Stab Magazine | Gallery: Huge swell hits Cloudbreak; Men ride waves!
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Gallery: Huge swell hits Cloudbreak; Men ride waves!

All photos by Beau Pilgrim – follow him on Instagram @beaupilgrim Today, Cloudbreak really turned on. The usual A-list of big wave surfers were, for the most part, absent. But Paul Morgan (pictured below) was on the bombs, delightful surprise presence Dave Rastovich played tube selector, Ryan Hipwood swung and dug, and plenty of other gents […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

All photos by Beau Pilgrim – follow him on Instagram @beaupilgrim

Today, Cloudbreak really turned on. The usual A-list of big wave surfers were, for the most part, absent. But Paul Morgan (pictured below) was on the bombs, delightful surprise presence Dave Rastovich played tube selector, Ryan Hipwood swung and dug, and plenty of other gents who are braver than you were in the mix.

The wind was in, then out, blowing about 10 to 15 knots, then a rain squall would hit, then disappear – it was a confused day. The winds were typical trades from the south-east. When there was windy gusts, there was huge squalls across the face and big chandeliers. But most waves had a clean face. The low tide in the morning was when it was most on.

There were five skis buzzing around the lineup. And, were required for rescues on the inside at least half a dozen times. There were five photographer boats, a drone, and a lens on the tower.

All surfers had impact vests on, except the Namotu lifeguards. One in particular, Tevita Gukilau, wore only trunks and no shirt, on a borrowed 8’6” – which is all kinds of bad ass. Most guys were wearing the new Patagonia vest with canisters and inflation.

Dave Rasta had the lifeguards concerned with what appeared to be just a t-shirt, but once they spoke to him, he enlightened that there was in fact an impact vest under his shirt. Rasta was sitting deep and being very selective. He got caught up on a few wobbly ones, but for the most part…

If the biggest ones lined up and hit the reef right, they’d look like a closeout: But then Rasta or Paul Morgan would take the highline, threading the needle through a huge chandelier and come belting out. According to many in the lineup, the standout of the day was Paul Morgan. He was taking off on the biggest waves and getting the longest tubes. His young pal Russell Bierke, 17 years old, had a good swing too. What were you doing when you were 17?

The worst wipeout of the day? There were three men left out there right before the tow surfing started. Jeff Rowley, Karl Atkins and another. A set came through: Jeff made it under the first one but the other two gents got cleaned up. Then, Jeff was cleaned up by the next one. And they all wore the rest of the set on the head. Which really ain’t what you want at Cloudbreak – as Mark Mathews once told Stab, “It’s one of those waves where it washes you in, but you don’t go fully into the lagoon. You’re trying to get back through it, but because the wave grows as it steams down the reef, you wipeout and then get pushed down the reef and every single one you get on the head feels bigger than the last, because they keep growing.”

And, that was Karl’s first wipeout of the day – he said he was glad he was taxed a beating straight up, cause it’s good to know all the training has been worthwhile. That was the first time he’s ever had to rip the cord on his vest, and it was on the first wave of the set. What a place.

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