Sunday, April 18, 2010

Step on the Gas (WA transmission #3)

"How big's your biggest board mate?"
"Um, 6'2"
"OK, I'm bringing down my entire quiver, so there's a bigger board for you and we've got some spares, we should be on for Grunters or big Gas"
Now I know for a fact that Krede has a few 6'6" and 6'8" semi guns in his rack, plus a few boards that are 7' plus for when North Point is breaking (the sort with tails so pointy that it looks like somebody made a mistake at the factory and put fin plugs in the nose). I want nothing to do with this, but keep quiet.
Grunters is a wave that breaks a fair way out and moves ALOT of water, the thing is pretty much backless. It looks ok from the top of the bluff, even kind of friendly, but by the time you've paddled out and have to duckdive through one you realise just how heavy it is and just how much you've underestimated it. It's the full board-breaker.
Gas is an identikit version of it's near neighbour The Box, 2km to the north. It comes out of deep water and hits a shallow shelf, drawing water off the reef in front of it. Below head high the wave pretty much trips over itself and the curve of the face is so concentrated that it's only really rideable by our lie-down cousins on their squishies, and over head high it gets intimidating. To make this wave you have to take off behind the peak and run through the barrel; taking off on the peak or out on the shoulder seem like an easier option until you find yourself being pitched outwards and downwards headfirst with force towards the shallows. Like I said, intimidating.
Thankfully, this day didn't quite live up to the hype - the swell had a bit too much south in it and wasn't wrapping onto the coast properly so I was spared a paddle out at Grunters, and Gas was in the "manageable" overhead range. So there I was sat out at Gas taking the odd wave and not messing up too bad, a few of the locals sat a bit further out waiting for the bigger sets, and I take a look around me. I'm surrounded by 12 year olds. All of a sudden I don't feel like I'm ruling it quite so much as I watch a tiny blonde kid spin around super late and, after 3 paddles, air drop into a wave that is enormous in comparison to all 4ft of him. He disappears from view as the lip pitches out, only to hop over the back way off down the line with poise and style way beyond his years. Keep your eyes out for a kid called Jack Robinson, that boy is going places. Me? I pretty much rode my next wave all the way in, got out and walked up the beach.
Top: A sunset drainer coming through at Gas Reef, Gnarabup, WA, with just one lucky guy left out there.
Second from top: Inside Grunters. It looks nice huh? It ain't.
Third from top: Dino Adrian getting all Larry Layback on the end-section at Karates, Gracetown, WA.
Bottom: Study this one carefully kids. This is how to come off the top, a textbook demonstration by Scott Jardine-Hargraves at Karates.

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