The bay got treated to some decent SE swell on the weekend. But big surf can hand out some big beatings whilst you're out there in search of the big waves and barrels. And it's something worth thinking about before paddling out there.
There were a few lucky escapes this weekend which serve to highlight the importance of the old adage "Know before you go". I witnessed a pretty scary incident go down whilst shooting from the pathway above Humewood. I had sms'd the surfer involved later that day to ask if he wanted the pics of his close shave, as I hadn't planned on running them on the site. But he thought it'd be a good idea to print them and run the story, as he wanted other surfers to learn from it so they don't get caught out like he did.
So thanks to Sabo for letting me share his unplanned trip through the slipway. Hopefully it'll save someone else from making the same scary trip.
Sabo & his mates had been getting some bombs out at Baked Beans. They'd finished their surf & where paddling in. Normally if you surf Baked Beans on a big day you paddle back through the pylons at Humewood and come in on the beach. However, the EP comp was on there, so they guys were paddling in on the Baked Beans side of the slipway. A very tricky exit.
It's a narrow channel, and the rip there is crazy when it's big, and pulls you towards the slipway unless you time your paddle in really well, and come in from an angle behind the rocks. Sabo was the last of his crew to paddle in, and a big set arrived just as he was in line with the edge of the slipway. Next thing he was getting dragged towards it despite paddling his pip off to try get back to the channel.
You can be the strongest paddler in the world - but no ways can you match the strength of the current. So Sabo got washed against the side of the slipway. Bad enough. But then things got worse. The next wave in the set picked him up and washed him INSIDE the slipway itself - as in right between the metal girders. All you could see was his board resting on top of the cross struts and suddenly this head pop up between them.
He got pounded by a few waves in there. Thankfully being an experienced surfer he knew to get his leash off quickly, cos getting that tangled up woulda put him in the kak properly.
After a few waves on the head he managed to lift himself up outta the slipway and jump off the other side into Hummies itself. And still had to deal with a few rinse and spin cycles in the impact zone before getting safely back to the beach. Meanwhile his board had taken a battering through the slipway, and had finally come loose and made it's way to shore in 2 pieces.
It's a small price to pay to come out of a gnarly situation with only your board bust. Beats a bust-up body anytime. Dennis can fix the board but not your bod.
Sebastian's an experienced surfer, so it just shows how quickly things can go wrong if a few elements combine together. He highlighted a few things that guys should be aware of on bigger days. Fitness is important, and if your fitness levels aren't were they should be, make sure you plan to get out whilst you still have some energy left in the tank, so that you can handle any curveballs the paddle-in may throw at you.
Understand the currents and rips at the spot you're surfing, and then make sure you have your exit point planned and know what you will have to deal with when you get there.
It's really tough to try fight the power of the current, and you can waste valuable energy doing so. If you've missed your exit spot, go to Plan B. Rather than trying to fight back towards it against the current, just turn round, paddle further out and follow the current down to the next exit spot. Rather end up a few 100m further down the beach than planned than a trip over the rocks. Worst case scenario? You end up at Kings Beach. So what - it's just a bit of an extra to walk back to the car.
Sabo came out unscathed cos he kept a calm head - got rid of his leash quickly and sacrificed his board instead of his body. Overall it was a happy ending to a heavy situation.
Don't think it can't happen to you. Sabo's a good surfer, and he got caught out. When the surf's big, stay 100% focused until your feet hit the sand.
Check out the shots from Saturday's sessions here <Latest Shots>