Lucky Roland and his Magical Swell-Gambling Act feat. Crafty Huey and his Selective Compass
It’s been flat for days.
Seriously. The weather’s been a bit weird lately. Lovely warm sunny days of gale-force westerlies, out of season but with a distinct trade-wind feel about it all. If only there was the typical 12-14second 3-4 day groundswell that usually comes with it. But nope, Huey is a cunning bloke indeed, well-known for his now-you-see-me, now-you-don’t magic disappearing act.
Ahhh Huey. Infamous also for not turning up to a gig at all. So yes, with Houdini in the closet, so to speak, the weather’s been getting little spooky.
The real gale is in South Australia at the moment. They are getting absolutely pillaged by a massive storm and the 60km westerly gusts here in NSW are the fledgling, prodigal spawn of some truly terrifying conditions in Adelaide. The SES is getting hammered and the news is full of cartoon-like floods. Poor blokes and their wives trying to sandbag the front door, as if the water hasn’t already made itself at home with a cup of tea and it’s feet on the coffee table. Wild shit!
The swell direction I was counting on was ridiculously acute, seemingly a geographical impossibility. How does a ‘west’ swell arrive on an eastern seaboard? Only when the storm that gave birth to it is SAVAGE. Maybe that better puts the disaster in SA in perspective.
Anyway I knew I wouldn’t be the only bloke who hedged his bets that the banks might be stir before sundown. Long-range swells from this direction are unfortunately a rarity to materialise at all. But the storms with real grunt have a quietly-known ability to turn this particular beach into a sand bottom point break, with some sections that can perform a fair impersonation of brother Lennox to the north.
Daylight savings has just started too. I’ve been hanging out for daylight savings. I don’t really get the chance for many dawnies with my profession - bleary-eyed tradies need coffee from 5:30am. So yep, I’ve been fucking STINGING for it.
So in summary so far. Flat for days, daylight savings and the potentially perfect swell. How the stars can align.
I arrived around five, knowing last light was at half-seven so I had a decent little session ahead of me. Nothing worse than racing the sunset. Except I guess racing towards a sick end section, starry-eyed with visions of sticking it like J-flo, then invariably fucking up in front of the local guy you were trying to impress.
I suited and waxed up in record time. Funny how you can rise to occasion, usually I fluff about for a bit. I don’t have any kids to lift a car off, but I guess as a surfer this is my equivalent of the mum with superwoman strength. Except my child is the swell and when it’s pumping I fucking leap into action.
Jumping in the water was absolutely magic. Me and Matty watched a screaming set arrive as we paddled out and just started hooting uncontrollably at the first peak that lumbered it’s way through. The guy on it was completely unprepared and stalled about 2m too early, out in the flats in front of the pocket. Needless to say he was upside down faster than you can say kookslams, leaving his board tombstoning helplessly as his gem rolled through to the inside, heaving its guts at the close, unridden.
“HOW WAS THE LUNGS ON THAT THING!!!!!”
It’s so funny how good surf can turn grown men into children, splashing about yelling excitedly and carrying on in the playground. Today was just epic. There were long waits, a signature of Huey’s trick as he hides almost out of sight, exposing himself only to a select few. He does it to increase suspense, to give everyone just enough time to get out before the next set arrives, maximising the competition and agitating those who have been waiting the longest.
Then, slowly and with long waits between peaks, meaty little wedges arrive and draw hard off the bank. The offshore puffs and inflates them into dredging bowls, that begin to section off one by one along a neatly groomed wall.
Each one balloons and spits and I feel like I’m watching God himself blow bubbles.
It’s amazing how recharging a session like this can be. Wave-starved and in need of some emotional sanctity, it was an incomparable opportunity to stitch up the loose ends of my being. Flopping down to my board after my last wave I grinned ear to ear until hitting the sand and rolling sloppily off my board, exhausted.
I know that most other beaches would have been pretty flat this afternoon, and there was such a slim chance of any waves arriving in during the daytime at all. With so many variables for a swell of such acute origin to actually materialise, the margins are so tight that even tiny errors can mean a swell comes in the evening instead of the afternoon, or simply rolls north straight past the heads without a passing glance.
What a score. I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off Lucky Roland, with his Magical Swell-Gambling Act feat. Crafty Huey and his Selective Compass.