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Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Big Swell!


Although I've only written about bicycling - related stuff in this blog in the past, I have another
hobby - surfing - which I've been doing since I was about 15. As a Melbourne resident, going
surfing involves travelling at least 100k and often spending time away from my family: so I
don't do it that often. But occasionally I get motivated enough or sick of things enough to run away and go surfing for a day or two. Very fortunately I have access to a place to stay at Airey's
Inlet which is on the coast west of Melbourne. Even more more fortunately, some of the challenging surf breaks around Airey's are not overpopulated by surfers so as a not - very - competitive or aggressive older surfer, I can still go out surfing and enjoy myself.

Before the advent of the internet, knowing what sort of swell would occur on a given day in the future was a black art. You could make some educated guesses and work out what the wind direction would be from the weather maps but what sort of waves would arrive was unknown. Now, various websites predict the surf size around Australia and the world. The one I use most is backed up by the venerable bureau of meteorology,
Type "wave" into the bom website and you are a few clicks away from a map like the one shownsomewhere on this blog page. The red and purple bits of the map are areas of the ocean are areas of big waves and when they get somewhere near your bit of coastline there will be big waves. Simple huh? The fact that predictive maps (a few days in advance of now) are available means keen surfers can go to where the big waves will be, virtually anywhere in the world.

But just big waves ain't enough, to get good waves, other things like local winds need to be right.

So anyway, I'll cut the surf lesson short here. Early last week it looked like a ripper swell was developing so I put in for leave on Friday and headed off on Thursday night to see what surf I could find.

Well it was a big swell and on Friday I only surfed at the very sheltered Lorne Point. I didn't see anyone out at open ocean beaches although one guy had been out at Cathedral Rock. Today (Saturday) I went out at a local Airey's beach. 3 waves only, I was out by myself and respectful of the size of the surf. Hope you enjoy the photos.

Note on surfboard: It was a windsurfer in a previous life. It is a long (8"5" in the old currency), sleek, thick and well worn single fin. Very caveman. I love it. Shaped by Howard Hughes, see Now retired, Howard has been a friend for years and for ages I have ridden on his boards.

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