The winter is slowly coming to an end and the fierce Southern Ocean storms are becoming less and less consistent. However it’s not all over yet. A few weeks ago we were lucky enough to have Huey throw up a couple of big swells for us to roll the dice on down the south coast.
With excitement levels through the roof and froth literally pouring from our mouths, we packed the cars and skis. Ahead three hours of windy, hilly and treacherous roads. Lined with tall pale Karri trees and countless suicidal roo’s. We made the almost mandatory stops in the small town of Manjimup to top up on snacks, caffeine and fuel.
The first of the swells was a pure carnage session. With the waves being from slightly the wrong direction there were a lot of closeouts, which made for an entertaining day watching from the channel. Not so much being the surfer. I don’t think I’d ever seen anyone get as punished as Jake Osman that day. It seemed every wave he got sent him straight to the depths of Davey Jones locker.
”It turned out to be a hairy session, even though it wasn’t a big day for this wave it handed me some of the most violent beatings I’ve had out there. We had surfed here a few weeks earlier, and I copped a couple of beatings that day as well, so I wasn’t sure what was going with me. I think I made one wave from around seven or eight. I was slightly tripping, you don’t know what’s going on when you’re out the back waiting, and you can tend to get in your head a bit with the long waits, I knew the swell was to south for it, but I kept convincing myself I would get one keeper.
Jake on a keeper. Pic Thridlink
The first real beating I got was at the start of the session, I remember seeing the swell coming in, and we were up, it was looking solid for the day’s conditions and looked like it was lining up nice. I remember letting go of the rope, I was sitting behind the peak and lining what I thought was going to be a good one, time slows down and your mind starts processing things a lot quicker, but things turned south quick when I saw the peak I was about to backdoor not open up and instead turn into whitewash. It was bizarre, all of sudden I was heading straight into 10-feet of whitewash. So, I hit the eject button and tried to pierce through the bottom of the wave. I didn’t quite make it under though and felt myself become weightless; you know shits about to get real when you feel that. It’s a second of nothing before getting thrown into the thick of it. I just got ragged dolled through the whitewash. This one felt like I was thrown to the ground than laid into by a bunch of weak boys ha-ha bit of damage but nothing too serious”.
The next serious wipe-out I got was similar to previous one, everything was lining up nicely to be a good one and just as I was about to scoop up into the tube it decided to only barrel at the very top of the wave so I tried to re-adjust and draw a higher line but it was too late, I scooped to hard and ended up going to high and getting ejected off my board, I remember unintentionally landing feet first but then getting slung down and slapping the side of my head hard on the face of the wave followed by getting sucked over with wave and sent deep. I came up seeing white, dizzy, having a severe headache and disorientated. I should have pulled the pin then but I didn’t, I was slightly desperate to get at least one decent one, I wasn’t even sure there were any up for grabs, but I was stubborn to get one.
We go and pick up my board and almost get another instantly, it was a deep-tow on a south swell, which meant I had no chance from the beginning, I make a late decision to try and carve and go back left, I wasn’t keen on copping another close out. I then realized I wasn’t going to be able to get away from the left either, so I decided to try eject and see if I could pin drop my way to safety. But as I jumped and looked down I could see my board directly beneath me; I just remember thinking “of fucking course, my board is directly underneath me.” I landed on the board on my arse and rode it for about two seconds before the wave sucked me back into its mouth, up the face to the top, and I just dropped from the lip down again, shitting the whole time the board was going to smack me. I hit the bottom of the wave with the lip and got sent deep. I popped back up and decided it was time to throw in the towel”. (Jake Osman)
Jake in for a bum ride. Pic Thridlink
When Sillsy jumped on the rope for his first wave my poor judgment led to him being far too deep on a horrible south peak with nowhere to go. What appeared to be the entire Southern Ocean came down on him. He was gone… I spent what felt like minutes anxiously searching the white water for any sign of him.
Eventually he popped up, looking like a ninja turtle with his life vest inflated. Coughing up blood I could hear him mumbling ”I can’t hear anything both my ears feel like they have blown”. His garbled voice effectively summing up the entire session, carnage.
Sillsy with impending doom. Pic Thridlink
A few days later and it’s on again but conditions seem to be slightly better. We arrive at the backpackers late that night to hear Henry blew a bearing on his trailer half way down.
There was no way they were going to miss out because of a bearing blow out. Not if Jake had anything to say about it. He drove two hours back up the road with an empty trailer and picked up the stranded ski. The next early morning, I’m first into the ocean and there’s a couple of mental bombs coming through. While I wait for the other guys to get here I think ‘I may as well try paddle some on my boog’ problem is. Although I’m enthusiastic and in most cases able to get myself over the ledge. I’m not great at bodyboarding. I managed make one sick one before the other guys turn up.
As they arrive we spread out in the line up, its my turn, its a bomb and boys are watching. I have to go! Paddling and kicking as hard as I can I think I’m in the spot… Nope, I’m just in the lip.
Everything slows down as I feel weightless for a few long seconds.
BAM, its like I’ve just been hit by a truck, flippers flying off, leash snaps and I’m being rattled into oblivion.
Pretty much just the standard wipeout . Except this time I feel like there’s hot knife being plunged into my knee. That’s me done, so I just sit and watch the rest of the day. Everyone is getting absolutely shacked with perfect 10-12ft waves and a clean offshore.
Somehow making one on the BodyBoard. Pic Thridlink
For the 3rd time in two weeks we strike gold with another swell lined up to be looking good. This journey sees Jake broken down on the side of the road. It’s now Henry’s turn to repay the favour and come rescue Jake and his ski. First up it’s another freezing ride out across the inlet with the a cold blasting wind making your eyes water and hands go numb.
Finally we arrived in the channel and see a couple of bombs exploding, spitting their guts out onto us as we sit in the channel.
The pain in my knee was excruciating from my escapades paddling a sponge. However unable to stop myself in these awesome conditions we traded waves all morning and with only a few guys at one of the heaviest slabs in the world, I’m not sure it can get any better.
Me lining one up on the bung knee. Pic Slatter
”That Monday session was my favourite session ever at The Right. Even when we got to Tracy’s there was a nice buzz around the place, everyone rocking up with their ski’s and a bit of general chatter about what the waves were going to be doing the next day. I had a nice little red wine to calm the nerves and a pretty nice sleep which is pretty rare for when I’m gonna surf The Right the next day. We got up at 5ish and started doing a breathing/stretching session before getting suited up, as soon as we got out of the room Tim was interviewing us for his Insta and we were all laughing and talking shit, it was super nice to be there and not be taking it too seriously. When we got out there, it was pretty inconsistent but after we watched Rudi get a couple then the boys got out there. I drove for Trent (Slatter) for about 3 hours and by the end of that I was desperate to get a wave and try my new tow board for the first time. My best wave I thought I was gonna be too deep, but wanted to go anyway just in case, Jake saw that I was still holding the rope and gave me an extra boost right when I needed it which gave me so much speed coming into it. I basically just angled my board down a little because the wave was sucking pretty hard, then I just stood there and got the biggest barrel of my life. It almost looks fake when you’re watching it suck up in front of you, it’s incredible. I came off at the end but didn’t get too smashed, just a quick couple of backflips.. haha. It was the perfect day where everyone got what they wanted out of it and we were absolutely buzzing when we came in, and for a good few days after.” (Tim Nathan)
Tim in the honey hole. Pic Slatter
A few days later and limping around, I went to get my knee checked out – A crack on the head of the fibula!!!! Ha ahhh, probably shouldn’t have surfed on it but what it was worth it. Now for a couple of weeks of unbearable rest and no waves. I hope I don’t miss out on too many good days.
On the seahorse. Pic Slatter