THE GREAT PRIMO MEGA ROADY North Chapter
The premise was simple! Unlike so many of our other Primo Roady's over the last 13 years (where we have waited for a prime swell and the best conditions we can find and drive through the night in a hit and run mission) the 'Mega Roady' was spawned by an idea to take the concept of being an ordinary human that has a timeframe and deadlines to fit in a once a year trip and make the most of whatever was thrown at us during that period. Not everyone can wait for perfect surf and not many have the luxury of experiencing flawless surf whenever they have time off. Our original thought was to throw a few surfers into the Mighty Camper and head to the top of the North Island and over the next 10 days head to wherever the waves and wind drew us. Well that was the idea at the time! But all good ideas usually have a habit of becoming contorted in this sport and when a savage spring equinox parked itself over the country locking in an extended north-west gale force flow for weeks on end it looked like the only place on the northern of the two islands that would have any sort of waves was Gisborne and that if we wanted surf the concept of covering the island was done and dusted. But how things change on these Primo Roady's!
Before any trip can take off you need crew, and with nothing but a miserable forecast on the charts a few of our possible starters dropped off the planet of communication; all the excuses were flowing like end of year exams, work and more pathetic justifications. Come on guys this was a Primo Roady and there were laughs about to go down. The night before we set off the forecast still revealed a tight NW flow and all wind veins pointed toward the East Cape region, yet a late night update showed a light SW change for the morning and a moderate swell, meaning we would hit the road on day one down the Auckland Southern motorway bound for the West Coast point breaks of Raglan. A fun start, where we were joined by the Raglan Surf Academy who obviously get spoilt for surf during school hours as pulling up to good looking 3-4 foot Manu Bay they were all standing around watching and hours later were still standing around. Our core crew for the trip in Matt Hewitt and Elliot Paerata- Reid had been wave starved lately and needed no such prompting to get out and shred. Hewy, who prides himself as a power surfer (meaning he surfs for half hour max) even surprised himself when four hours later he came in surfed out! Our young grom Elliot just stayed in his wetsuit all day, even when we decided to go and do a little sightseeing that arvo and visit the Bridal Veil falls talking himself up on how he was going to bomb the falls, until he saw the 180 foot drop and dropped balls! Instead he talked
ELLIOT HAD BEEN WAVE STARVED LATELY AND NEEDED NO SUCH PROMPTING TO GET OUT AND SHRED.
Hewy into paddling underneath the falls to experience the power first hand. Tourists on hand thought these kiwi kids were nuts and they weren't wrong but they'd seen nothing yet. This was day one and things were only going to get twisted from here on in. We made it back from our scenic adventure to Manu Bay for an evening session where the lads hit the water while our team chef and social media guru Dustin Van Loggerenberg cooked up a mean feast for the lads in the Mighty kitchen serving up some fine cuisine supplied by the epic crew at Backcountry foods. Normally on surf missions you eat takeaways, pies, bags of chips, but not on the NZ Surf Mag shift. We are upper class and prefer meals such as Moroccan Lamb, Beef Bourguignon, and Tandoori Chicken with a Creamy Yoghurt Sauce all whipped up in a mere ten minutes. With a similar swell forecasted for day two but with winds clocking more to the NW we decided to stay put and have another session in the morning before heading off to arrive in time for the fresh swell down in Gisborne. Taking up local school teacher Larry Fisher’s offer to park up at his house that night, we had just settled in when a call came in from Gisborne that the swell had arrived early and on dark there were stacked lines of three foot. Sorry Larry and wake up groms, we are driving through the night to G-town!
LEFT: Matt Hewitt (left) and Elliot Paerata- Reid (right) the core surfers of the Mega Roady praise the heavens for the water from above. | ABOVE: Classic moments from an all time Primo Roady!
Bush walk time.
Elliot getting all rastafarian on the East Cape.
The Mighty and Makorori
Hewy hooked on fly fishing!