Featured

Heavy Plant

Walk past a "Heavy Plant" warning and wonder vaguely if the trees thought it was for them; if whoever put it up had enough imag...

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Weekend body boarding

When we moved from our last pad we bought a fair amount of kit from Loopy Lou, our affable but bonkers landlady. This included 2 used but serviceable body boards. Naturally as we live on a pretty good surf break we have been trying them out.

Maroubra bay from aboveThis is an enterprise not without its' hazards as the swell off the ocean comes straight into Maroubra. It gets fairly big and there can be a lot of white water to get through (if you have google earth installed on your PC click on the image to get go to the place marker).

The Sunday before last we had a great afternoon mucking about in the surf which was a fairly consistent 2-3 feet. Due to the physics of waves one in every few is much bigger than the waves around it having been amplified. This means that fun 2-3 foot waves can frequently include a 4-5 footer that can catch you completely unawares. The usual side effect of not spotting this wave until it's a bit too late is that you get completely wiped out by it. Just as you are recovering from the near inevitable drubbing the waves behind the monster normally hit you (they say here that it's the fourth wave that kills you, I have only ever been hit by 2 at time but I am not gong to get complacent). Whilst this sounds terrifying, in practice you don't actually have much time to be scared and self-preservation takes over.

We had had 2 good hours of catching waves pretty easily and not getting hit by anything. At about 5pm the waves started to get a bit bigger but I hadn't really noticed. In fact I didn't really notice anything more than a bit of a bumpy ride until I reached the beach and turned round to see Emily get sucked into the top of a 5 foot wall of water, which then fell on her. The two waves behind it predictably did their worst and she got out of the sea hyperventilating and shaking. Game over.

Unperturbed this Sunday we went out into a much bigger swell with 2 guys who've been doing this for 16 years or more. Using a current to get behind the breakers we soon found ourselves in what Coastalwatch described as a 3 foot swell. Beg to differ, by about another foot. Whilst this may be an illusion created by the fact that when you are in the trough of a wave it looks twice as big as it is, it was a pretty convincing illusion.

This was fun for a while, even restfull, watching big blue and green mountains roll underneath you. I will confess to being a bit scared by how far out we were but soon realised that we were pretty safe, as far as shark bait goes. Catching the first wave in proved pretty easy, the damn thing was so powerful you didn't need to do much to get it. Em got hit by it, and then the two behind it. It is a reassuring testament to human resilience that she got out of the water in one piece. Scared but otherwise unhurt. It took us a while to pluck up the courage to go back in.

This time Emily catches the wave, then gets hit. I get hit twice and then catch a wave. This time though there is a difference, the lifeguard is watching. The net result is a bollocking for not knowing what we're doing (exacerbated by our English accents no-doubt). It's a fair cop guv'. That night lying in bed I can still clearly feel the waves rolling under me. Closing my eyes results in flashbacks of breaking waves. Not the most restful night's sleep I've had. Still, I would happily go for an hour or two of it now. It's 3am and I'm supposed to be playing tennis at 7.