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by Ed Temperley on Friday 8th June, 2012 422915 Views
14 of 42
"THAT was the best wave I have ever seen in my life." Dave Wassel said as Stu Johnson transported him from his boat to the top of the line and a single unridden 20ft bomb reeled down the reef, untamed by the 20-25 big wave maniacs out at Cloudbreak.
"People were comparing this session all day to the waves in July last year, and honestly it wasnt quite as big as July but the surfing was undeniably more polished. Guys were making the craziest sections." Said Stu. "Top performers I would have to say: Ian Walsh, Ramon Navaro, Reef Mcintosh, Dave Wassel, John Florence, Mark Healy and honorable mention and then some for everyone else."
Waiting after so much hype was intolerable - two weeks ago this swell lit up the charts and we dropped the big word, then it leaked that the event would swap to Restaurants and boom the bottom dropped out of the world. But hang on, the morning surf check saw small onshore Restaurants and 10ft building Cloudbreak, cue: the great swap. After a maddening few hours frantically hauling kit into the tower at Cloudbreak, a two mile tinny bump and thump across the water from Tavarua the event was on.
The second Adam Melling dropped into a bomb you saw why they wanted to surf Restaurants. Cloudbreak was tricky, big waves, mountainous moguls on the face, rivers of water rushing through the line-up and no real barrels. Turns out Cloudbreak doesn't look perfect all the time, espcially not at this size. Adam Melling's board was chattering like a gurning teen on Tavarua face chunks, the face of the wave not much much smaller than a Big Wave World Tour stop. Balls to the wall, no real barrels to kick-off but heck these guys can surf the big stuff don't doubt that. © 2013 Stu Johnson
"Cloudbreak is 12ft and onshore, Restaurants is 3ft and onshore - if the wind would just cooperate we'd have the best day on tour." Said Parko shortly before the contest was called off.
Almost the moment they called off the comp at 2pm having only managed two heats, the wind dropped and Parko went out and got one of the best waves of his life. © 2013 Gemma Molinaro
Sure the quality is a bit grimy but if you want 10 minutes of Kelly Slater commentating on the sickest surfing you'll ever see then press that play button. © 2013 peteratx
"The contest director made a good call to end competition for the day after finishing the two heats left in Round 2" said Stu Johnson "The surf continued to pulse and grow larger and larger with each coming set." © 2013 Malia Johnson
Reef Mcintosh in his usual environment. © 2013 Malia Johnson
Ian Walsh, all the red really helps when you need to be picked out by the ski from the almost inevitable apocalyptic ending. © 2013 Malia Johnson
Kai Otten, now a legit big wave demon.
"Those were the biggest most perfect waves I've ever surfed," He said. "It was pretty nerve-wracking being first up. We were on and then off and then on again. You have to be prepared to go. I think everyone on tour is more than capable of handling Cloudbreak as big as it gets, we just have to pick our window with the wind. Mello (Adam Melling) was charging out there too so tough luck to him but I'm pumped to get some bombs and get through to Round 3." © 2013 Malia Johnson
Bede Durbidge faces up against Taj in Rd3 which word on the water says will be held at Restaurants tomorrow if, as expected, the forecast south east winds turn up. © 2013 Malia Johnson
Ian Walsh, game face for the paparazzi. © 2013 Malia Johnson
Kai Borg played the ski patrol role alone at one point, here him and Nate Fletcher contemplate the carnage around them. © 2013 Stu Johnson
One of the Aussie boys getting a fair dinkum dig. © 2013 Malia Johnson
Damien Hobgood paddled out on a 6.5 because he's really good at taking off vertically into steaming left-hand barrels and making it. © 2013 Stu Johnson
There he goes. © 2013 Stu Johnson
And bang he's away. If you haven't got him in your Fantasy Surfer team here then you're an idiot. © 2013 Stu Johnson
Quite a few waves went unridden but not unwatched. © 2013 Stu Johnson
Kohl Christensen is always a standout here, back in July 2011 he almost made the most insane barrel here and was back doing much of the same today. © 2013 Gemma Molinaro
The safer side of the lineup on the huge expanse of reef commonly known as Cloudbreak. © 2013 Sarah Lee
Early morning train to catch © 2013 Sarah Lee
It started off looking pretty manageable on the odd set. © 2013 Stu Johnson
Throw the dice and see what happens. © 2013 Sarah Lee
Sometimes it works out, other times.... © 2013 Sarah Lee
Looks quite friendly here. © 2013 Stu Johnson
Steel sky meets the steel sea as Todd Rosewall drops in. © 2013 Sarah Lee
Jeff Rowley on the most colourful board out there. © 2013 Sarah Lee
Mick Fanning on the frothy inside section © 2013 Sarah Lee
Hi, it was great to know you. © 2013 Sarah Lee
Do this once and you'd die happy. © 2013 Sarah Lee
The lineup here is absolutely vast, Cloudbreak sits out on a fringe of reef all alone. © 2013 Sarah Lee
Gentle conditioning © 2013 Sarah Lee
Just one more © 2013 Sarah Lee
Holy Mary mother of God that thing's going to eat us all up. © 2013 Sarah Lee
Back in the heat of the moment. © 2013 Sarah Lee
All those boards are probably snapped by now. © 2013 Sarah Lee
Kohl Christensen rocking the glow. © 2013 Sarah Lee
Boom © 2013 Sarah Lee
Exclamation mark. © 2013 Sarah Lee
Just another barrel, 178 of 200 perhaps? © 2013 Sarah Lee
Thumbs up © 2013 Sarah Lee
God knows which one this in the 100s of barrels which went down. © 2013 Sarah Lee
Just perfect © 2013 Sarah Lee
So much speed to burn. © 2013 Sarah Lee
And the final curtain. © 2013 Sarah Lee
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