Johnny Abegg, Main Beach, Byron Bay
Cyclone Vania’s recent occupancy of the Pacific Ocean resulted in a weekend of stomping swell on the north-east coast of Australia. Before the resounding lines hit shore, crowds at Byron Bay’s The Pass were unbearable. Some waves were ridden by five people at a time and the sweep down the beach was in overdrive. If […]
Cyclone Vania’s recent occupancy of the Pacific Ocean resulted in a weekend of stomping swell on the north-east coast of Australia. Before the resounding lines hit shore, crowds at Byron Bay’s The Pass were unbearable. Some waves were ridden by five people at a time and the sweep down the beach was in overdrive. If you were unlucky enough to miss the takeoff, you’d be down the beach like lighting tap, heading in for the long walk back up the point. Thanks to school holidays the vibe was innocent enough in the water, but with a sense of possible disappointment at the prospect of the swell not arriving. The swell did arrive, but left the pass too big and chopped-out for most of the local populous.
At around 5pm, curiosity caused photog Richard James to cruise down the beach a little. He hadn’t expected much, but soon realised that Vania had properly announced itself by pounding Byron’s Main Beach with driving force. While Fanning was getting wave-of-the-day at Kirra Point (see monday’s full frame), a handful of guys were powering through Byron Bay tunnels in front of a few-hundred-strong crowd made up of hippies, backpackers, Queensland day-trippers and locals. So many on the beach and so few in the lineup gave the setting a contest vibe. So few takers at such a usually-crowded spot served as a good indicator as to how difficult conditions were, with many being swept down to The Wreck. As Rich says:
“Within an hour there were 20 guys out scratching for a moment of glory in the colosseum. In amongst the chaos was Johnny Abegg, (pictured here). Cool as fuck. I had started shooting with a half-full memory card and was down to my last six frames. He pulled into this beauty, I squeezed the shutter… and ran out of memory space the frame after this one.”
Luckily the card held-out long enough to allow this moment of glory. How relaxed is that b-side tube style?
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