New Zealand Surfing - - News - Words and Im­ages by Cory

The 2018 South Pa­cific Cy­clone sea­son was one busy pe­riod which saw a phe­nom­e­nal amount of storm ac­tiv­ity pass close by or onto New Zealand, with a to­tal of six trop­i­cal cy­clones and sev­eral more de­pres­sions bring­ing ad­verse weather af­fects to our is­lands.

While as surfers we tend to froth on these trop­i­cal storms and hype them into liq­uid dreams well be­fore any of them even set them­selves in what ex­perts will tell us is never a cer­tain path. What sets our emo­tions into overdrive is these sys­tems of­ten of­fer a glim­mer of hope at scor­ing set-ups that live in the realms of mythol­ogy, waves that are of­ten re­ferred to in back in the day sto­ries.

Of these var­i­ous cy­clonic sys­tems which of­fered so much hope and dreams only two ended up de­liv­er­ing the kind of long dis­tance groomed swell that we ide­ally as­so­ciate with these events, the rest ei­ther de­liv­ered Aus­tralia with smok­ing waves or dumped plenty of rain and howl­ing on­shore on our doorsteps. But that’s not to say they weren’t a part of de­liv­er­ing epic surf! You see heavy rain brings floods and floods bring de­bris crash­ing down rivers, streams and creeks of which ul­ti­mately end up meet­ing the ocean at some point. So, while sev­eral of these cy­clones didn’t pro­duce any surf they did their job and pro­duced de­posits of rare and unique river bars, ready and wait­ing for a fresh swell to light up. It was go­ing to be a team ef­fort cy­clone + cy­clone hope­fully equalling bar­rels.

The is­sue with any sed­i­ment, be it sand, gravel, even rocks, is that when the ocean de­cides to move it is an ex­tremely pow­er­ful force, so any newly formed struc­ture usu­ally leads a tem­po­rary ex­is­tence, and while many bars would have formed dur­ing this weather across the coun­try our fo­cus was on one par­tic­u­lar for­ma­tion be­ing dubbed, ‘The Su­per­bar’ by lo­cal Bay surfers. Not only did we have the Su­per­bar but also the Nov­elty Bar, but with a slight on­shore swell fill­ing in the void be­tween the em­i­nent ar­rival of the Cy­clone Hola swell and off­shore winds, would any of these creations even ex­ist come game day?

The nov­elty bar was first to dis­in­te­grate and wash away, but sev­eral ses­sions went down on what could be de­scribed as a once in a life­time event, con­sid­er­ing the last time there was a bar re­ported here was 25 years ago, maybe for some more se­nior surfers this was a twice in life­time gig. Hopes were high and with an off­shore change the night be­fore and a swell fill­ing in through­out the night the call from ‘The Bay’ was “Day of days” at first light. But this call had been heard be­fore, the ‘Bay who cried wolf’ had been spin­ning this yarn over and over far too of­ten and many had lost faith. Those all time, prime 400-me­tre­long shin­gle bars had many times be­fore been there one tide, and been gone on the next, of­fer­ing mar­ginal waves and bro­ken dreams.

At first light Hola had done its bit and the Bay was lined up with swell that was only meant to carry on build­ing, the lo­cal Jam­mas were froth­ing as they ne­go­ti­ated the deep shin­gle ac­cess down the coast by way of 4WD. Yet for all the swell that ap­peared to be pour­ing into the Bay, the bar it­self ap­peared short, and only pulling in a frac­tion of the swell, a usu­ally cer­tain sign that the bar was well past its used by date. Heads started to dip, some even pulled pin and went to work, and there was a silent som­bre mood for a while. But those that live for these small unique win­dows of op­por­tu­nity in the Bay, they know that it’s all about tide, and there is no real way of know­ing, or pat­tern to fol­low and that each bar has its own per­son­al­ity. 20 min­utes later and that per­son­al­ity was re­vealed! All she needed was a lit­tle more water and her form was di­vulged.

Ben Hazel­wood was the first re­cip­i­ent to pick up a ma­jor Hola re­ward, and his first wave stand­ing tall from way out­side with his hands tucked be­hind his back locked in for the en­tire length of the bar. For those that al­ready weren’t prep­ping their tools, once that went down there was a whole lot more ur­gency and a dif­fer­ent at­ti­tude be­ing dis­played and within min­utes Hola was be­ing in­fested by a pack of rats look­ing for drain­pipes.

For the next cou­ple of hours those in at­ten­dance traded wave for wave, with most slowly get­ting their quota of rights be­fore drift­ing over to sam­ple the lefts which of­fered just as much of a buzz. A two-way dredg­ing river bar peak with just a cou­ple of hand­fuls of lo­cal lads on it, some­one needed to pinch these blokes in case it was all just a mi­rage, but for the now there’s no way they were wak­ing from the dream.

Lo­gan Owen had shown up late but was out there wast­ing no time thread­ing pit af­ter pit, be­fore his ses­sion was ended when he col­lided with an­other board in the pit slic­ing open his heel close to his Achilles ten­don, leav­ing a trail of claret which lead back to his car along the shoreline peb­bles. Re­signed to miss­ing out on what was al­ready a ‘Day of days’ he took one look back at the lineup, saw Jezza Evans be­ing spat out of an­other pit and im­me­di­ately reached into the back of his truck for a roll of in­su­la­tion tape, Buck Shelford style, and bound it up and pad­dled back out! Oth­ers came run­ning in to ring the boss and in­form them they were ei­ther re­ally sick or were straight up telling them this is the day I’ve waited my whole life for I won’t be com­ing to work to­day! And then the hard­est calls of all were those be­ing made to the wives and girl­friends can­celling com­mit­ments, which saw the ear­pieces feed back with what sounded much like some­one be­ing tor­tured, with pleads such as “But babe, I’ll make it up to you honey, this is the best day ever, but but wait you don’t un­der­stand!” Fol­lowed by si­lence. So, I’m sure there are still a few fel­las locked in brownie points mode as you read this.

With the ses­sion four hours deep, the wind shifted to the north and ruf­fled up the faces also forc­ing sec­tions to crum­ble, yes the morn­ing ses­sion was truly mag­i­cal 10/10 stuff but if you were to ask your­self when would this phe­nom­ena ever oc­cur again, the an­swer would prob­a­bly be not in the next few years at least, so de­spite an an­noy­ing wind chop the bar still de­liv­ered mo­ments of bril­liance un­til late af­ter­noon and the full tide all but filled it in. The crew that had lucked in fi­nally made their way in 8 hours af­ter first pad­dling out. At first, they ap­peared stunned but as the re­al­i­sa­tion hit them, out came the high fives, knuck­les and bro downs. Bron­son Prim­mer who was burnt to a crisp look­ing like a sun-baked prune summed it all up quite well “That was the most I’ve surfed since I was a grom, but fi­nally we scored her, the Bay fi­nally de­liv­ered, cheers to the Jam­mas!”. And here’s some cheers to Hola…

While the low tide looked like the bar had all dis­in­te­grated and the swell faded with a lit­tle push in tide the water moved onto the bar and Ben Hazel­wood got piped the whole way down the bar and for the next few hours one of the all time ses­sions went down.

Bron­son Prim­mer has moulded his life around be­ing able to drop tools and hit these bars on the rare oc­cas­sions that they turn on, cause it's not as if they'll wait around for those who hap­pen to be busy.

Bron­son Prim­mer hoots an early cam­paigner on.

Cody Groves had a few com­mit­ments this day, but the lure of the Hola de­liv­ery was to much for him to refuse and it's fair to say he got into a bit of hot water..

Seag­ulls al­ways seem to know where the best banks are..

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.