Yesterday was officially flat. The waves at Millers were barely reaching shin high. It was 5pm. I'd made the mistake of taking John's word that sunset was after 5.30pm and you could surf til 5.45pm. I was desperate. Long day stuck behind the computer without so much as moving a muscle.
Days like those you need salt water through your gills to start your brain firing again. Shake out the numb arms from 10 straight hours of mouse moving. Nothing like consistent computer work to give you all sorts of exciting repetitive strain type neural afflictions. Kiff when your fingers have gone numb....not.
No amount of staring out the window seemed to be miraculously lifting the swell into something ridable. so much for that. Nonetheless, brain oozing out of ears needed some form of repair, and salt water it was.
By the time I ran onto the sand at Millers the sun was already just about to drop behind the horizon, so much for John's 5.30 sunset, more like 5.10! But the shadows it cast on the sand as I ran up the point were pretty cool. I got out to the backline with about 4 minutes to spare, and saw a really cool sunset. Always better when viewed from the water.
Nother cool thing happens when you out there after sunset, you're suddenly part of the evening food chain. All of a sudden little fish are popping up all around you, and somethimes not so little one's. Gets the heart racing nicely when something largish surfaces a coupla feet away. Even better when you see something significantly more than large, and possibly with teeth, leap out the water at Chomp Rock. Quick calculation takes place to see how long you reckon it'd take to get to where you're at and if you should paddle in. Hmm, probably a half a minute max. Not worth scurrying in. If it wants to nibble on you it will. Rule no1 tends to be what you see doesn't bite you, generally...
I managed to stand on exactly 2 "waves", one a shin high racer that I managed to pump along for about 30m, another about knee high that I could squeeze out a top turn and closeout maneuverer on. So there, if you stand it counts as a surf. I stood therefore I surfed.
Got out after only being in for 15 minutes cos it was getting too dark and I was a bit spooked by the large toothy looking fish that's leaped out at Chomp Rock. But damn, did I feel a million times better. That's why we surf, it makes us feel good.
So it doesn't matter if it looks flat, chances are you'll at least be able to stand up on something if you sit out there long enough. Just lower your standards! Plus water through your gills is a guaranteed happy pill, waves or no waves.
Remember, all it takes is a wave a day to keep ya happy....
If you've ever tried to surf Millers in a small east swell on spring high tide you'll know exactly what I mean. Have to pump your board to death to even get it to move along the wave, let alone try generate some speed.
An east swell is soooo deceptive on the high - looks good from far, but far from good (other than if you're at Pipe). Lines roll in from behind Chomp Rock - which on any normal day would turn into decent shoulder high peaks along the point. But nah, the east swell mirage gets you for a fool each time. That same swell line that went over chomp only breaks when it's like 5m from the beach. Frustration.
But, it could be worse. You could be out there on your the virgin surf of your brand new board. Couldn't think of less auspicious conditions for a new boards first surf - but Craig Cuff reckoned it was worth a shot! He'd just taken delivery of THREE brand new boards. Just when I thought he'd won the lotto - turns out they were part of his prize from Zag - remember he won the new subscriber award. Not only boards, but a trip to Indo nogal.
Despite the kak conditions he ripped his new 6'0. Maybe the cool "silver surfer" spray job has something to do with it. Does the "silver surfer" have anything to do with his grey hair? Craig - tell us the story....
Had some mate's visiting us over the weekend who're from Aus. Met them on one of our Maldives boat trips. Got given such a cool gift - a Quik peak signed by Kelly Slater, Tom Curren, Martin Potter and Mick Fanning - he got it whilst at the Snapper ASP event. Sweet! Hoping some of their magic rubs off if I wear it!
Speaking of Kelly, he grew up surfer kakker waves than PE, yet went on to became a multiple world champ - so come on groms, no excuses - east swell or not. He's still the best surfer in the world despite heading towards baalie -hood. He's entitled to blitz ou's half his age in heats.
The Foot and Wayne Monk did the same this weekend, 2 older ou's who took 1st n 2nd in the SA Champs this weekend. No disrespect to the level of their surfing, but not sure what it says about the standard of our surfing right now if guys over the age of 35 are walking away with the title? C'mon lighties, step up!
Well done to the E.P team for getting a credible 3rd (outta 8 sides), specially to Nick who took out the u20's, followed by Steve and Dylan. Congrats also to Faye and Emma for their 3rd n 4th slots in the u20 girls.
Sea anemones. Millers has them by the bucket load. You only see hundreds of the lil critters when you walk out over the reef at low tide. There's so many of them it's kind of hard not to step on them. Which makes you feel guilty. I mean, it seems kind of cruel to just go stomp on something like that. So you try and avoid them, but then you do your ankle in whilst mid-way through an anemone avoidance maneuverer.
So then you go, stuff it, I'll just walk right on over the buggers. But then there's still that niggling feeling in the back of your head that's it's animal cruelty on a microscopic scale. Like you wouldn't think kicking your dog is cool, so why would squashing an anemone be any more acceptable?
Do these squishy ou's have lil Gath helmets hidden under their tentacles, to protect their pip from random stompings? In a moment of extreme work avoidance behaviour on the return from my surf this evening I decided to suss out the red devils in more detail.
Turns out they don't have a brain. Strike 1 for the "Feel no guilt for standing on them" column. Even better, they have a really primitive nervous system. Strike 2. With no special sense organs. Strike 3. So there we have it folks, stand on them to your hearts content, they don't seem to give a shit! No brain = no pain.
Ag shame, you say. Maybe we're breaking their leg or arm or tentacle or whatever. Nup, no skeleton either. Now that you look at it I'm not to sure why on earth these poor things even bother to exist. They can't think, or feel, or really move for that matter. They don't even score a pomp to alleviate their boring existence. They just sommer spew the sperm or eggs out their mouth and then hope for the best.
So there we have it, maybe standing on them is the highlight of their day - so don't feel bad!
(Millerslocal doesn't advocate deliberately standing on sea anenomes, just don't lose sleep over it if you do.)
C'mon, you've all experienced right? Whether you have to get out the water to get to work, or cos your mom's now the moering with you and about to drive off and leave you behind, or cos it's getting dark or cos the conditions have gone to crud....we've all been stuck out there waiting for that last wave in.
And yrrr, sometimes it just refuses to come. How often don't you hook a pretty good wave - which you should make your last wave in, but because it was so fun our "just one more" voice wins the day and we paddle back out for another.
But boy, do you then get punished for that decision. Properly.
The wave that'll propel you homeward just refuses to arrive. You stare at the horizon, but nothing. Or maybe something does pop up, but then it's not your turn cos you're the end of the queue, having just paddled back out from your last wave.
Often you'd already decided you should be getting in cos the conditions are deteriorating so much - which is why now in retrospect you kick yourself for not making that last wave your real last wave. It's hard to get a last wave in if there're now no waves.
But you can't paddle in. It's against the rules. Absolutely. Totally. If you paddle in you will get punished. Neptune will look up at you and go "Traitor", and pencil your name onto his seaweed notepad. For that unforgivable transgression you'll be cursed with cutting your foot on a rock on your way out, getting to your car to find someone's broken into it, having your board blow off the roof on your way back home...and then get home to discover your dog, cat, girlfriend, wife,or budgie has left you. Yes, Neptune gets the moering if you show such disrespect, and his reach is far and wide.
Your next surf will be dogged by rail catches, getting sucked over the falls, landing on your fins and generally having a totally kak session. Payback time by the man with the spiky garden fork.
So never, ever, paddle in cos you get tired of waiting for that last wave in. Sit there, even if it takes 40 minutes, or it's gone dark. It's OK, sharks can't see you in the dark. The fact that you can't see the approaching set is another issue all together. Then it lands on your head and you get washed in. But at least you didn't paddle in.
Tough it out, that's part of the game, part of the price you have to pay to be called a surfer. You paddle in, what are you then, a paddler?
The crazy season draws to a close. The glut of public holidays is behind us at last. The crowds that have over-run JBay, Seals and SFB for the last 2 weeks at last pack their cars (and their SUP's) and head off back to wherever they came from. Good riddance we say!
Seals had some super ridiculously over-crowded days, almost worse that the December crowds actually. Things got a bit heated in the water at times, plenty hussling and the odd burn, but everyone still got there waves. The guys that braved the gale-force days still reckon they scored some good waves in amongst the wind ravaged creases. Gotto be committed to paddle out when it's blowing like that. Those are the days when your board comes back at you at a thousand miles an hour and pings you between the eyes. Did see the odd bleeding pip wondering about forlornly.
Towards the end of last week the banks at Seals decided to light up, after being dormant for much of the holidays. An insane left threw up gaping barrels down towards Lookout. The type that were so big that ou's like Simon Fish and Donovan Zoetmulder where standing straight up with their arms outstretched and getting locked in for the ride of their lives.
Kody McGregor was out there doing his best against the crazy rip to try get some shots of the ou's from the water. I had it far easier standing on the verge and shooting straight into the barrel. There was an equally ridiculous right peeling off from the rocks in the corner. Heart in your mouth drops followed by a super fast, but makeable, barrel. The Hill brothers, Shaun Payne & Simon Paton were amongst the happy punters trading shacks.
Everything comes at a price though. The ocean gives waves, but demands fiberglass in return. If your name ended in "o" you were going to pay. Jonno had his nose eaten at the right, Dono walked back from the left with just his tail.
Saturday heralded the last day of west, and the last of the waves. Bruces had some inconsistent, but fun, sets. Hullets left dished up 1.5 overhead walls and Seals did it's thing most of the day - complete with 45 peeps vying for waves.
Yesterday arvie at Huletts there were a few SUP's infesting the line-up as usual, but one ou took the cake. Actually he took the whole bakery, bugger the cake. Let's admit that there is absolutely nothing cool about SUP'ing. Most ou's look like complete dorks wobbling on outsized boards sticking their asses in the air whilst trying catch a wave (and mow down everyone in the line-up in the process).
This ou decided to take uncool to a whole new level though. Out he came with his Gath helmet with full face black visor!...at Huletts! Darth Vader on a SUP!!
You have more chance of dinging your pip out by falling on the slipway before you paddle out, so why on earth you need a Gath out there is beyond understanding, and then add to that a full face visor. Dork alert!!! Maybe he thought his paddle doubled as a light saber too? Anyway, he spent his session falling off the thing, so maybe that's what it was for - so he didn't hurt his head when he fell onto his own board....
Only Laird Hamilton can SUP with any semblence of cool - cos he's out there charging 10ft cloudbreaks, not 2ft peelers in amongst 20 other surfers. Horses for courses. Does anyone out there putt with a driver.....?
(With apologies to Craig Cuff who can actually stylishly maneuver a SUP - one of very, very few people round here who can).