THE PRIMO ROADY
To the centre of the Universe
Most surfers have their local, the spot they call home or regular, they've come to know its moods and the others that utilise its space. A sense of ownership grows and they can at times protect it fiercely, they rarely stray, instead preferring to display a deep sense of loyalty hoping that in turn that will be repaid in the currency they trade in, 'Epic Waves'! Jobs back home and family commitments are heaped in a pile in the 'To Do' basket. For now and for most days of their surfing lives, this is the centre of their universe. Our Primo Roady stories usually begin with a story of myself tearing through the k's wearing out rubber and sinking copious amounts of energy drinks to chase down the epic waves at either end of this country. This issue I am glad to report that I sat in the comfort of my own home and drove eight minutes to the beach once all the gladiators had assembled ready to rip and tear! You see there were surfers all over the country over who were simply hanging to get a wave over the holiday period this summer, many hadn't even seen a wave in many weeks let alone ridden one. Their own little universes had dried up and deserted them, so they came far and wide to share with a few local lads a wave at one of Gisborne’s most favoured surfing locales "Centres" of Makorori. To introduce the lads who filled the lineup this day I will start with Mount Maunganui's Tim O’Connor. Now Timmy has grown from a frothing grom to a man in a matter of months; it's actually been years but it feels like months, he now works full time and the days of sifting around looking for waves are over. He must make the most of hit and run weekend missions and although he had been making noises about cruising down to Gizzy for months, one sniff of a six inch runner down at his local 'The Blowhole' was enough for Timmy to pull pin, now even his beloved Blowie had all but deserted him. Enter his partner in crime and co-pilot Micheal Wheeler for his weekend roadie. Wheel Nut was fresh out of spending months on the road himself in his new role as the RPM rep, where he mesmerises clients with magical Jedi moves forcing them into orders and getting tips from Lance Armstrong on blood doping where they replace all the blood in their system with caffeine in an effort to produce a more productive, faster selling rep. Wheeler was simply rinsed and needed some away time in the briny, so he jumped into the passenger seat of Timmy's whip and slept the whole way to Gizzy. Epic wingman!
Then we had the two groms Korbin Hutchings and Kehu Butler, now these two are the future faces of our sport and they had been down competing in the National Champs but Kehu forgot to leave and who could blame him. Just when it looked as if the swell would dry up another pulse came through and Kehu and his family chalked up another day in the Tairawhiti sun. I'm pretty sure that Kehu actually came to Gisborne two weeks prior, paddled out and hadn't come in yet, he had done some serious hours and was always in his wetsuit. In the case of Korbin he was born and bred on this coast but a couple of years ago moved to the epicentre of world surfing at Coolangata on the Gold Coast, he had come home to compete in the nationals as well and show the skills he has picked up rubbing shoulders with the best. Then rounding out the pack out the back were locals Bobby Hansen and Maz Quinn, this is Bobby's universe and his turf and Maz turned up a little late as he was back in town trying to apply for a visa to head over the hill from Wainui for the day. Authorities were not impressed when he was also seen trying to smuggle over the Makanui border a bearded refugee in the form of Coff Dog. And last but not least Piha's Tane Wallis paddled out late arvo after scouring the coast all day before boomeranging back to town and paddling out to lay a few hell carves. Back in the carpark, the self-imposed caretakers of this break were simply stoked to be watching the lads rip it up, after all they were worn out from day after day of waves, so were now becoming a little selective, wouldn't that be a luxury you'd want as a New Year’s gift. These lads do their time here and it would be scary to find out the amount of hours a 'Centres' Stalwart like John Gisby has put in, not only in the water here but yarning in the carpark. A little while back the break was rocked with controversy when the local council decided to barrier the roadside and remove nearly all of the regulars historical carparks, you try telling Gisby he can no longer park in the spot he made his own over the last 40 odd years. But that's exactly what the local council did, all in the name of logging truck safety, you see apparently this hill is so steep they need to speed up to 180 km/h to make the hill and a waist high galvanised steel eyesore of a barrier will stop that truck going over the hill if it crashes. Cue Tuis ad "Yeah Right!"
It is agreed, those old school carparks were an accident waiting to happen, but shouldn't the truckies be made to slow down to 50? Considering it's a high traffic area, it goes to show logs and making money are more important than surfing to the rule makers. And my god there were a few rattled individuals whose universe had been tipped on its head during this time. More than a year later with the roading improvements, we still parked in a dusty dirt carpark surrounded by overgrown weeds, and they call this improvements? The surf hasn't changed thank god! And as the tide moved in and out the moods of Centre Break morphed displaying different shapes throughout the day. Just when it looked like she was done and dusted and the impatient grommets came in the more experienced heads stuck it out and within minutes it was firing again. The groms would then return from the shop back over the hill with a pie in their hands, munch it back and paddle back out. Some things never change through the generations! The surf starved workers however; they weren't coming in simply because the
shape had changed a little. They didn't need pies, or to change fins, they simply needed waves. It must be said that they did race in only after long waves to the shore to re-apply sunscreen to their beetroot coloured melons every few hours, good men, someone has been listening to all the 'Slip Slop Slap' promos in their younger years. All the lads surfed till they could no longer move their arms or see from their swollen eyes, after all it could be flat the next day and then it was back to the grind and a week of work before any chance of another wave would arise. The problem was the two day roady awoke to its second half to find the waves still smoking and another intense day of digging deep and pushing through the pain of aching shoulders, rashed necks and bleeding eyes. With another eight hour session almost matching the day befores 10 it was time to farewell these shores of salvation. Korbin flew on back to his Gold Coast base and the Bay of Plenty lads, Wheel brace and Rimmy, took turns power napping their way back across the East Cape for work the following morning which couldn't of been at all semi productive. Kehu Butler, well he was still out surfing and with the possibility of small waves left over the next day, he more than likely stayed on for more action. Until the next Primo Roady, coming to the centre of your universe soon!
Kehu Butler and his 9th day in a row of spending all day in his wetsuit.
A backhand shhhnnarrpy for Timmy OC.
TOP: Maz brought the power play over the hill to the Primo Roady. BOTTOM: Bobby Hansen style, speed and precision at the break he cut his teeth on.