Thursday, 22 January 2009

Big Wednesday! It’s story time…

anyone would be a bit scared wouldn't they!?

Yesterday Gwithian was hit by the biggest waves Ian Black thinks he’s ever seen there, not a statement taken lightly! As the 1 o’clock high tide dropped, by 3pm mast and a half high sets were walling up and breaking at the outside rock. I was glad of the camaraderie as we got prepared with a nervous excitement that doesn’t happen often, on a day where you’d want to think twice about going in alone. The butterflies were there, and didn’t stop! This was definitely the most memorable session I’ve had in a long while.

As I was about to launch I could just about see Blackie clearing a mast high set, and then the bigger one after it…The wind was pretty good, SSW’ly, powered up enough on 4.7/5.0. Timing and patience was everything. There were some situations I definitely didn’t want to find myself in today in the cold sea and air. But prepared and up for it this challenge was to be met. The good thing about the size was the period really was high, and although on the inside you would just be drifting much of the time there was plenty of room for a chicken gybe when you saw a 15ft face wall up ahead about to close out along the bay. Gwithian lets you out. The sets were regular enough and you could find 30-40 seconds of eerie calm around the impact zone, just some peeling at logo high to deal with, and hopefully catch a gust and tear well out the back.
I took a lot more time than usual lining up, watching Blackie take two waves, finding an exit to kick off and get back out unscathed. Planing in at one stage I watched mast and a half high sets throw just down the beach from where I was, I gybed, wondering if I really was out the back enough! The one wave I took walled up nice and smoothly. Over my shoulder I couldn’t see anything bigger; I wanted to take it all the way in anyway. There was so much more time positioning as the face gradually grew and I accelerated. Racing down into the bottom turn, it threw top to bottom just behind me. Carrying speed up into a big long face I made sure I held the carve around the top of the wall and flew back down and out of harms way as 100m of it closed out. Boom! From near silence to such a thundering noise. During the next attempts out I got caught awkwardly in a lull and let a head high throwing lip try to put the tail of my board through the top of my leg! Pretty stunned I managed to get back in, Blackie helping with my gear. I couldn’t even lift my leg! Gutted! Carrying myself up the cliff badly bruised I sat in the car watching the two of them; Steve Colesby had joined in. The rain was still relentless and the wind chilled the hands. There were no major swims and Blackie found one that connected all the way in, laying down warp speed turns one after the next. Very smooth and impressive.
They came in just before dark. Barely another soul in sight, no cameras or video, just the three of us, a memorable afternoon!

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