A tale of how good sessions can go bad, by Jason Kalogeropoulos.
(JK was ID'd by his mate Richard von Wildemann as the "mystery dude" mentioned in the Big Thursday blogpost that got dragged through the pier).
Jason takes us through what happened:
"Paddling out at Millers is a walk in the park. Swimming at Hobie is like swimming in the Caribbean. Not. The ocean always has a way of bringing you back down to size. After awesome sizey waves at Millers, and battling the relentless rip for about an hour, it was time to head in (around sunset). I caught a wave down to Hobie that just walled and then mutated into a monster shorey.
I bailed on the wave and managed to dodge the full weight of the lip, but my board wasn't so lucky. I can't be sure but the top-to-bottom ton of water must have been the culprit that snapped my board clean in half.
After a decent hold-down, I surfaced only to see the carnage that had been left behind........so that's what the inside of my board looks like.
Oh wait, the rip!!!!
The rip was hectic, and IN the water, it's more hectic than ON the water. First thought was: leave the front half of the board, but no chance I am losing my fins and leash too, so I tried to swim in with half a board still leashed to me.
Now that's easier said than done. Half a board doesn't float as well as a whole board so each time a wave worked me over, the board wasn't surfacing, meaning it was like trying to swim out a lifesavers reel in the monster rip.
Before I knew it, I am washing up against the pier, all the while trying to swim a board in that felt more like an anvil.
Next issue: right, I've now come to terms with the fact that I am going to go through the pier (between 3rd and 4th pillar).....now try not to tear the wetsuit. This could turn into a really expensive surf.
Ok, I get through with no real issues (no tears in the suit) and am now in the washing machine on the other side.....mmmm Kentucky smells nice......FOCUS!!! Either I turn this into a really long "drift" down to Humewood or I get rid of the leash and fins and half a board and get back to Hobie. Off with the leash, bye bye board.
Moving a little easier now, I managed to sneak back onto one of the pillars of the pier and hid in the shadow of the waves while King Neptune threw one last set at me.
Once the set was done, it was a quick dive back onto the Hobie Beach side, a max interval swim for 10 or 15 strokes and then safely back onto the beach.
Thanks to Mark Jucker for collecting the front part of my board and Luke McNish for helping me find the bottom half. At least I have my fins and leash!!"
ML - Thanks to Richard von Wildemann for ID'ing his mate Jason as the "mystery dude" getting washed through the pier in my blog post on Big Thursday. Richard reckons JK was calm as can be out there thanks to him being a waterman of note. Turns out Jason's a lifelong swimmer, holds the provincial record for butterfly, is a lifesaver, has won the PE to East London surfski race, and so is basically half fish! Just as well - helped him come out unscathed from what coulda been something more serious.