Monday : Message from Pete Sperling, the doyen of East Coast bodysurfing “Anyone keen for Wednesday?” …. The forecast is still speculative but the interest in the crew has definitely been piqued.
Tuesday : New message. “Possibly an hour at Middles first up and then Voodoo or Voodoo the whole time depending on swell/wind. It is looking epic!”
When Sperlo calls epic – you know its time to pull out the stops, reschedule, postpone or just plain out lie to reorganise your life. These sessions don’t come along often enough to pass up. I even manage to talk my mate Joel Menz out of a session at the Longy bombie for a chance to bodysurf Middles/Ours.
Alarm clock set, the plan is set to meet at Middles at 6:20am.
Wednesday : 5am wakeup and with Joel in the car, we start the drive down to Cape Solander. The Whatsapp group is already buzzing with on route coordination and anticipation. Having missed the last Code Green event – Weaving a web of subterfuge a politician would be proud of, Dan has orchestrated a stealthily departure from the Central coast at 4am.
Ours will be 8-10′ and a sight to behold… from the shore
5:17am Update : “Swell has definitely filled in overnight. We are looking at 3.5m @ 11-12 sec… weird direction 20-30 degrees shy of models…. What does this all mean?” “Ours will be 8-10′ and a sight to behold… from the shore”
Sounds ominous. Sperlo throws some hope out with “it should be thundering at my house but it is strangely quiet”. We continue the drive to meet up with Pete, Dan Carr and Ollie Brennan in the Yena parking.
North head of Botany blowing spray
There are 10ft+ sets rolling into the infamous Ours. Middles is faring better but the swell direction appear to have way too much East in it. The rock off is underwater and an inspection of the rock in - shows the toughest get out spot in Sydney just got a lot harder. First by making it through the gauntlet of wide sets at Ours, then getting close enough to the steps in the screaming rip while timing a surge between white water thundering into, onto and over the exit ledges. It was going to be a swim back in through Botany for sure. The enthusiasm is starting to wane as we peer out at Middles in hope of that one make-able wave.
Small set rolls through Ours
A tow team arrives to inspect the evil slab at Our and begins to tow a few loops. Its the spark the growing group of onlookers needed, as one by one, a few bodyboarders rock off and scramble out to Middles. Some set dodging later and then one of the chargers takes off an absolute bomb, it barrels and he commits to the cavern before it mows him down.
Bodyboard charging Middles
The crowd is impressed but the wave behind him isn't as forgiving.
Middles about to put down the hammer
The enthusiasm for this session is now all but gone. The call is quickly made to find a more manageable wave at nearby Cronulla point. As we leave, the tow team have still yet to whip into a wave.
there looks to be a lot of water shifting down the point and very few gaps between the solid sets.
The point is busy, barrelling and heavy but with a few bombs slipping unridden through the horde. Its all the opportunity we need, we suit up and scramble down the rocks to the jump off. Timing is going to be everything, as there looks to be a lot of water shifting down the point and very few gaps between the solid sets.
After nearly getting bowled over, Dan jumps first and with adrenalin flowing we swiftly follow. We all get pushed a fair way down the lineup and its a tiring swim to the top of the point. Its been awhile since I swam this hard and I can feel it.
We nearly get swept off the rock off
At the top of the point, its pumping and heavily crowded with seriously high caliber surfers able to make the steep take offs and cavernous sections. It is going to be tough to sneak a wave under this crew but we hang a bit inside and wait our turn.
You can run but you cant hide
I don't recall who gets the first wave but I remember mine. The crowd has scrambled out to dodge a set when a smaller wave sneaks through. Its a steep drop and I am way too deep but its good to get the first runs on the board.
Need Kookman's tips for the follow cam!
Stoked, its time to kick it up a notch.
More green garages like this please!
The waves are positively thick and cavernous and all the lads are getting stuck in.
Joel locking and loading : Dylan Cope
A couple of waves later and the adrenaline and confidence are flowing. A mutant rises from the deep and like magic, the crowd parts. Im on the inside and its got my name on it. I paddle in and for a frozen moment sit suspended at the top of the mountain. Next thing Im doing serious layback with my outside arm thrown behind me. Im holding the line and looking down a roaring barrel you could drive a train through. Except Im not a train and the tunnel is getting darker not lighter.
Cavernous Bombs : Dylan Cope
The beast clamps and I get flipped and smashed downward, I can feel my wetsuit and skin ripping as I'm smeared across the rocky bottom. Popping up, one fin is hanging on its tether and my GoPro mount has nearly been torn off my hand. Swimming like a stunned mullet, I give Sperlo the obligatory "Yewwwwww!!!" as he lays into the next bomb and I flop under it.
Swimming like a stunned mullet, I give Sperlo the obligatory "Yewwwwww!!!"
Sperlo drops in while I do my best stunned mullet impression : Dylan Cope
The man is seriously stylish but the guy killing it is Dan. Committing to bomb after bomb and riding them down the point, he obviously functions best when riddled by guilt and cloaked in subterfuge hahaha
Kookman in Beast mode : Dylan Cope
Kook laying rail : Dylan Cope
Kook with a trip to the green room : Dylan Cope
Big, steep, cavernous. It was the type of session you live for as a bodysurfer. It even felt like the surfers accepted us in the lineup - that or they respected our insane hunger for the unmakeable! Either way - bring on the next "Big Wednesday"!
Has spent over 30 years of his middle aged life trying to spend more time in the ocean. Likes to surf, bodysurf, free dive and pretend he enjoys chasing big waves.