North Is­land and the wind chill was in the mi­nus zone. Af­ter a few waves Sam fig­ured out pretty smartly that his 3mm wet­suit which he had used all year with no prob­lem up around the waters of Auck­land was com­pletely out of its depth here and he pad­dled back in to swap out for a thicker ver­sion. Troy drew first blood bag­ging a small but long tube and emerged with a smile from ear to ear. Nor­mally Troy drives up and down the coun­try see­ing clients push­ing the hard sell and sure you can bet he

has his craft in the back of the car amongst the sam­ples and has the odd surf, but to be ac­tu­ally on the road again chas­ing noth­ing but waves was ex­cit­ing for all of the lads. They even ad­mit­ted to a less than im­pres­sive diet which has ac­tu­ally scar­ily enough be­come syn­ony­mous with road trips; yes they took on the big four dur­ing the trip, KFC, Mc'D's, Burger King and Wendy's, food fit for ath­letes such as th­ese! From the lineup we could see another car had pulled up and were ex­pect­ing com­pany but it sat there for an hour or so be­fore the door opened and a guy by the name of Dion Ah­ern pad­dled out to share the heart­break­ing news that we had just lost the Amer­i­cas Cup af­ter lead­ing the race. He had sat watch­ing the waves glued to the wire­less putting na­tional pride be­fore pump­ing waves and only when the fat lady had sung did he pad­dle out. Now Dion has never been a rep but he sure as hell spends his fair share of time on the road rep­re­sent­ing un­der­ground hard core surfers chas­ing pump­ing waves. He nabbed a cou­ple of howlers be­fore pad­dling back in hur­riedly, mut­ter­ing some­thing about get­ting to work. The swell that th­ese lads had chased through the night was sup­posed to peak around mid­day at twice this size and ini­tially that had been the cat­a­lyst to hit the road and score some big tubes at a right hand point but like all good plans things change. To be surf­ing this ran­dom left worked in well with Scott Bell, who as a goofy on his front side was stoked to be go­ing straight on and sim­ply get­ting bar­reled af­ter hav­ing not surfed in months.

Slowly the in­com­ing swells dwin­dled in size and reg­u­lar­ity, and as the tide filled in and with more wa­ter cov­er­ing the reef the waves sim­ply stopped. It's not of­ten you hear of any surfer pad­dling in, and it's usu­ally sac­ri­lege to do so, but when the ocean re­fuses to budge and you have milked ev­ery op­por­tu­nity dry, then some­times you are left with no op­tion. Then as fast as the lads blew into this re­gion, they blew out again, hit­ting the road like pro­grammed ro­bots bound for the bright lights of the big city nine hours’ drive away and a warm bed with a warm woman, to dream of their next hall pass to their next Primo Roady!

We join the true road war­riors for the 80th NZ Surf Mag Primo Roady. Words and Im­ages by Cory Scott

Todd Robin­son of Otago made the long drive up and has de­cided he likes the re­gion so much he’s gonna stay for sum­mer.

IN­SERTS: Scott Bell found go­ing straight worked a treat for his bung knee. / An empty drainer slips the lads. / Dion Ah­ern loves noth­ing more than a pit.

ABOVE: Sam Wil­lis locked in the fruits of a good roady. BE­LOW: First light and be­fore the squall. look­ing all so invit­ing.

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