Like most big wave spots n this country and across the world, the initial tip off came from fishermen. The discovery of this break came about by accident while on a mission to check out a fisherman’s tip. Over the six years prior Blair Stewart and I who had been quite taken by these stories of giant tubes had planned to journey out here and check it all out yet obstacle after obstacle seemed to pop up time and time again. Cars broke down, skis wouldn’t start and crew pulled out and the idea was put on ice for quite some time. Until the morning of the 10th of October 2009, driven by the hype and excitement of a one Sam ‘Sanga’ Willis most of the crew of North Island tow surfers had been assembled in one place, only expecting one thing, a chance look at a possible wave that no one really knew even existed or not or was even rideable. We had even organised a mad boat captain and Tom Cruise look alike to run extra fuel and act as a safety boat, we had never had or thought of a safety boat ever before and it was almost as if we knew what was about to happen before it did. We knew the swell was big but once we turned the corner around the shelter of the point and out into open ocean we were mesmerised, here we were riding up giant open ocean swells so big that even though we were averaging 40-50KPH on the smooth water each swell took several seconds to ride up before hovering off the back, they were simply giant rolling mountains, and completely foreign to any of us. It seemed as we motored up the coast that there were humungous waves breaking in slow motion on reefs everywhere, the question was, which was the reef we were supposed to be heading too? The descriptions given all looked the same from out here. In the distance an oversize A-frame would hold up and throw out with mist loitering in the air well after each wave broke, this was our wave surely? As we neared closer, another distraction caught our eye further out to sea off to the left, what can only be described as comparable to the sight of atomic detonations we were drawn toward that far off reef to get a closer inspection, the problem was after ten minutes of motoring then 20 the wave still did not appear to become any bigger in our vision, with no land mass to draw a scale upon it was only once we pulled up right alongside that the situation became clear. As each of the crews arrived and tip toed around the reef tentatively showing respect to this angry beast and not wanting to get to close. DK and Sam Willis weren’t fazed in the slightest and were immediately up inside the zone in the very mouth of this animal. This was the first time that we had a material object to give scale against and as each slab of ocean reared up, slabbed out and thundered down on that reef blowing back out a sideways detonation wave, calls such as “Fuck that” and “Someone will die” were heard. The general consensus amongst all, was this wave was simply un-surfable and skis were already started with the thoughts of going back to check these other waves we had spied, when DK the most experienced of us all in this field, simply said “Guys let’s just watch for a while and see what she can show us” Then after only ten minutes the front hatch of his ski opened and out came the rope with instruction to Sanga to whip me into a small one. All eyes were focussed at this point surely he wasn’t serious? A few waves exploded through which looked around 12 foot, which DK let slide on by preferring to start with a small one to get his feet, the next lump appeared a lot smaller than those previous and DK went, it was then that it became damn real, damn fast what we were in fact dealing with, if this wave which DK was now hovering down was a small one and it was at least six times overhead then those other beasts had to be at least 30 even 40 foot! That day was hands down the most pivotal session in the era of NZ big wave surfing, finally here was a wave that although it sat 25K out to sea, it had been here under our nose all these years, the only wave so far that could rival anything around the world. Massive waves were ridden over the next six hours and many that dwarfed those ridden were missed through simple inexperience. Time would sharpen these crews acts, yet that was to be till this day the best and biggest we ever saw that wave, and ‘Uncles’ became the hottest property in NZ surfing. For the next six months it seemed every second week we were heading for that horizon and while we became familiar with its moods and temperament, some amazing waves were ridden over the next few years, the crew that had dedicated themselves to a shot at a day like that first one were prepped and ready, mistakes and lessons learnt in the field were picked to pieces, this was no place for a mishap to take place. We all entered every mission out there knowing we all had each other’s back, if something went wrong to someone’s equipment or physical self, it happened to all of us, there was no room for selfishness or renegade behaviour. At some stage someone’s ski old or new could break down and we all agreed that was mission over for everyone, not sort it yourself we’re out there! For these very reasons alone, for those few years our crew and the missions out beyond that horizon you could say were almost a closed shop, we welcomed guys into our group if another couldn’t make it. Yet when several individuals and crews came sniffing during those first few years, those with next to no experience or no preparation well as elitist as it sounds we had to throw them off the scent! Too much had been invested as a team, hundreds of hours of training and reconnaissance, and thousands more hours sitting, waiting for the rare conditions. The last thing any of us wanted was to become responsible for and have our session put in jeopardy by lone soldiers. We welcomed experienced teams prepared to work with us with open arms, and the door is still open! Yet for the last three years the old Uncle has been sleeping, could this winter be the season of his return? Only time will tell!