Gallery: November Rain

Craig Brokensha
Swellnet Dispatch

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.

Comments

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Tuesday, 6 Nov 2018 at 3:50pm

yeah baby.

Bnkref's picture
Bnkref's picture
Bnkref commented Tuesday, 6 Nov 2018 at 3:57pm

What a score! Although you seem to be forgetting the uncrowded pumping surf after the grand final last year.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Tuesday, 6 Nov 2018 at 4:00pm

Ah yes you're right, that weekend has been erased after the Crows poor performance.

blackers's picture
blackers's picture
blackers commented Tuesday, 6 Nov 2018 at 9:33pm

Sorry Craig, that was the best weekend ever! Go Tiges! However, it was a great (extended) weekend for waves, even here on the Hoax Coast. Nice pix.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Tuesday, 6 Nov 2018 at 4:15pm

Scored! Nice one. Some dreamy walls in amongst that lot.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

willibutler's picture
willibutler's picture
willibutler commented Tuesday, 6 Nov 2018 at 4:15pm

What camera do you use

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Tuesday, 6 Nov 2018 at 4:59pm

I've got my old trusty 7D, had it now for maybe 7 years? Lenses are 50mm 1.8 prime, 17-40mm and 70-200mm.

ringmaster's picture
ringmaster's picture
ringmaster commented Tuesday, 6 Nov 2018 at 4:55pm

Well played Craig! Those photos sum up the last 4 days around here nicely. Crowds haven't even been too bad (apart from the usual spot) considering it's a long weekend and all. Pumpin' again today until the onshore came in an hour or so ago.

I'm rooted with fckn sore shoulders and neck. It can stay onshore tomorrow if it wants......

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Tuesday, 6 Nov 2018 at 5:00pm

That's the problem Ringy, it's not going onshore until midday tomorrow, get the roller out.

Tarzan71's picture
Tarzan71's picture
Tarzan71 commented Tuesday, 6 Nov 2018 at 5:33pm

Holy shit Craig, you are so bad ass taking your life into your hands by publishing all those photos that the staunch and hard core hate so much!!
Keep up the good work dude!

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Tuesday, 6 Nov 2018 at 5:40pm

Nice score, mate.

Got to respect someone that has a go and makes it happen.

GuySmiley's picture
GuySmiley's picture
GuySmiley commented Tuesday, 6 Nov 2018 at 5:58pm

gotta love vicco, good work craig

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Tuesday, 6 Nov 2018 at 6:10pm

Jeebus!

Walk around G's picture
Walk around G's picture
Walk around G commented Tuesday, 6 Nov 2018 at 6:38pm

Hmmmm, only one shot of Cathedral in there!

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Tuesday, 6 Nov 2018 at 7:33pm

Nothing better than pulling the trigger on a last minute hit 'n' run mission and scoring. Nice one mate.

Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake commented Tuesday, 6 Nov 2018 at 8:11pm

Awesome. How good are those peaks down the beach!

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Tuesday, 6 Nov 2018 at 9:06pm

#noexposure

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Tuesday, 6 Nov 2018 at 9:07pm

Nice Craig, you scored big time

Mcface's picture
Mcface's picture
Mcface commented Tuesday, 6 Nov 2018 at 9:45pm

There's such a feeling of excitement about a last minute strike mission. The air of anticipation in the journey there gets you absolutely buzzing, just knowing that you're going to have epic waves all weekend and the effort you've gone to will be well rewarded. The best way to score good waves.

Unreal_BananaPeel's picture
Unreal_BananaPeel's picture
Unreal_BananaPeel commented Tuesday, 6 Nov 2018 at 10:39pm

Clearly you had a good time. Well done. But please keep your gloating and your photos to your self. 95% percent of people go to 5% of the spots. Let's keep it that way. The rest of those spots would be better left unpublished (regardless of lack of names or details). If you seek and search and score some gems, then great, but keep your cards close to your chest and don't get the chatter going.

Before such future online excursions, please question your motivation for posting. A gallery like this does two main things, 1) makes the author feel like hero for s short while, 2) attracts more people to surf either some already very crowded, or some not yet very crowded spots, and (possibly), 3) lines the author's pockets a little. None of which are great outcomes for the majority. But If you can think of one, post it in the comments.

Sure, do a strike mission, take a mate along, or tell a few back home how good you got it. But do it over a beer, a back fence, in a car park. Don't care where, just do it off line. And yes, in a good swell some spots just present themselves to those who drive by. But that doesn't mean you need to present them to a larger audience as well. Remember, you got some good uncrowded waves because most people go to the obvious spots. But sometimes they go further, and usually only when they've been told or seen the evidence. It's like littering at the beach - you're damaging what you came to enjoy.

Eugene Green's picture
Eugene Green's picture
Eugene Green commented Tuesday, 6 Nov 2018 at 11:22pm

Sounds like (un)common sense to me.

Fozza's picture
Fozza's picture
Fozza commented Wednesday, 7 Nov 2018 at 7:31am

"Surfers etiquette: if you're travelling here to surf, please respect the locals......" Swellnet's advice to others on their surf cam pages.......I'm with Banana_Peel 100%......how about heeding your own creed and setting a better standard on what you place online?

conrico's picture
conrico's picture
conrico commented Wednesday, 7 Nov 2018 at 4:38pm

have to agree on that! please be a little more discreet in the future

Pat Hollingworth's picture
Pat Hollingworth's picture
Pat Hollingworth commented Wednesday, 7 Nov 2018 at 8:11pm

Have to agree with this sentiment sorry Craig.

Unreal_BananaPeel's picture
Unreal_BananaPeel's picture
Unreal_BananaPeel commented Tuesday, 6 Nov 2018 at 10:27pm

P.S. It would be much appreciated (by many locals and many non locals alike) if any photo that is not Winki or Bells could be removed. Thanks.

adam12's picture
adam12's picture
adam12 commented Wednesday, 7 Nov 2018 at 1:51pm

Err...it's had a highway running right past it since just after the First War, been surfed regularly since the 60's, been published in photos since around the same time, everyone knows it. Hardly a secret.

simo101's picture
simo101's picture
simo101 commented Wednesday, 7 Nov 2018 at 7:53pm

Nearly 3 million people drive within metres of these photos each year according to vic government websites and you’re worried about exposing these breaks??? Ha fkn ha! Great photos and great write up of the weekend I say!

nicko74's picture
nicko74's picture
nicko74 commented Tuesday, 6 Nov 2018 at 10:46pm

Great photos Craig! I also enjoy a strike mission where i can. Those peaks down the beach looked sublime!
I have never been to Vic but i would really like to get the time one day to go there! I'm home bound in good old sunny WA for the minute .... could be worse ! Hows the SAM atm :(

belly's picture
belly's picture
belly commented Wednesday, 7 Nov 2018 at 7:49am

Great photos, nearly even better article title :-)

spiggy topes's picture
spiggy topes's picture
spiggy topes commented Wednesday, 7 Nov 2018 at 12:14pm

Craig, any relation to Nick?

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Wednesday, 7 Nov 2018 at 1:09pm

Not that I know of.

Robo's picture
Robo's picture
Robo commented Wednesday, 7 Nov 2018 at 1:54pm

Makes Mid Nth Coast look average.

leoncrook's picture
leoncrook's picture
leoncrook commented Wednesday, 7 Nov 2018 at 2:45pm

Contemporary secrecy around surf breaks isn't so much based around keeping a location unknown, but rather keeping a location out of the hype.

gearoid's picture
gearoid's picture
gearoid commented Thursday, 8 Nov 2018 at 8:34am

Exactly

mick-free's picture
mick-free's picture
mick-free commented Wednesday, 7 Nov 2018 at 3:43pm

What's the crack Banana Peal. I don't get it there's no details given away in the editorial. Sure I get your point eg I don't understand why people mention the spots in the threads or any other social media posts but I thought the bar was already set. T-Ray laid the law down no photos south coast. Then Old Morry said no photos past Apollo Bay now you drawing the line at Centreside.
There's no difference from gallery put up 5 years ago.
There were heaps better waves than this and none of them have made it into the internet world. These are all lineup shots of known waves and not named.

If the goal posts have changed then atleast let us know who is setting the rules you peel or some anonymous person who speaks for the majority.

Mick Free FIFOFOMO

leoncrook's picture
leoncrook's picture
leoncrook commented Wednesday, 7 Nov 2018 at 4:49pm

I agree Mick-Free, the waves in question here are pretty lame and well known, however I do feel the goalposts (as you call them) have changed in regard to photos of quieter surf breaks. Unlike previous eras where it was discouraged to take and publish photos of quiet waves to keep them unknown, now it is all about reducing the hype around waves that are outside of the limelight, given that almost every decent wave on this continent has appeared on social media in one capacity or another.

Stok's picture
Stok's picture
Stok commented Wednesday, 7 Nov 2018 at 4:53pm

Haha! Exposure doesn't really matter in this case. These spots are uncrowded because they're mostly fickle, lumpy burgers with unmakable sections and a severe lack of barrels!

gearoid's picture
gearoid's picture
gearoid commented Wednesday, 7 Nov 2018 at 5:23pm

Stok,
you are absolutely spot on, my friend. These waves only look good in photos on the one day in a hundred that they are even presentable. It's a big hoax. The Bells contest shouldn't even be on the tour and its only that it is the worlds longest running surf circus that keeps it there. Swellnet should consider it a civic duty to advise all surfers that surfing doesn't really exist south of Ulladulla. I know all of those spots in the photos and I wouldn't be surprised if half of those waves have been photoshopped.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Friday, 9 Nov 2018 at 5:34pm

Not to mention the endless football in the news and people's lives in this place. It's not an easy existence.

Gary_G_Gherkin's picture
Gary_G_Gherkin's picture
Gary_G_Gherkin commented Wednesday, 7 Nov 2018 at 6:11pm

Hi Crag. I really enjoyed reading that, but maybe next time leave out the photos. That way there'd be more space for you to tell us how much of a legend you are.

evosurfer's picture
evosurfer's picture
evosurfer commented Thursday, 8 Nov 2018 at 7:26am

More photos please and I would like some names. You guys crack me up
its the 21st century you know even in Victoria.

IF im not surfing im racing

Garryh's picture
Garryh's picture
Garryh commented Friday, 9 Nov 2018 at 3:51pm

Manly is a great surfing spot. Clean and warm water. Friendly folks in the water and usually nice waves with offshore winds. When it's bigger it has it's own Winky slab and a scary bombora and a nice right reef break. No need to head down to Victoria...where there are great white sharks...including several recent nudges and nibbles at the breaks you've shown. The water is cold and there are strong currents and usually the surf is terrible with onshore winds and sloppy swells. Sure it might have the odd good day...but the day before and the day after are usually terrible. I'm sure that most surfers would have a much better time at Manly.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Friday, 9 Nov 2018 at 4:02pm

Australia’s very own Huntington Beach .

mab222's picture
mab222's picture
mab222 commented Sunday, 11 Nov 2018 at 9:47am

"RESPECT THE LOCALS' means nothing more than letting the locals get all the good set waves. And they deserve this respect why? Because they were lucky enough to be born somewhere? Whilst i would be bobbing about trying my best to pick up the scraps or down at the next close out bank, i would wonder at the morality of this principle. The locals already enjoy the benefit of being close to the break- catching the quick passing swells, arvo glass off's, quick early morning sessions before work, best tides and winds, which visitors dont get the opportunity to enjoy and be ready for. What a crock.
how about 'RESPECT THE VISITORS' - who have much less time for quick sessions and need to make a much greater effort to get down to any particular break for a surf.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Sunday, 11 Nov 2018 at 10:17am

Because the local’s lives are intertwined with a spot. They’re there on the shitty days when the visitors are being fair weather friends some where else.

They volunteer at the rural fire service and the local ambulance.

When a break is threatened it’ll be the locals that fight first and fight hardest to protect it. It’ll be the locals wording up the uninvested fucktards that want to overfish or pollute the area. They’ll be the ones fighting the developers who want to build a marina through the middle of the wave.

99 percent of the time , when the waves get gnarly it’ll be the locals showing the way and making the surf seem more approachable with their confidence and knowledge. They’ll show you where to sit and which waves to choose if you’ve got half a clue to be patient and observe.

They’ve forsaken living elsewhere because they love a spot so much. That’s worthy of your respect, not the twenty dollars of fuel you’ve spent driving there or the hardcore adversity you’ve faced whilst sitting in your Subaru Forrester listening to podcasts for the half hour drive from your suburb .

You just see a surf break . The locals see the entire area and the community around it.

mab222's picture
mab222's picture
mab222 commented Sunday, 11 Nov 2018 at 10:30am

well sadly Blowin, this is rarely the reality. My respect is rarely recognised. Ive experienced too many locals snaking and dominating breaks and especially take off spots to understand that this- and your justification above- is nothing more than maintaining a power imbalance.

My point is simply that respect should be given to all.

And be careful you should not so quickly dismiss the efforts and support and investment that non-locals make to any and all impending beachside environmental disasters. you should be glad of all support you get from all sectors of society.

geek's picture
geek's picture
geek commented Sunday, 11 Nov 2018 at 12:09pm

If you don't like it, move to the coast, become mates with the locals, learn the spot inside out and move your way up in the pecking order. If you don't want to do that then get to the back of the line kook

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Sunday, 11 Nov 2018 at 2:20pm

Hmm just typed a reply about the 'locals' getting the sets and ways around this on a path to consistent surfing enjoyment, but realised I'd be giving way too much away!

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Sunday, 11 Nov 2018 at 11:57am

Mate , no one is more of a blow in than myself , and I’ll be the first to arc up when locals overstep the mark , but locals are entitled to a greater share than you are .

Power imbalance? Yes there is a power imbalance. But that is the harsh reality of life . Deal with it.

pittsy's picture
pittsy's picture
pittsy commented Sunday, 11 Nov 2018 at 12:49pm

If you surf anywhere else but your 'local' even once does that revoke your local status? What if you move elsewhere but grew up there? What if I'm out there more than you and can surf better than you (note: I doubt I would be and definitely can't), can I then sit deeper than you?

I don't know the answers to any of these questions, don't necessarily think localism is bad either...

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Sunday, 11 Nov 2018 at 1:14pm

I’m thinking that you do know the answers to all of these questions, as do most people.

That’s why the self regulation of most line ups works relatively well.

pittsy's picture
pittsy's picture
pittsy commented Sunday, 11 Nov 2018 at 2:10pm

Ahhh touche blowin well put. Either way easiest thing is to do is shadow a 'local' at a safe distance (let them have their pick of first wave as life's too short to get into altercations over travelling lumps of water) and try and go one for oneish...

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Sunday, 11 Nov 2018 at 2:14pm

For sure.

But locals aren’t inviolate. Like anyone else , if they’re being a prick it’s up to you to set the limits of what they can get away with.

c735293's picture
c735293's picture
c735293 commented Tuesday, 13 Nov 2018 at 1:27am

I was at a well known spot in the Ments in July. The guys acting like locals were Ozzies. Watched a guy paddle past me 4 times without looking sideways while I sat there, patiently waiting my turn. If only I'd had some capsicum spray or a waterproof tazer....
2 fellow guests at the camp were even worse - 8 days of Ozzie locals made Vicco feel easy.
We can be as bad (or worse) as Brazilians. At least they don't hog the peak.

Mike

Fliplid's picture
Fliplid's picture
Fliplid commented Wednesday, 14 Nov 2018 at 7:01am

I think it might have been Blindboy who said it best. “If you want to take turns, go and play tennis”

willibutler's picture
willibutler's picture
willibutler commented Wednesday, 14 Nov 2018 at 4:56pm

1) Respect the locals
2) all the breaks in these photos will never get crowded because they are shit and just look good in photos
3) It’s just surfing everyone chill and have fun
4) if your complaining about Craig sharing his experiences link your Instagram account below and let’s see if you have shared photos with your followers of the surf spots you go to

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