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.