There is always a lot to look forward to with the Easter break. With four days off, its the first real holiday of the year and depending on your beliefs provides a moment to reflect, worship, repent, recharge or celebrate. Sometimes all of them at once.
From a surfing point of view it has always had the ingredients for celebration. The Autumnal stirrings of the Antarctic Ocean sending groomed swell trains through the Indian Ocean and round Australia. Combined with temperate weather and warm water - it really is the best time of year.
So in a way, the incoming blob on the forecasting map was not entirely unexpected. The question was really how big and how clean it would be. It’s those questions - that have you watching your clock countdown to the alarm at 4:30am. In the end the alarm goes off in the car – the journey south to Solander usually starts early than expected.
Its about the Spit bridge when the chief forecaster Sperlo provides the latest outlook – Solid 13-14 sec leading edge swell, tide good early with light winds. It is definitely on.
We meet in the dark of the Yena carpark. Myself, Pete Sperling, Vic Ivec and with his budgies and wrestler build, the Randy Savage of bodysurfing - Nick Brbot. Through the daybreak murk a set rolls in and despite some morning funk, it turns square down the reef of Ours. We suit and budgie up respectively to get in before the board riders commit.
The water is still jet black when we hit it, the suns early glow illuminating each set as they marched in and across the boil. We have it all to ourselves for a 15 min maelstrom of hooting, lip dodging, barrel riding, backwash flipping and rinse cycle carnage. The wave is not quite perfect but its good to get a few under the belt quickly and ease the nerves.
The rib tickling air route to the ground floor
From then on it’s a steady stream of board riders joining the fray till there are around 10 sitting on the boil. It’s the most people I have ever surfed with at the Cape but we co-exist surprisingly well. They have their take off spot and we have ours. Being further down the reef allows us to scoop up the wide sets, the sucky insiders and on their failures – no sane person would want ours… except perhaps Vic who has that genetic casual late take off streak.
Sometimes its best to let em go through to the keeper
We are all getting some rippers, solid thick slabs with vertical drops that turn into square speedway barrels. Some are made, most are not and some beatings are brutal but that’s the price of admission to this incredible adrenaline fest.
Randy Savage likes to slam barrels
About half way through the session, a thick behemoth lurches out of the deep. It’s the biggest wave of the day, a bomb that is so grotesque and perfect at the same time that every surfer waiting on the boil appears to “accidentally” look the other way at exactly the same time. It’s an unexpected turn of events and just when it looks to have its challenge unanswered – there is Sperlo swinging in to pick up the gauntlet.
Pete goes.. and then some
I have had the fortune of bodysurfing with the very stylish and the completely unhinged. In that moment, watching Sperlo, fully stretched out as the bottom of that wave dropped away with a kitchen-sized barrel in the backdrop – it confirmed that very few others combine the two so well.
Pete digging in under the cowling - the pics dont do the shape of this wave justice
Its inspiring to watch and on another cleaner day, he may he have made it instead of getting a severe flogging but the bar has been raised and then some. For the rest of the morning we push toward its dizzying height until the incoming tide and cross-shore brings down the curtain on what has been an exceptional session.
Capped off by a barnacle free exit - it wasn’t just Good Friday, turns out it was a Great one.
All images supplied and under copyright of Peter Tidswell
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.