A bit of a delayed post on this, but still fresh in my mind – so why the hell not.
During the first week of January I had my eyes steadily focused on Magicseaweed, which was predicting some insane summer swells for the Strand area on the 5th of January. When the day finally arrived the weather was crazy, it was in the 30s but the wind was swift from the south east, a nice offshore steady breeze and large cumulonimbus clouds battled for dominance with the sun. With a swell forecast of 11-14 feet, I was definitely not missing out. I threw my board and camera equipment in the car and headed down to Strand, solo.
Upon arriving the ocean was unreal, complete and utter chaos, while at the same time being surfable. The offshore wind meant that there was some hollow break, while at the same time the swell was at times too large to sustain its shape in the shallow waters. Silkies was not working yet, but Dakkies and Pipe were going off. I quickly threw on my wetsuit and entered into the water near Dakkies, struggling to get out a bit with the wave intervals being less than 7 seconds at times. The break was big and messy, but there were some solid rights which broke into some sick barrels.
At the time I was healing a recently busted couple of ribs (still healing actually), and after catching a few waves I was in too much pain to continue and retreated back to the shore to put on the photographer hat. I tried to do some shooting at Pipe, but the break was too big and the beach too low to catch anything behind the whitewash shallower in, as the wind whipped the tops off each wave. While scouting it out I had a surfboard getting tossed around in the water come towards me, and saw that a surfer in the distance had his leash snap (damn Strand, that’s unlike you – come’n now) – so after helping retrieve it for the poor guy, I then made a mission back towards Dakkies and Silkies.
On the walk back I saw a few swells that pulled through with insane size, less of a thick break and more just a large wall at a 45 degree angle moving towards the beach.
Silkies was picking up a bit now and while empty earlier on, was now beginning to see the bodyboarders arrive in masses. Though to be honest the break wasn’t too great, the waves were coming in at odd angles and they weren’t holding up too nicely, but they were a decent 2-3 foot and hollow enough to get yourself covered and then slammed into the beautiful shallow sands. Guys were still busting out quite big though, with rolls and a few ARS attempts. At that point I was wishing my ribs didn’t feel as though someone had taken a sledge hammer to them.
While a lot of people go out seeking 6 to 8 footers, I love just heading down the road and enjoying the fun of Strand.