Nic Lamb Wins Punta Galea; speaks with Stab
Words by Craig Jarvis It’s a funky old big wave spot, with a takeoff spot that shifts football field-widths. But today there were 30 to 40-foot faces, enough to mobilise the second Big Wave World Tour event of the year and legitimise the 6-event tour that had worn bad luck with southern hemi swells this […]
Words by Craig Jarvis
It’s a funky old big wave spot, with a takeoff spot that shifts football field-widths. But today there were 30 to 40-foot faces, enough to mobilise the second Big Wave World Tour event of the year and legitimise the 6-event tour that had worn bad luck with southern hemi swells this year.
Pete Mel is the man who made the call 72 hours prior – the amount of time needed for contestants to swing in from all corners. Pete’s call was good, waves stomped, and the best big wave brawlers were in the mix. A lot of time was spent ditching boards and swimming deep under Spanish water, as rain pelted from the dark sky. Hardened Basque surfers, watching from the beach, drank beer in the rain as their best local crew came battled their international big wave heroes, and put their local knowledge to work (don’t go left!).
Dashing 26-year old Santa Cruz gent, Nic Lamb, surfed hard into the final, where he took down previous event winner Makua Rothman. Largely thanks to the decision to drop into a crazy left – an act that’s heavily advised against. The judges hit him with a straight 10. And, gold.
Stab spoke with Nic after after a huge celebratory Spanish dinner, and quizzed the somewhat exhausted but elated lad.
Stab: It looked wild from the cliff angle, but how crazy was it from sea level?
Nic Lamb: It was really tough out there. Punta Galea has a large playing field and so many take off zones, so you’re kind of drifting all over the place, watching the horizon. In the morning the conditions were even trickier due to those onshore winds – it’s always hard surfing solid waves in an onshore – but as the day progressed it became glassier and more organised, with some bombs coming through.
Positioning looked really tough. Absolutely. You can’t really surf out there at Punta Galea and not get caught inside. It’s that sort of wave. You drift around the lineup, looking for the big ones, and always expose yourself to the sets. I definitely went underwater and took a few rollers on the head.
Everyone was pushing it. Who made you feel proud out there? Makua was charging, Nathan was frothing, and everyone was rushing and surfing incredible, especially the locals. They know the wave best. Gabriel Villaran was also on form, and Natxo Gonzalez knows the spot well. I did my best to shadow and learn from the locals by sneaking around and watching them.
Your finals opener, the 9.77, was a stomper. I sat way out back in the beginning of the final. I’d been working on my takeoff spots throughout the day. I aligned myself on the reef and had a marker on land I was working with, like a spot on the cliff to line up with. I waited patiently and that wave popped up and I could see it was a good one as well as a really solid one. I put my head down and paddled hard. The ride was bumpy at first with a couple of ramps, and I was moving fast, so it was kinda tough, but I got the score.
Makua left you behind with those two nines. So you decided to go left, towards the rocks. I needed a high nine to take the heat back from Makua, so I wasn’t going to let that opportunity go. I paddled as hard as I could and committed. I landed, luckily. Heart in throat kind of moment. I fell, and went into a recovery layback, but I rode it out clean. It was pretty close.
Ten points, victory. Champion! It really did feel really good to get the score in a clutch moment like that. Top of the world, stoked, over the moon. I tried to remain cool as ice and wait for the wave and it came through and it paid off. Now I’m jetting back to the pacific to catch some more large swells, fingers crossed!
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