It'd been a while since I'd been up to surf the Superbank, Australia's most crowded, consistently high-quality wave. One of those pre-COVID things that had since dropped off the radar. It came to me in the last few days, while surfing scrappy B-grade point surf that I'd spent a big chunk of last year watching dreamy lines stacked on the Cooly conveyor belt and that I was actually pining for it. The penny dropped that there was nothing stopping me from going up there and surfing it.
The quickly hatched plan was to spend an entire day, from dawn to dusk, surfing it, utilising the most effective crowd adaptation strategies I could muster and according to a few basic principles outlined below:
- No fighting the crowd or current. Drift theory requires submitting over an extended period to the fundamental characteristic of a long, crowded sand-bottom pointbreak with longshore drift. Spend enough time in the zone on the bank and it'll be your ticket to cash in.
- Minimise energy expenditure and maximise opportunity. Really just another way of restating the first principle.
- Love of fate. Whatever happens out there, deal with it. You could spend hours on a drift and get nothing, or you could get one of the rides of your life. Accept both outcomes with equanimity.
- Ride three set waves.
There's mist in the paddocks along the low flood plains between Wollumbin and the Tweed Coast. An excellent sign this slight gap in the synpotic pattern will allow a calm morning. The cumulus towers are bruised purple by the time I pull up behind Rainbow Bay. The drive-by over Greenmount Hill reveals an almighty crowd for the dawny. There's almost something biblical about, like an ancient army amassed on a plain. I find it terrifying. Intimidating.
I take a slow walk by Jack Evans Boat Harbour, behind D-bah, up over the hill, past the Point Danger border and down past Froggies, to come in behind Snapper and into the keyhole as the sun sneaks between the cloud stacks. The tide is close to dead low, and with gaps in the sets it's an easy paddle out, into a sea of people.
Straight away I have to abandon the initial plan; there's no current running down the bank. In fact, there's a slight reverse current running, slowly but surely dragging you back towards the tip of Snapper Rocks. Each wave attracts two, three, sometimes five paddlers.
I try another plan. Hunting the bank. Ducking in to pick up double-ups which slip in under the main pack. Some of the better surfers are onto it - it's fiercely contested terrain and involves wearing lots of sets on the head.
I move back out to sea. Try and find some little area of unoccupied space. There's a long, slow soft period on the slack of the tide. The crowd continues to grow. There could be 300 people out. Maybe 400. A perverse sense of relaxation is engendered by this fact. At a certain level, it doesn't matter anymore. We're all just molecules now, bumping up against each other in a quantum soup.
A wave pops up. Yes! Wave 1. I am promptly dropped in on by a dude in a steamer on a Hypto Krypto. Hunting this little patch just wide of Snapper near Little Marley I get waves 2, 3, and 4. They are all attended and I kick out immediately. That makes 0-4 after an hour.
Negative thoughts start to proliferate. Fuck this shitfight. This is a fucking joke. I'm never coming to the Superbank again.
Sets begins to pump as the tide pushes in. I go wider. A little further out in the bluewater. It's pure tropical deluxe. Sitting right in the guts of the East Australian Current. The EAC is a surface current generated by winds in the South Pacific. It forms a western boundary of the South Equatorial Current which creates the South Pacific Gyre. It's nutrient poor water and the low flux of particles in South Pacific Gyre creates the clearest seawater in the world. It feels different. Boards feel smoother in the water, waves break with more precision. It feels like silk. Indo water can feel cloying, this pure South Pacific blue refreshes as it warms.
I catch two more waves, both contain an inside rider.
Next strategy. The 'best guy' strategy. Try and find the best guy out there, the one catching the best waves, sit near them, and try and get in line for the next ticket. I get cleaned up by a big set, the biggest of the day and end up next to two frothing grommets. I quickly see they have found a little corner where a double-ups runs from Little Marley into Rainbow. One sneaks a little wider, I look at the kid on the wrong side of the wedge and he gives me an almost imperceptible nod. Finally, an unattended wave. A nice runner that enables me to rattle off a few turns.
I go back there but can't repeat the dose. After half an hour I go wide again and sit next to a bloke on a 9'6” who I've seen on a few set waves. Back and forth, in and out, wide and deep. I'm losing my sense of equanimity and passivity and hunting too hard. Old mate on the 9'6” gets a set. I can see the next line coming in wider. It wedges hard right on top of me. A silky set wave that lines up all the way through into Greeny. After riding scrappy, onshore point surf for days the ride feels sublime. Smooth and with the more constant predictable curve the turns feel amazing. Good waves just feel better than bad waves, or even OK ones.
I'm where I want to be. Closer to Greeny. I get a pretty fun wave with some nice turns and think about going in.
There's no sets and no current so I paddle back out. I'm getting hungry and thirsty. I envisaged about twenty or so separate drifts but this first one has claimed three hours. A wedge pushes in on me, a good looking wave but a girl on a mid-length hustles in hard underneath and contests. I pull back, “Go! Go!” The karma is almost immediate. A bigger and better one is right behind it. A blue wedge with a perfectly angled sectionless wall attached is on me. I have to sprint paddle to get to the wedge. It rifles off at maximum planing speed down the raceway from Greeny to Spot X. For a rec surfer, a wave as good as you could hope to ride.
Four good waves, six shit ones in a first three hour drift. To be honest, it wildly exceeds my expectations.
I had a slab of tailor for brekky, brought up in a lunch box. Three prawn sangas, two mangos, and a bag of sugar coated macadamia nuts round off the provisions for the day. While eating brekky I notice a niggle in my elbow. A dull pain that gets worse when I bend it. Damn it. It's an old injury that flares up when over-surfing, with heavy duckdiving the worst trigger. I've aggravated it.
The light offshore has slackened off and it's gone pure gorgeous, sheet glass bluewater point surf. There could be 500 people out. It's the most crowded surf I've ever seen. I pick off two relatively quickly, fun rides. Then end up near Greeny and get two more bangers.
The most crowded surf I've ever seen and I'm yet to see any aggro. Surf rage gets the clicks and will make the front page of the Gold Coast Bulletin. What's remarkable is the lack of surf rage. Everyone I speak to is happy, everyone has “got a couple”. I don't hear an angry word, let alone a punch thrown. Like the stockmarkets do with bad news, the crowd has been fully factored in. You expect the crowd, you get the crowd, and you accept the crowd.
I dunno why, but I find this remarkable grounds for optimism. Not that long ago cops on jetskis patrolling the line-ups was a distinct possibility up here.
The dodgy elbow is throbbing now. It sends me in.
Two Nurofens and a prawn sanga later I head back to Greenmount with a pen and notebook. I want some data about the state of the surfboard market. No better, more representative place than the Superbank between Xmas and New Years Eve. I make some categories:
- PU/PE Shortboard (standard construction)
- EPS/Epoxy shortboard (including Firewires)
Of a random sample of a hundred people surfing the Superbank on 29 December, 2022 the results are as follows:
- 60 rode PU/PE shortboards.
- 18 rode EPS/Epoxy shortboards.
- 9 rode mid-lengths.
- 5 rode Longboards.
- 10 rode Foamies/softboards.
Even allowing for any sampling errors, the survey shows the clear domination of the PU/PE shortboard (still!).
I'm parked under a massive Norfolk Pine on Boundary Street. In its shade I have a kip despite being on a traffic island surrounded by constant traffic. When I wake the elbow is so painful I can barely bend it. I take another prawn sanga and hit the streets of the 'Gatta on the advice of an internet pal. “Tape it up,” he reckons. There must be a dozen massage parlours on the main drag with competitive pricing. The pharmacy has the K-tape but I need someone to apply it. They send me on a wild goose chase looking for a physio, but the physios are all shut up. By chance I run into an old mate I haven't seen for twenty years. We bust out the YouTube video tutorials and he tapes me up. I need help to get into a wetsuit. This patch up job is dodgy as hell but I'm hoping it'll get me through the dawn to dusk mission.
What was an easy paddle-out before in the keyhole is now apocalyptic as strong sets bombard the Snapper lineup. The wind is up. Snapper Rocks have a comp on behind the rock and I'm thinking this surf could come to a rapid end if I do more than two or three duckdives under six foot sand slammers. The tide is running out. Every minute will make it harder. No jet ski assist.
I snuck out then wore three six footers on the head. I don't duckdive them. Then I sprint across the bank to safety. It's more raggedy now and in the more challenging conditions the crowd has moderated. It feels more spacious, more relaxing. I can pick off a couple of sets. In less than two hours I rack up an eight wave count. The final wave another absolute freight train down near Greeny: a chip shot into a double-up that runs almost to Coolangatta Surf Club.
The elbow is feeling weak but functional. Not functional enough to get out of the wetsuit. I have to ask a Brazilian gal with a huge, dimpled derriere to help me get out of it.
The ocean has gone quieter again. The earlier pulse has settled and the sets are less frequent. I get an easy go out but the elbow is betraying me. Mentally I'm feeling so refreshed and into it but the elbow is like my old Camry. Engine ran like a dream but the suspension got so bad I could only drive it at 50 kms an hour. It became undriveable. I realise I'm putting other people at risk because I can't duckdive. The pop-up is feeling unreliable.
Two waves ridden as the sun briefly flares across the plateau behind Kirra. By the time I get the busted wing back to the car the light is fading. Wollumbin is a silhouette on the drive south. I drove with the windows wound down, gulping lungfuls of air to stop from nodding off. A beer to celebrate, flick the switch, and I'm asleep before the room goes dark. Cooked, wrecked, crippled and stoked. 25 waves ridden over 4 drifts.
This morning I feel like I've been on a two week Indo boat trip.
You calling your local B-Grade?
pretty scrappy with SE-ESE winds on it.
… how good are prawn sangas !!!
Crispy baguette, rocket, lemon drizzle, salt & pepper.
The taste of summer.
Nice work Steve. Havent surfed there since the mid 90's but we were there around the Cyclone Fili swell, abd I can really relate. The joy of finally getting a gem amongst the drop-ins, shut downs and second rate leftovers is summed up beautifully:
"A silky set wave that lines up all the way through into Greeny. After riding scrappy, onshore point surf for days the ride feels sublime. Smooth and with the more constant predictable curve the turns feel amazing. Good waves just feel better than bad waves, or even OK ones."
Oh, and the "two Nurofens and a prawn sanga" lunch, hits the mark as well.
Lovely stuff, thanks.
Great story and drifting paid off.
Thanks Freeride - A great day was had by all
I wonder how many Waves would break and run down the Super bank from Dawn to Dusk on a day like that...
Thanks Udo, you didn't have to edit that quote out.
I still think like that a lot of the time.
Did you catch the tailor?
Yeah, not on the day, I bought it with me.
Great article, so much exactly true, so honest.
sweep was killer today!! Nice write up, love reading this personalised content.
I used the drift theory a lot when I was living just north of 2nd groyne. Sometimes I just wouldn't bother paddling against the sweep and usually managed to pick quite a few off that way. Though once I did 3 drifts from Snapper to Kirra and didn't score a fucking wave. I almost gave up surfing there after that sesh.
Sorry Steve, But I can't surf a place with such a lack of Aloha. No matter how good.
No offence but it seems like you did a bit of a WSL white-wash of the realities of the place? or you just spent enough hours with patience to actually get your fill? Man you must be fit to put in that many hours in one day. Well done!
Can we hear the story of your not so great experiences at Superbank? that would be a nice yang to your yin session?
I think what you should really say instead of "Australia's most crowded surfspot" is, "the worlds most disrespectful surfspot."
Seriously, the place is fucked up on a level I didn't think possible. Even back in the day the Gold Coast had Rules, Respect and a well defined hierarchy, but it has lost it's way.
No-one gives a flying fuck about anyone out there.....and apart from it being just plain sad, it' so ridiculously dangerous.
I would just love each and everyone of those disrespectful fucks to try doing that shit over in Hawaii. or (insert name of almost any other place here!.)
I understand most people here (swellnet) have a clue about the rules of engagement in the surf but I still feel many out there Living in La la Land have no fucking idea so I feel it's worth mentioning?
.....and yes I am aware that the ancient Hawaiian's were exclusive in who could surf where, but they moved on from that. Seems anyone who pays respect can paddle out at pipeline. You won't get a wave, but you'll be allowed to sit way down the end of the lineup and earn your place. I wouldn't have tried to surf the King's wave back in the day. Yikees.
For context I grew up as a Briso and used to surf North Stradbroke Is. Basically I was a westie [Sydney] equivalent, but as long as you paid your respect you eventually were accepted and got waves.
In the end I think the localism was all about the fact there were already too many surfer a long time ago, and we didn't need any more Fools out in the water. I can't see how that has changed in the last 40 years, if anything that situation/fact has intensified.
Bring back the enforcers!
You are the worst type of surfer. Locals only, have respect, do your time blah blah blah its all just selfish loud mouth assholes that ruin it for everyone. Just shitty localism, want all the waves and hide behind respect bullshit. Wait your turn, dont drop in and everyone gets a wave.
But old mate is a Brisso? His local is Streets Beach. I bet he dominates there on the big days too
If you want to act like a child Surfalot67, then I will treat you like one.
Not sure your comment had any motive other than to yell and make fun of someone?
Well this Brisso did learn to surf mate, and if I see you out in the water one day I wall say hi.
I don't hold grudges against uneducated or bias people, as it not their fault.
But should you want to start doing dumb and DANGEROUS things in the water around me you will feel my wrath. As I have had so many injuries from people doing dumb shit in the water, I cannot sit still and wait for another trip the hospital.
and you tell me how you will feel when a child gets hit by a fuckwit's surfboard and gets knocked out and drowns???
Sorry it was uncoo to speakup about people being dangerous in the surf.
Like I told your fool friend, please go to Hawaii and get schooled on how to be a good surf-citizen. Tell them you're looking for some Aloha.
Butt hurt kook. EAD
No mate, Just made the mistake again of thinking there was a heart or soul inside these lost and sad humans like you. ....but I refuse to give up on finding a way to see it :) I'll find a way eventually as I refuse to leave a single human behind to wade in the misery of a sad and angry life. Keep your head above water mate.
This is not sarcastic, all humans deserve love, patience and forgiveness.
...and no I am not a religious person or a hippy....life taught me these lessons and I'm happy to share with you.
PS....Hate ain't doing you any favors mate.
Please learn to distinguish hate from frustration is my best advice mate, as I wasn't directing HATE at anyone.
if you took the time to properly digest what I wrote you would have seen it for what it was. A frustration/venting at a broken human system, nothing more.
We can do better than complete chaos and I'll always strive for that and make no apologies to better myself.
I'm not the problem mate, I'm just looking for a solution to the madness , and unless you can show me a better way than every-man-for him/herself then please share it with us?
I'm just the guy who can;t avoid mentioning that the ship is headed for the rocks whilst you all get drunk and squabble amongst yourselves.
Hey Kang, You don't don't know me so kindly fuck right off out of my face.
You are the worst type of Human - Judging others without even the slightest idea about them.
I don't drop in - Evil incarnate.
I am not selfish - I could get a lot more waves than I do. I seriously enjoying sharing the waves with others and don't hassle others.
I am not a local or claim to be. - Just another surfer frustrated by a lack of rules and respect.
and PS... and please Try saying "Locals , Blah, blah, blah" in Hawaii . Would you be so kind to post the results here for us? Include the pictures of yourself in hospital.
lilas, fully hear what you are expressing, got nothing to do with pseudo localism as many claim when called out. wether it's a polite or hostile reaction in response to negligent behaviour. In my mind some localism is always present be it good or bad. Most people get it or have been on the receiving end of it. Some learn from it in both good and bad ways. We have the right to stand up for ourselves and look after common interests but it's never been a blank check to pursue your own gain by any means possible.If you assume that others needs and rights are constantly less important to them than yours are to you, you will always find trouble in life. Not everyones going to see the situation from the same view point but there was once and still is some basic respect in the water. Pro's who speak out get vilified and fear sponsorship with-drawl but as leaders and influencers of the sport it is often they who carry the most voice, few speak out possibly because of fear or its in their favour not to.
Some times nothing is more disheartening than seeing the familiar behavioural garbage be passed down to the next generation. We will keep heading down the same road we have all been down unless something changes. Our ability to make things better for them is limited, but we are not totally powerless. Guide the next generation so they can be happier in the surf. Competence and confidence. Basic respect.
without sounding like a self-righteous bastard, everyone makes mistakes in the surf, but if it's a reoccurring problem through disrespect like anywhere in life you most likely will get called out at some time. The reason Brian from Brissy is a legend is because he had basic respect for others.
my uncle also hates bodyboarders, surfers etc.
Awesome read love hearing about your thoughts of dread IE crowd numbers/chaotic surf dropins etc... I've only ever surfed dbah when on holiday was never keen on battling the crowd at snapper .. that was enough for me... I'll give it a go next time I'm in that neck of the woods...I'll add another molecule to the chain.
I was amazed at the amount of people wearing wetsuits ( some steamers ) water was beautiful temperature for boardies. My biggest whinge is when you’re paddling for a wave and angling in guys paddling out instead of wearing the white water , paddle the same direction as your going and just completely fuck it up so you either have to bottom turn around them ( and miss the section ) or risk running them over and damaging your prized new board.
Just refuse to acknowledge them or make eye contact, by pretending they’re invisible they lose confidence that you’ll compromise your drop for their safety and choose to push through behind you as the safest option. I learned this from a local at merdewii and it actually works.
Excellant tactic that one Seaweed.
Tho if It doesn't work I usually tell them to get the fuck out of the way and then run 'em over.
agree 100%. i always make it clear that i’m opting to take the whitewater rout and not interfere with anyones wave. even deep diving early so i can be ran over without getting sliced.i last surfed snapper in 2003 and had slater do a big hack over the top of me. looked cool from underwater and he might not have even seen me. if he did i’m sure he would’ve appreciated it.
nice one, I was out there yesterday with my own similar theories of drift.... although 4 sessions is beyond me stuff that
Paying for it today.
Brilliant Steve, welcome to my world. You definitely have cracked the code; the good old boys still get their share on the busiest of days by playing the game just as you did. Funnily enough, as a Cooly local, I bit the bullet on the same day and drove to the northern points with the grom and his mate frothing after the end of their school life and ready to hit every wave they can. I have never ever seen the place so busy, the roads and traffic were bedlam, but we jagged a park and walked in through thousands of holiday makers to the jump off to find four-foot unreal walls with an incredibly mellow crowd. No sweep, super warm and four hours of surfing across two sessions. Not one drop in, only one snake who got called out by the pack. Sometimes it just works, and thank god for all the neigh-sayers like Lilas groveling in their negativity. So sore today, the old rig is tired AF but shit that was fun.
I think you can learn to love the mayhem, personally I find I can only manage one day on one day off of crowded point surf. It takes a toll mentally and physically. Getting a run of nice beachies to balance it out hopefully. Surfing uncrowded waves is like taking a long walk in the bush after driving in a hectic city.
The antithesis of what surfing is supposed to be ….
Good article, can relate, the best surfs I had on that stretch when living on Goldie was when then was a strong current and the luck factor was in play. Use to just do run arounds and if got a few were happy.
Now on Sunny Coast and would give the Noosa crowd a crack, but last few times have been up there couldn't get car park and stuck in gridlock,Carnt of a place! Not many other options here unfortunately in these conditions.
Fr you grow with each article you had me all the way there really enjoyed cheers.
Usually aviod it like the plague but during Covid lockdowns(needed a border pass) jumped over the border & thought I'll just have a look B4 going further north. A quick check from the Greenmount hill revealed 3 to 4ft with about 50 surfers out over the supa bank, I coudn't believe it & got 3 of the best & longest waves I'd had all year in the 2hrs I was on the drift! Sometimes ya get lucky! I'd forgotten how good it can be!
Another good read. Captured well.
Really liked that FR. Once jagged a 5ft wave to myself off the bit I think they call Little Marley on one of the most hi-po boards I ever had - it was phenomenal... a long time in the distilling though!
Facing a lonely coast governed by the wind, it's just two of us out at times, wave after wave and not ideal, but punchy at present. Quite the contrast.
Is this you on the end section freeride?
Good choice of board ha ha
I know it's dog eat dog out there, but I reckon luck is probably a bigger factor than skill most times when it comes to scoring waves at Snapper through to Greeny or Kirra when it's super crowded,
Extremely frustrating when shit doesn't go your way but there's something immensely satisfying when it does.
I love to hate the joint, but at the end of the day, I'll be back to roll the dice.
And so will many of you.
Suck it up buttercup. There's always room for one more at Snapper.
Good piece, FR.
always room for one more?
Then it's learn to turn and burn it is. ;) I was told to go.
Just turn and burn,
just turn and burn.
Always room for one more.
What a great yarn.Well done."Fuck this shit,this is a fucken joke "LOL.What a fucken circus was my synopsis a couple of months ago, My highlights, seeing Occy on a couple than Parko blow up cause he got burnt on a couple.Always someone inside ya and nobody ever falls off ! A few hours of free entertainment and one or two wobbly left overs.
The assertive fit, nimble and quick, deep, late takeoff experts get a decent slice of the pie.
Unfit, tired arms, slower takeoffs, a bit passive or hesitant? Then, for you, it will be many juicy slices passing by out of reach or whisked away just as you are about to bite.
Sometimes, however, the randomness and sections will work in your favour.
Love your work freeride! 25 waves at superbank is real feast though.
I am happy if I get 3.
Try it again and report back with part two.
I was born and raised there, but now an hour drive.
My mate Todd Lee gave me that attitude ticket
some years ago. "Just chill and take it as it comes." Roll the dice!
Hard to keep an even keel though when you drive an hour and get nothing after two hours,
and it downright dangerous at times,
I was threatened with murder a while back by a bloke who was trying to drop in (I was going so fast I somehow knocked him off the back of the wave) Hot young buck got embarrassed.
Todd is right though, and so are you.
You do much better with low expectations and a calm demeanor.
Looking forward to part two. Cheers Steve.
a ripping yarn
better get that elbow looked at
surprised about the 10 soft boards/foamies
great writing and surfing strategy Steve, your articles are always a breath of fresh air
The Superbank of broken dreams.......
great write. ban the finless fuckwits. so many collisions and near misses while they spin wildly out of control through the crowds.
In fairness mate, there are a couple who rip, like Ron. If you're a local, you'd know him for sure. He's a legend, always with a smile and happy to share a wave, I've rarely seen him fall even on solid ones. What's that saying about the best surfer being the one having the most fun?
One thing that I've noticed travelling this year and surfing more uncrowded, yet long period point breaks is that the Superbank can handle more people than a Bali point break for example because there's a lot of lulls with long period waves where as on the east coast with shorter period swells the waves keep coming comparatively.
Still don't miss the gold coast crowds though! Shit is next level there, like a human soup. Nice article.
Steve, another great story,
your efforts are a reminder of why I joined "Surf Gamblers Anonymous"
I drifted away & enjoyed surfing more....
had dolphins swimming circles around us prime-apes today... mellow moments between waves
Here's some crowded surf music
Great yarn Steve, but for balance could we have less articles about 24 waves in a session and more articles about 0 waves in a session?
I'll be surfing it for the first time ever on Monday. I'll make sure to have my meanest scowling face on and keep the knuckle dusters in the pocket for good measure.
How did you go Mcface?
At 6'6 tall probably O.K.
Pretty much how I thought it'd be to be honest but general thoughts as follows:
- amazing how easy it is to go from hating the superbank to loving it in the space of a great ride.
- That reverse sweep near snapper is like some sick hamster wheel where you can't paddle away from the crowds but you can't get a wave to take you out of it either
- despite the chaos and crowds, generally people were fairly cheerful on the whole.
- I did have to duckdive directly underneath a single fin logger who was wide and dropping in on two other surfers, glad to have the noggin in one piece.
- one of my sessions unfortunately I did end up without a really good wave.
All in all I rode several waves over three sessions, with a couple absolute smokers that I will remember for some time to come. Going in with a mellow attitude and just enjoying the spectacle paid off. Great fun in limited doses with reasonable expectations.
It's a crazy place I am in no rush to return. Best and worst surfs of my life there. The last time I surfed it I dodged 3x 9' bullets. I figure I have used up all my luck out there. Basically, it was one of those days where it was hollow, quick, and shallow as. If you didnt quite make it on yours, you had someone else screaming down the line hot on your heels. Quite often we all ended up in the same spot. Each wave was equal parts water and human. Three times did I dodge a logger deep inside a barrel with next to no no water to dive into. Still got me how I surfaced unscathed.
Thoroughly enjoyable read FR. Jeez you covered some ground through the day, all over Tweed/Coolie/Rainbow/Pt Danger. And then the surfing! No wonder ur knackered!! I used to do the walk around Jack Evans/Dbah on occasion too. First time i ever heard of Steph Gilmore was on one of those walks, as i went past Dbah, some grom comp was on and just as i went past, a gromment named Steph Gilmore took off, pulled into a slick pit, got spat out, and got a 10. I remember thinking, that chicks gonna be someone!
Anyway, cheers for taking us on multiple laps of the superbank. I think that'll keep my fill up from going there for another few years so cheers! haha
Sorry..but prawn sangas sound rank! Ha. Good ol East Swell counter-sweep can really corral the crowd, but has been offset by the sectiony-ness and short-periody-ness, somewhat. I've been lurking on an end section nearby. The number of people in steamers has been the hardest thing to accept
Drift 2 screen shot. Pretty much dead centre, 1 person riding, unlikely to make next section. 2 people right under the next 'wedge'. The next seeing the opportunity furiously kicking. Another few more waiting to swoop. Too much for me but never say never, I have tackled the best worst wave quite a few times and got my share.
Big fan of your writing mate, felt like I had a busted wing too!
That reverse sweep got me last week as well, it's a lottery.
Very good read Fr.
Swellnet comes up with quality content again.
I use the float theory at Dribbo.
I‘m more of a flounderer than a drifter, but I have employed the drift technique on more than one occasion.
Enjoyed the read FR. On the lounge after surfing with 3 others out this morning in Sydney. Your back must be good now. I see your logic of following the good surfers but I often do the opposite when crowded and sit near more incompetent surfers to get more waves.
Happy New Year
Agree with you on sticking to less competent surfers as a strategy when it's crowded. This is less successful at snapper though as I reckon the standard of surfing is generally higher than what i'm used to (surf coast victoria). You know what they say, if you can't spot the kook, then you are the kook!
thanks for sharing your honest insight. i hate crowds like most others but it’s been 20yrs since i surfed there and i would love to sneak one last trip there and get even just one good one. Sooo, can you do us a favour and go back there soon (or as soon as your elbow allows) and do it again please lol. cheers
PSA : the foilers are out and about.
After many hours in the water yesterday and today at greenmount the only collision I saw was a foiler run straight into someone’s legs.
Me and a few others that saw it told him exactly where to go, he didn’t say anything just went in.
But sure enough there were a few more doing their pumping jumping and trying to catch every set wave between snapper and Kirra.
There were more than a few grumbles in the water about them and I’m curious to know what FR and stunet think about where they stand in such an overcrowded lineup, but also the quality of the waves that they are completely floating over, surely there are better places for it??!
Nice writeup and very accurate only one thing missing the banks are atrocious the locals
I know all said the same thing that the banks are the worst they could remember.
Admittedly theyre were still some super fun waves but very far from good to excellent.
Still having fun so far though been here since last Wednesday.
“You know what they say, if you can't spot the kook, then you are the kook!”
I resemble that remark !!
This was immensely enjoyable to read. Thanks for the insight
sometimes one session here is like a 2 week indo trip if you don't luck out!
I have a cam snapshot - 220+ riders plus the ones from the end of rainbow beach to greenmount not shown, and that is with quite crap sand, fat as from little malis to greenmount
It is bonkers, always is when the beaches are not ridable.
Great piece FR,
If you bring the right attitude lots of crowded surf spots can provide the goods. We can't always maintain the zen to make it work but worth trying to bring that vibe to the water.
Interesting as you say how once things get crowded beyond a certain point everyone often chills out, can be a revelation.
I find only certain personality types can handle crowded surf spots where bad behaviour is common. Those that can't usually won't last in the line up. If you can there are still waves to be had, you don't have to be part of the problem to handle it, you just have to not sweat the indiscretions too much. Choose your strategy and play the game, as you did.
Ibuprofen and Diclofenac the friend of the aging surfer. My wife gets grumpy when she hears of me managing symptoms to keep surfing. I was surfing through migraine auras, a couple of days ago. I couldn't quite see straight but the waves were pumping and no one was out. It was mostly okay while I surfing a wave so there was no way I was going in, tragic.
"I was surfing through migraine auras, a couple of days ago. I couldn't quite see straight"
Haha, that's full commitment Yendor! I'd be in bed trying to sleep it off.
At other times I probably would have too, but I'd just driven an hour and a half for that surf after being skunked the day before.
Weirdly I didn't get the headache to follow so it must have been therapeutic.
What is meant by -"Ride three set waves"???
Not self explanatory?
He set a goal that he would catch 3 set waves. Not scraps, not inside runners, genuine set waves.
Great article. Definitely resonates with me, this being my first time on the Gold Coast and I have been surfing there all week.
Yes its stupidly busy at times and the drop ins are hard to accept..... but you get a decent wave anywhere between Snapper and Spot X and it is definitely worth the paddle.
Absolutely love the place.
Thanks but no thanks FR.
I’m in Morocco at present with a similar (kind of) set up, far shorter wave but v crowded. Small take off spot, 60 + angry locals, inside paddling Frenchmen and assorted Euro flotsam and jetsam.
Second day it was double overhead in the morning got some crackers, but what a shit fight. It was worse when the swell dropped to head height!!
Makes me realise how lucky I am to live on the ‘almost’ coast.
Thanks also to Bean my 6’8” step up went insane.
Great write up though
Hey how many surfers are wearing helmets and amour out there these days? With 500 odd in the water that’s sounding a little dangerous? Probably should dress like an nfl player
I surfed Nationals/The Pot a lot in cyclone surf in the 70s and the drift was part of surfing there. To just hold your spot in the line up you had to paddle hard so the idea was to drift from the pot down the line and catch what you could before coming in at Johnsons and walking back to the jump off rock and doing it again. And even back then when Nationals was 6-8ft and cranking it got very crowded, as it holds a big cyclone swell better than anywhere on the east coast. It is one of the world's best surfing venues when all 5 points are holding swell. Surfers would appear from everywhere when Noosa went off. Still do but I don't go there anymore I always chase uncrowded waves now in my senior surfing years. They are still there if you know where to look
theres no real solution to the fact that most surfers are ignorant, self entitled, and obsessed about standing on a block of foam in a cool breeze with an unusual sense of purpose in life beyond waking up each day and breathing another breath. They will paddle from 100m to a takoff point where another surfer already is and claim their waves, wave after wave after wave, then gaslight in contempt at any indication of dissapproval from another of their victims for snakeing in on excessively over volume blocks of foam simply for the pleasure of wrecking their victims day where they get no waves whatsover during a 3hour session . A 3 hour session for most surfers at coolangatta in particular can easily become a 3 hour skin softening session in a salt bath filled with other peoples half naked bodies. The drift however can help in this scenario but it isnt a guarantee especially at a place where the majority of waves go to the most covert narcissists youre likely to endure at any beach in the world..
Such a great read. Although, I've always found the main difference in enjoying yourself in a crowd is the time factor. If you're trying to snag a few before or after work it's so much easier to become frustrated than when you're on holidays and can spend as long as you like waiting for your waves. Wonder how the crew who live there deal with the hordes with a limited wave window!
They just go.