Gallery: November Rain
There are times when I get edgy while researching the Forecaster Notes. It's usually when I can see it's going to pump for a sustained period, either back home or at a place I've visited before and scored great waves.
This anxiety boiled over last Friday while preparing the Victorian notes. It's November, I hadn't seen a wave over three foot on the East Coast for weeks and a winter-calibre frontal progression was bearing down on Tasmania.
It'd been a couple of years since my last trip to Victoria and I was champing at the bit to get back down into some sizey long rights.
I made the call Friday afternoon and started to put the plan into action: flights booked, car hired, and accomodation sorted - thanks Swiv!
After surfing small, crowded Manly with a hot offshore wind on Saturday morning, the prospect of being caught inside by a cold, dense 6-8 foot cleanup set had me a little nervous. That and the 18 metre rogue wave that was registered on the Cape Sorell buoy as I boarded the plane, on target for an arrival about the time I'd be paddling out.
I arrived in the Winki car park only a couple of hours before dark. The swell was large and raw. Winds had been onshore but were easing, though Bells was empty and a rogue 6-8 foot. There were only a few out (literally) at high tide Winki but I needed to get out there and amongst some size ahead of Sunday. The paddle out from the sand at Bells was straight forward, and sitting way out beyond the small pack I felt comfortable. Then the horizon rose. I held my spot as I was out much further than the other guys, but as the set neared I started to realise it was going to be right on me.
And there it was, an 8 foot cleanup set that was going to break a couple of metres in front of me. No time for any preparation, it was just attack it and hold on. I got rolled but gladly didn't lose grip of my board so resurfaced pretty quickly after two on the head. This was probably the best preparation and gave me confidence for any beatings to come during the days ahead.
Sunday dawned clean and pumping. The swell was a straight glassy 6 foot+ across most of the coast, 4-6 foot where I surfed though a little slow and lully over the high tide.
Over the low I stepped down boards and surfed a super fun long right point at 4-5 foot that was more carvey than down the line. Then the swell kicked another notch. The point started picking up consistent 6 foot sets with 8 foot cleanup bombs running for 400 metres across the bay and into the next beach over. I started struggling on the step-up and it was time for a break and switch in boards back to the mini-gun.
I saved energy for the late session and paddled out with two others in the lineup. An older guy and his younger son, but on paddling to the take-off they both got cleaned up and rolled to the beach by a six wave 8 foot cleanup set. That was that and I was left to surf big slopey 6 foot point surf to myself until dark. While a little spooked it was a special evening, hooting to myself on the long paddle back after catching a screamer.
Monday dawned rainy and cold with a northerly wind. I checked the beaches and on looking at the photo below it was cooking, but...slow. And after being spoilt the previous day I flagged it and waited for the wind shift and dropping tide.
The sun popped, the reefs started to fire and the swell continued to pour in at 3-5 foot with the odd cleanup set. While the last session was the most crowded, there were plenty of waves pushing through and this topped off a great trip and strong late season swell.