North Shore Couch Tour Update

posted by / News / December 3, 2008


Unidentified split an Outer Reef peak, 12/02/08.

“Who the f—k are you?!!” This was my rude awakening two nights ago at the Rip Curl compound at about 3 a.m. Aussie grom Stu Kennedy had a few at Steph’s world title celebration, and I was an unexpected stowaway in his couch quarters. He flipped on all the lights, stood over me like a pirate captain and demanded an explanation. I promptly explained my business (there’s no deep-sleeping in any strange home’s living room), and he apologized for his belligerence and passed out on the couch next to me.

Despite the 3 a.m. wake-up call, it’s been a good couple of days here in Rip Curl world. They seem to have it especially dialed this year. One of the best houses on the strip, a video production team churning out daily shows called “Rip Curl on the Rock,” the ever-steady trainer/guru Matty Griggs pumping up his teamriders with good thoughts and good food. It’s all pretty full-on, with editing into the wee hours of the night and a 5:30 a.m. rise-and-shine, courtesy of Mick Fanning, who’s down by 9 and up with the roosters. He is on call for first heat each morning, but I’m guessing he’d be up anyway.

Good thing he was on it from the crack yesterday, because the swell jumped up right in synch. From 6:30 a.m. ’til dark, it was non-stop swell ’til your arms fell off. There were riveting reports from all over – here are just a few:

·South African charger Andrew Marr had a great paddle session solo at an Outer Reef west of Haleiwa. “It was solid and just beautiful,” he said, “Until I got nailed by one and washed all the way in.” Carlos Burle and Maya Gabeira and a handful of other tow teams soon took over, and claimed pristine 15-footers for the better part of the day.

·Haleiwa was as perfect and scary as it gets, and Pat O’Connell, Mike Parsons, Paul Patterson, Bonga Perkins and only a couple others gave it a good go. “We got pummeled a few times,” said Parsons. “But there were some absolutely flawless ones. It was just the few of us out there, and we were freaking.”

·Pipe is proving to be the all-purpose surf spot with guys charging no matter how big or deadly it is. Shane Dorian started off the morning with a massive first-reef pit, while shaper Wade Tokoro locked into one of the bombs of the day. But as it got bigger, it got dicier. And with the tempting “1 in 10” opening wide, a squadron of young Aussies went all out. “For a while, it was just a bunch of us Aussies,” said Owen Wright. “Guys were going mad. Pulling into closeouts, second reef sets on the head…whatever. Put in a full six hours today.” One of his countrymates wasn’t so lucky. Cory Ziems took a double-up closeout too far, got slammed on the reef and apparently compressed his spine. He was stretchered out of there. Another Pipeline soldier wounded in battle.

·An Outer Reef east of Sunset hosted a good all-day paddle session, with local Kohl Christenson taking top honors with some deep, late 15-footers. Shaper/surfer Robbie Johnston got his share as well, while Jamie {{{Sterling}}}, Mark Healey, Grant “Twiggy” Baker, Jamie Mitchell, Timmy Reyes, Peter Mel, Nathan Fletcher, Kala Alexander and a handful of others broke out their big boards and charged. The buoys only read 12 at 16 yesterday, but it definitely felt a few notches bigger than that.

Speaking of which: we have another fire drill right around the corner. Look for the last-day drama from the O’Neill event, highlights from the Quiksilver Eddie ceremony, a few-more big-wave tales and a report from someone else’s couch coming soon. And this time, I’ll let them know ahead of time.

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