It was 4 weeks between Shortboard and Longboard titles so the next day after Bells I was back onto my longboard until my return from Perth. I had twisted my knee 5days before Bells and was on anti inflammatory tablets until the contest was over; it was unbelievable how well they worked. Now back on the mal just riding small waves mainly practising nose riding and not doing too many turns it was the same as my short board bottom turns were ok and even a re-entry if it was right, but as soon as I tried to recover a manoeuvre by drawing the board back in line, the pain started so I’d just jump off. One morning I surfed Gunna 3-5ft with a real sucky takeoff, each bottom turn I would lay into as if you are going to do big re-entry and just straighten out along the face of the wave it was incredible just going straight feeling all that power in the wave.
We had decided to leave a week early fly to Broome and then drive down the coast to Perth not just to surf but mainly to see the scenery which was pretty incredible. As it turned out Cable beach was like Port Philip bay 1ft onshore rubbish although there were 2 guys out not really getting anything worth the effort. The swell was only 2ft and 20 knots on shore at the Blowholes just near the King Waves Kill sign so we decided the 1½ hour one-way drive into the Red Bluff Gnaraloo area wouldn’t be worth it especially seeing our hire car wasn’t supposed to be driven on gravel roads. The picture of the red gravel car park is Jacques, it was big but all over the place and the 3 guys out didn’t get a reasonable wave in the ½ hour we watched. On the way down to Perth I ended up having 2 surfs by myself the 1st at Flat rock 40 km south of Geraldton and the 2nd at Port Denison both were 2-3ft onshore with very murky water with lots of seaweed.
We arrived at Yallingup late Friday it was 10-12ft with a strong side shore wind and nobody out. Sat. morning I went to Cowaramup Bay there were waves every where. North Point looked it was 6-8ft but then there were the big sets maybe 15ft, South point was much the same, between the two points there was a right and left hand peak and then another big right hander breaking wide off North Point. About 2ks out to sea you could see the bombie was working there were 5 or 6 jet skis out there. The next day the swell had dropped and I surfed South Point at 6-8ft the word was the Bombie was 20ft the day before. Late that afternoon I went back to Yallingup it was 4-6ft but as always there were the big sets. The first wave I took off on was only 5ft I went up for a back hand re- entry but on the way back down I decided it wasn’t a goer so I jumped off. On surfacing my board came floating back towards the nose broken off 2ft back. It was amazing because the last wave I rode here at the Nationals 5 years ago the same thing happened. That night I rang Ron Roozen an old Peninsula boy who has lived in Margaret River for the last 30 years he organised a sander and I meet him the next morning. I had stuck the board back together on the beach earlier on, but it had to be sanded and then reglassed. The board was back in the water and riding just the same later that afternoon. The broken board count for the first day of competition was12, one heat 4 guys paddled out 2 of them came back with broken boards. The total count was 24 this did not include mine or any other boards broken outside competition which probably would have been at least another 20.
The first 3 days of the comp. we were at Yallingup which was basically just a case of survival, the swell was straight but the take off would move wide across the reef and at 6-8ft with 10 -12ft sneaky set it wasn’t that much fun. On the 4th it was no bigger but we moved to Injidup, Carpark was 2-4ft with a 6ft set fairly often. This was the first time anybody could do some performance surfing it was like riding Flynns just unreal fun The next day we were back at Yullingup, it was a little smaller but you still had to be real lucky. The shot of the fool jumping off is me in the O/50 semi, it was just after the start of the heat and I had just completed 2 of the most successful duck dives I‘d done on my longboard a 3rd was pushing my luck so down was the only place to go. The next set was wide and the 2 waves I finally caught didn’t have any scoring potential missing out on the final by 0.4. Sat. was finals day and this was the best Yullingup had been it was 2-5ft with just an occasional wider set as you can see by the shots it was a lot more friendly.
Since I returned home it was back onto my 6’6”Stubby for a month while I waited for an arthroscopy on my knee, and now for the next couple of weeks or so just watching the swell and wind off Seal Rocks and West Head while it recovers.
See you in the surf soon I hope