Jewel in the Rough – South OZ Revisited
After visiting my old playground in South OZ a few weeks back my sites have fixed on the maps for a possible return trip to what was what one of my best surf shooting in trips in Australia ever. Did you see that junior event held there – the Fantastic Noodles Intense Wave Invitational?
A couple of weeks have gone by & suddenly there appeared a serious, crazy low pressure system that looked as big as it gets about to smash into the bottom end of Western Australia.
Mark Mathews, Ryan Hipwood & Mark Visser all confirmed with me that they were keen on what seemed absolutely crazy.
SURFING THE BIGGEST WAVE EVER ATTEMPTED IN THIS COUNTRY at COW BOMBIE!
If it was possible I actually agreed to be there to the document the history.
It had me freaking out thinking how in the world we were going to get out of that bay at Grace Town with a swell of 44 feet at 17 seconds.
It’s hard enough in a 25-foot swell let alone 44 ft with a 30knot onshore wind.
As the day progressed it seemed like phone calls were flying around fast & furious.
The biggest issue was of coarse safety. I think Marky spoke to ‘Antman’ – aka Paul Paterson & the real problem would be the speed of how the wave moved with the onshore wind. The wave would simply just run you down. You couldn’t keep up with it.
So thank god the trip was cancelled.
What next! That swell is also heading to Sth Oz & right into some very favorable winds.
So a call is directed to Jeff ‘the gate keeper’ Schmucker, he’s keen & he knows its gonna be on but straight out tells me ‘if ya come, leave your buddies home’!
‘This is going to be for Josiah & Sam’ – ‘what like locals only’!
I agreed & was on my way.
Saturday morning I was on one of those Tiger Airlines to Adelaide from Sydney.
God, what a nightmare! Is it worth the grief?
Straight off that plane I grab my stuff & race to a REX flight to Port Lincoln.
In Lincoln I’ve got a car & on the road – 6 hours it took me! But 3 hours I was shooting all sorts of cutaways. The countryside was amazing. So Aussie!
Almost to my destination, cruising away & bang with flashing lights, I’ve got a local Elliston copper pulling me over for speeding.
How stupid I was going 134 when I should have been on 110.
To cut the chase Josiah Shmuckers 18th birthday was on that night at the local hall & it was happily messy. So I was off to get some sleep cause I knew that it was going to be busy the next day.
Sunday I spent time getting run around with the local tourism minister Jayne Holland getting heaps of great general vision shots. Which is important for creating a good story.
Monday morning we are up at 4.30 am for us to head out to a semi secret spot an hour from town. Jeff referred the place to being like Puerto Escondido on steroids.
After driving thru gate after gate with signage relating to trespassers prosecuted we finally arrive to our spot. IT’S ON & IT’S BIG!
We raced to get the skis in & then I am delivered back to the beach to shoot from the land.
It seriously reminded me of, Hawaii’s Off THE WALL – great big walls that peeled fast & hard with most waves punching out buckets of spit.
It wasn’t easy, Mark Harris was the other ski driver who was spooked by the way the walls hit the bottom & unleashed themselves on what was flat felt like bottom.
So it was Jeff Schmucker towing his son Josiah & Port Lincoln grom Sam Ford into these Hawaiian style walls.
After 3 hours of the boys surviving some heavy punishment & some great barrels we all called it a day when the sea breeze arrived around lunchtime.
We headed back to base for a well-earned feed.
God I love that place!
See the extended edit in this year Australian Surf Movie Festival touring in Oct/Nov 09. asmf.net.au
South Australia - 14th Sept 2009 -
Filmed by Tim Bonython.