Flyer: A Piker's Lament
I’ve long been fascinated by the capture of Cape Solander
I’ve long been repulsed by the story too.
First ridden in the mid-60s, the wave wasn’t taken seriously by the pioneers, more a who-dares novelty womp which was conquered and then fairly quickly forgotten about. However, those trailblazers gave the wave its first and best name, Piker’s Hole.
I only know about them in hindsight, having written a 2017 feature on one of their crew. Growing up in the area I often checked Cape Solander through the 90s but couldn’t visualise how to ride it; the wave broke too fast, was too backwashy, too close to the rocks.
Unbeknownst to me, a handful of Cronulla bodyboarders were able to visualise the lines, and they’d disappear on certain swells and achieve what I couldn’t even imagine, successfully navigating one of the world’s trickiest barrels. Despite being within sight of Australia’s largest city, they had it to themselves.
Their solitude was destroyed when, around the turn of the millennium, the Bra Boys found it, roped it off to the current inhabitants, and gave it the repugnant and domineering name, Ours.
That the break was only a few hundred metres from where Captain Cook did a similar thing, albeit it on a grander scale, was an irony lost on the colonisers. Though I’ve gotta be careful how critical I am.
You see, in the subsequent years I surfed the Cape a lot, and while I didn’t approve of the Bra Boys’ crowd control methods, I certainly benefited from them. But did I object?
First they came for the lidders and I did not speak out...
Then again, I saw firsthand how ruthless they were. I was one of the few who witnessed Koby Abberton’s waterborne attack on Mitch Rawlins, and was also in the carpark when Koby later turned his attention to the photographer. Just one of many incidents from a caged animal who knew everyone with the tatt had his back.
So, stay silent and surf, or pipe up and get punched out? I put my principles on ice, and I still wonder about that choice.
A few years later I moved away from Cronulla and began working for Swellnet, yet I kept watching the Cape, seeing how the crowds changed, and wondering about the culture too.
This week, Dan Dobbin contributed an article that attempted to answer that question. Which is no easy feat as describing culture is difficult at the best of times, while the Solander lineup is now diverse in craft, age, and expectation.
Putting his own opinion on ice, Dan rounded up a variety of views and laid them out for the reader. You may or may not agree with his conclusion, but it’s both a thorough and thoroughly enjoyable read.
Changes at the Cape
From novelty womp, to deep state secret spot, to modern media darling, what lessons can we learn from the evolution of Cape Solander? Lineup culture is created by a wave's most prominent players, so Dan Dobbin went in search of the Cape's. Read More >
A Different High – Jack Dekort and Kayak Fishing
...and now for something completely different. Jack Dekort has been contributing surf photos to Swellnet for longer than I've been here. Over the last few years, however, Jack's been angling towards a new obsession. Jack's tale of learning to fish atop a thin strip of fibreglass makes for an entertaining read. The comments are good too. Read More >
Analysing autumn 2021
Craig loves the changing of the seasons, but not for any romantic notion about life ebbing away. Hell no! First day of each season is when the seasonal anomaly charts drop, and they're more meaningful than fallen leaves are to a poet. Old Boy Brokensha squares up the season that was with the swells that were, and there's always something to learn. Read More >
From the beating heart of a Black Nor'Easter
As good as autumn may have been in your neck of the woods, no swell held a candle to the Black Nor'Easter, that hit the East Coast on the 6/6/16 - tomorrow five years ago. So how's about a little reminder of that momentous swell? Read More >
Watch: Uluwatu // The Price of Entry
I posted this video with a bit of a rant about how it was hard to feel sympathy for old mate who copped a flogging and inspired the title of the video, while us Australians can't even get over there. Instead of feeling indignant like me, most people simply enjoyed the video, which once I got over myself I did too. Read More >