A cold welcome to the NEW ISSUE from Derek Hynd

Rusty Miller, Steve Shearer, Derek Hynd and Richard Tognetti wondering where they can get a hold of the new issue ... (photo by Björn Richie Lob)

Here’s a rushed attempt at getting a message out based on a quick favour and from what little I know of the Kurungabaa readership. No apology on spur of moment for anything untoward. So here it is – the new format issue is coming out in the next days. Woo hoo.

That, reader/sea guardian, is the BIG news. *

You can of course choose to read on for an observation about last week’s sea at close of the cyclone season.

Or if not, note the price drop, new paper grade, increased print run.

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Tell your most eminent store owning friends of cafes, stalls, galleries, newsagents, basically anywhere, to stock the only indie sea surf paper around.

The message is apparent. Your support is warranted. WE-NEED-YOU.

The past week has seen early May deliver the type of swell that was first ordered six months back. Every man and his dog in November seemed to be calling best ever season for ground and cyclone swells on the Australian East Coast. To put such hopes into perspective, through the early 1970’s cyclone swells used to first make beach fall come December. That, reader, is incredibly early, perhaps inconceivably so to anyone aged under 40. The good old days did actually provide.

That the 2011 season pretty well ended up a dud comes as no surprise. One of the more outrageous tenets of modern surfing is the overcall after all. The swell eventually started lifting at Lennox from 9 to 10 a.m. Same as most spots on 1000 kilometres of coast. At Lennox it kicked in from 4 to 6 to 8 to 10 to 12 in the space of an 90 minutes, predictably catching some recreational surfers off guard. Rasta got ‘Lennox as good as it gets down the middle before it got washed out’ but, in the main, the bulk simply bobbed round on short modern equipment becoming more and more ruffled by the steady increase in size.

A difference between now and, say, 1974, is in the overwhelming flood of featherweight equipment ridden by every day surfers who just aren’t as fit as their like back then.

If caught off guard in an impacting swell in ‘74, average rider and board would more readily adapt to survive the power surge – whether mown by sets and forced to swim or not. The clean up/wash in/end of surf was still fairly commonplace. In the last days before leg ropes gained universal acceptance and destroyed much of the physicality in the art of surfing, the surfer knew the game, was forced by logical trepidation to know the consequences of misjudgement, and at any age from 14 on could generally compensate by better gauging base limits.

The day before gave indication of what lay ahead for a fair few Lennox surfers. They weren’t moving as they should’ve been in the lineup. Lennox can tend to be a little like Sunset Beach on the odd occasion after all, bending in at severe angle. Sneaker sets were around. Very few sensed from where they would coming and how they would land.

The riders didn’t seem to care, bunched three quarters of the way outside, often having a casual chat, paddling and missing alot of stuff on fairly thin, slow momentum equipment.

The swell jacked next day and the Australian surfing pack was duly overwhelmed. Snapped or lost boards, unfit bodies, untrained eyes. Exceptions to the rule, as in Swellnet surfcaster Steve Shearer and other grizzled locals used to outside positions and late drops on semi guns, faired little better. Shearer actually fared worse due to his Hawaiian experience. The bending, jacking, ‘horry set’, that came 12+ from the east north east not east south east, wreaked total havoc. The deeper and more prepared, the harsher the beating.

‘This one came in at such an angle that I automatically paddled deeper to get around the side of it but the thing linked up in one big peak with a wall from the south and all of a sudden I was under an apex landing 20 metres in front’. Steve went the hell man duck dive on the first. His board was lost on the second, heading up the point into the fabled Lennox boulders – not down. He, on the other hand, didn’t move. Trapped under a never ending bomb set six months in the coming, He got into trouble. Indeed, fears were held for his safety. Calls from the rocks. It looked like a drowning in the making.

For a time people went missing. Head counts were made. Everyone made it in. Shearer to his eventual surprise drifted up the rocks in a textbook exit after his worst experience in Australian surf. He knew he’d come close to true peril. The tingles had marched all over his body whilst under the third of many more waves. Therein sits the irony, for he’d taken a worse Hawaiian beating and was shocked but semi set for it, but had less adept surfers in the lineup been so far out with him it could have been tragic. Ignorance, for them, was a saving grace. Without a plan…sat where they were…got smashed…not as badly.

One of the dangers of modern surfing sat fairly exposed after six hours of this ocean lift.

Surfers are no longer as ready as they once were. Next season, when the call comes again and fails to deliver, nonetheless get set for the one day of sudden impact.

Get set. Or don’t go out.

As R Miller once said, The ocean doesn’t know your name.

Kurungabaa is scraping through the bank at this moment. Due to 100 buck donations from a number of the collective, which tends to demonstrate commitment to the cause, It is thus out in new format this week. Respect the ocean. Respect the Baa.