I got real emotional that day. Really deep and spiritual. I felt like Rasta with the dolphins. I came out of those tubes a better person… and hungry for another one. I was getting so into it. You could just stand there and let it all happen around you. You’ve got so much room and so much time in there. There’s times that day where I could have got deeper and been more in more critical spots, but I had so many that I was just standing there. The wind was coming up the face on that one and I just put my hand out in front of me to feel it. Totally at peace. It was just about the best day of waves I’ve ever had… and it was at home.
When I woke up that morning I didn’t have a clue we were going to get waves like that. We’d surfed five hours of perfect Kirra the day before and were pretty keen to back it up, but we didn’t have a clue what was coming. I knew it was big, that was all. It wasn’t dumb luck though that we got it on, we thought about it a bit. I woke up at 5am that morning and rang through and heard the wind was northwest up the coast, which is perfect for this place. Back in Cooly though the wind was southeast. I woke up and rang Louie and asked, “What’s happening? It’s south-east but it’s supposed to be north-west.” At my house it was just getting light and I could see to the south there were the biggest, darkest clouds, but when I looked to the north I could see this thin blue line on the horizon. That was the edge of the system, and on the other side the wind was northwest. I rang Deano and he was onto it, and I rang Louie and said we’re going. Louie had rang Mike Perry and asked, “What’s going on, is it north-west up there?” And he goes, “It’s north-west up there.” Louie’s at my place a few minutes later and we’re off.
It didn’t look real when we got there. It looked like this wave park, big peaks all over the place. It was a shifty lineup, but it was like towing into Sunset – big and slow moving, and you could position yourself really well. You could just line up the barrels and start toying with them because they were so perfect.
It’s a deepwater rivermouth, and there’s a really gnarly undercurrent. There’s so much water moving round out there. The river’s pouring out through there, and the water doesn’t stop moving. It’d be a really easy wave to drown on as I found out.
That was the hold down on the big throaty one. Shocked the shit out of me. Broke my board and I had a big cord and started climbing it. I was under for ages and it was that turbulent down there. I got to my board and it was broken and I reached out and grabbed the jagged broken fibreglass and just sliced up my hand, and then I went down again. I scrambled back up to the surface and got, like, a little pump breath in, just a quick one, and then the next one destroyed me. I had to just relax and let it do with me what it wanted. I came up from that one Louie was right there and he could see it I was fully spooked. I remember him yelling at me, “Take your leggie off!” I got on the sled seeing stars, and he got me out of the impact zone and into the channel. I was just drooling like a baby. I was still rattled. The thing cruelled me.
But I didn’t do a turn all day. Hang on, three cutbacks I did. We’d been out there since 7.30, and at about 11 I did my last turn. I went, we’re staying out here until the fuel runs out, so I wasn’t going for any manoeuvres to conserve energy. I shouldn’t have been out there on me 6’2” though. My board was humming. I needed a 6’6”, then I would’ve been back deeper in ‘em. My board wouldn’t go fast enough to get deep. Now looking back at the photos, I so should’ve been deeper. What was I doing? I shouldn’t complain though, should I? It was like a dreamscape… big and round and not that far from home.