Sitting In The Lineup

With the swell holding steady overnight and light winds for the past couple of days, I knew there would be some descent surf at a local break after a stint of onshore and large, unsuitable swells. This beach is a wild one. The elements really need to align for there to be a surfable bank. Often it will be too big to surf or if it’s of descent size the currents and rips will tire you- to the point of you arms feeling like noodles.

Walking over the dunes with the feathering offshore wind gently blowing behind me, I am greeted with a 4-6 foot swell and a long peeling left hander far into the distance. Putting my wetsuit on, I feel such a wave of adrenaline as excitement flows through me; I become clumsy dropping things, not being able to zip my wetsuit up properly and completely forgetting to lock the car as I’m rushing to get down to the waters edge.As I’m jogging down the beach I’m watching incredible waves roll in from right out the back of the break to the shoreline. Keeping my gaze focused and assessing the oceans behaviour, I watch where the rips lie, which way the currents pull, how the sand banks are formed and how the waves are breaking in accordance to the beach.

With the shortbreak approaching, I quickly sprint down and leap over the white water, past the wave just as it is about to hit the sand bottom. I’ve chosen the deepest part of the channel to paddle through as I figured I can use the rip as an escalator to the back and save my arms the paddle. Stroke after stroke, I’m watching perfect cylinder barrels crashing to the left of me. My mind surfing each one of them, with that rush of adrenaline still coursing through me. Reaching the point, I slow my paddle and start looking towards the shore for beacons or terrain that is on the beach so I can position myself exactly where I want. I find a little rutledge in the sand dunes and align myself sitting slightly to the right of it and wait for the first set to roll in. Hopefully mine for the taking.

Sitting in the lineup, I admire how crystal clear the water is and how surprisingly warm for this time of year. In the distance I see some swell bumps and lay flat on my board and begin to reassess my positioning, paddling slightly forward I see the set approaching, a little too late for the first wave I think to myself as I decide to force my board underneath it to duckdive the throwing lip of the wave. I surface. My paddling rate increases and the second wave approaches. I turn facing the direction of the beach and start paddling into it with ease. This one was going to be late take off, I was sure of it.

I feel the wave pick me up and as I’m looking straight down, I carefully judge the right time to spring to my feet. The wave curls and steepens to barrel, I get to my feet and instantly grab the rail of my board. Sliding down the face and the fins lightly slipping out from underneath me. The wave is so steep, it is incredible! I make it to the bottom and shift my weight forward. Looking to the left as the wave starts walling up to barrel. Positioning myself slightly higher on the face of the wave I try gather some speed and, as the lip of the wave pitches, I find my self completely engulfed by the wave. Being inside the barrel of a wave I’m sure is a different experience for everyone. For me it’s as if time stands still. When the wave throws its lip over, it is complete silence. Absolutely no sound. When breaching the barrel, my senses return to normal. It’s like your entire mind is focused on making that tube, and nothing else. 

Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel slowly getting dimmer and dimmer, the mist from the foam crashing behind me spits me out in one breath. The wave decides that was enough for me. The feeling of that experience is one that I can’t even try to describe, I could never do it justice. It’s addictive, it’s one that makes you keep on coming back for more, time and time again. Surfing conditions where you are somewhat out of your comfort zone, where it’s bigger than you expected or heavier than what it looked like from the shore teaches you something. Not only about yourself but mother nature. I always felt that its an amazing thing that this mound of energy traveled for thousands of kilometers from a storm so far away, and when it decided to break on Australia’s coastline it decided to be exactly where I was waiting for it. When I surf these types of waves I feel like everything is the way it’s supposed to be. This wave came to me, was surfed by me, and will never be surfed again. Something truly amazing, mystical and inspiring. 
Bart Bara

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