Greetings From China Part 3

posted by / News / September 17, 2007

BARRELLED IN CHINA

Confucius say, never trust an east coast weather map. We’re thinking we’ve run out of swell and we’re just about to get the ferry back to Shanghai when Typhoon Nari comes roaring up out of nowhere. She’s formed in the warm waters north-east of Taiwan and hurtles past Okinawa, turning up the heat as she goes.

By Saturday afternoon she’s blowing 120 knots and about 30 of ‘em are hitting us from the north. The ferry’s cancelled and we can’t leave even if we wanted to.

Our guide {{{Jimmy}}} Fong is freaking out. Despite his recent surfing experience, you can see him thinking, “Who are these crazy Western bastards and why do they WANT to hang around a typhoon??”

We’ve named a bunch of spots on this particular island. One’s called Sebastian Inlet because it looks just like Florida and picks up overnight in a strong wind. That afternoon we surf Sebastian Inlet at a solid head high plus and super fun. The beach is flooded with weekend trippers from inland, and they’ve arrived just in time to see us show up with our surfboards and begin waxing up. A crowd gathers; they’re just totally gawking at us! It’s like being Kelly Slater for a day.

Overnight the wind backs down a little. Lazily we set the surf time to 8am and drive around the back side of the island, to a spot we’ve already ridden, called Mermaids thanks to an amazing stone mermaid statue set on a rock outcrop just offshore. The win here is dead offshore and Mermaid’s is a solid closeout. Oh Crap!

We race down to the first spot we visited here, a long sand beach. This place has so much potential to be sick that we’d nicknamed it Hossegor. And lo and behold, today it actually IS Hossegor! Maybe better!

Overhead wedged up left and right barrelling peaks scattered for a mile or more. Can’t wax up quick enough.

The little family crew who runs this beach are stoked. In sign language they tell us “It was bigger early this morning.” Bloody hell! Nobody even SURFS here and yet they’ve already got the whole “shoulda been here an hour ago” thing down cold.

Flindt tries to shoot, but the Chinese keep walking in front of his lens. They’re taking photos of him taking photos of Pat and Ola.

The waves are pretty amazing. Swell lines come down the beach from the east and are wedged by outer sandbars and a slight bounce off a headland. Pat gets one and it almost looks like small Backdoor or something. He falls into it. The water’s so silty, it’s like he’s in a room with the curtains drawn and the light switched off. It mows him down, we’re in stitches.

It’s amazing to be surfing alone on a mile-long stretch of perfect beachbreak tubes. Actually – surfing alone on a continent! There’s not another surfer closer to us than Japan and that’s nearly 800 miles away. Sick!

Anyway, Typhoon Nari rockets off to its doom over Siberia somewhere, and the ferry can run again, and Jimmy Fong is relieved to see us come back to our surf addled senses in time to make our flight connections. Now we’re in Shanghai (translation: “above the sea”) and I foolishly take a look at the forecast, one more time. Oh dear, another typhoon. Groundswell 10 feet at 11 seconds. Hossegor’s gonna be double overhead plus kegs and there won’t be a surfer in sight!

I don’t care. We got barrelled in China, that’s mad enough for now.

Stay tuned for more of Nick Carroll’s stories and Jeff Flindt’s photography from China in an upcoming issue of SURFING

CLICK HERE for Nick Carroll’s report #1 from China.CLICK HERE for Nick Carroll’s report #2 from China.

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