Obsessive Behavior: A Story About The Addictive Property Of Tubes
Aussie teens return to Fiji two months after their inaugural strike. Aussie teens return to Fiji less two months after their inaugural strike. Who can blame?
As surfers, we spend most of our spare money and time circling the globe to find our own version of perfection.
Maybe it’s a crowdless, three-foot point deep in the heart of Oaxaca. Maybe it’s a backless mutant over pitiless heads of brain coral. Maybe it’s a 40-foot bombie in the middle of the sea.
Whatever your predilections, once you find that unicorn wave—the one that provides the first-date jitters, a peck on the cheek, and sends you home with butterflies in your soul—you never forget about it.
Most become obsessed with the spot’s machinations, transforming typically even-headed folk into insatiable fiends. This leaves us scouring the swell charts on a tri-daily basis and constantly phoning our friends on the ground for a first-person report. “How is it? Was the angle good? Oh man, I wish I was there.”
Searching for that fix.
Introducing 15-year-old Jai Glindeman.
Lennox Head teens Luke Condon (19) and Jai Glindeman (15) recently found their Shangri-La. On a trip to Fiji in May of this year, Luke and Jai jumped off the boat and paddled out to Cloudbreak for the very first time. It was big. Scary. The boys, who grew up surfing east coast Australia’s myriad right points, were in uncharted territory amongst the heavy reef left.
They were also on small boards. Because, well, they’re kids. A little naive. Comically ignorant. Totally unprepared. That didn’t stop them from sitting on the inside ledge and catching every mutant double-up that the rhino-chasers missed, though.
And so, over the span of a two-day swell, Jai and Luke formed a deep love for Cloudbreak—a sort of polyamorous relationship, without any form of jealousy, as Cloudbreak always had plenty to give.
The boys returned home with their tube tanks positively brimming, but this did little to quell their desire for Cloudbreak.
Luke figured it out quick.
Over the next couple months, Luke and Jai kept in constant contact with local lensman Stu Johnson (whose photos graces these hallowed walls), fiending for another taste of that sweet Fijian nectar.
“How’s this swell looking, Stu?”
“The winds a bit sus on this one?”
“Was it cooking on the low?”
Finally the right combo of winds, tides, and swells presented themselves. Three pulses over eight days made it all but certain that Cloudbreak would show glimpses of the beauty that Luke and Jai encountered that first time around, if not an entire week of it.
We caught up with the boys as they were heading to the airport to chase the recent run of swells.
Back in town.
Stab: You boys are heading to Fiji again, huh?
Luke Condon: Yeah we’re just in the car now. We’re that keen, hey.
Looks like there’s a lot of swell headed over there—you boys excited?
Yeah, it looks pretty good on the forecast at the moment. Fingers crossed it stays the same.
Do you guys have bigger boards with you this time?
Yeah, I’ve got a 6’6 and Jai has a 6’3. We’re a bit more organized this time. I only had a 6’1 then [laughs].
It looked pretty sizable last time.
Yeah, it was solid. I was probably a little bit undergunned, then I snapped my board. It was… interesting [laughs].
Was it all on the first ledge that time, or was it breaking out the back?
It was washing through a little bit on the big ones, but we were more focused on that end part of the wave. That inside went real crazy.
“Luke Condon straight slayed it. His strategy as a first-timer seemed to be fueled by either youthful arrogance or naivete. He purposely sat 50 meters below the iconic roll-in Roseman “ledge” take-off zone and proceeded to rush every bending double-up thrown at Shishkabobs. At the end of those two A-grade days at Cloudbreak, Luke, in my eyes, left with the respect reserved for a very small population of Cloudbreak savants.
Since that session, I get a DM from Luke’s dad with every potential swell as they are waiting in the wings for another strike mission.” – Fiji lensman Stu Johnson
Is that where you guys were sitting?
Yeah, it was a bit weird out the back
That’s a pretty heavy takeoff spot on the inside…
Yeah, on some of them we were just jumping from the lip [laughs]. It was hard to get into them, but if you got the right one you were laughin’.
Did you see what happened to Andrew Jacobson when he jumped off one of those inside ledges?
No, I didn’t…
This was last year, but he basically jumped off one of the inside double-ups and turned his knee backwards. He had to get a crazy surgery and was out of the water for nine months or something…
Holy shit. That’s fucked.
Not to put negative thoughts in your mind when you’re heading over there [laughs], but I’m sure you know what that wave is capable of.
It’s definitely a psycho wave. That was both Jai and my first time and we were freaking out.
Tell me about that… what were your thoughts going into that first trip? What did you expect Cloudbreak to be like, and what was the reality?
I was expecting it to be pretty similar to what it was, but I didn’t think it would be that big on the day we rocked up. We kinda just jumped straight into it and cruised for a bit, then we slowly got a couple fun ones and worked our confidence up.
I went to Cloudbreak for the first time a few years ago, and I remember being shocked that the good waves looked like total closeouts as they approached.
Ah yeah, that’s what we were tripping on too. I pulled back one because I thought it was a dead closeout, then I saw it spit and was like, ‘What the fuck?’ So I slowly figured out that you had to go on waves that looked like semi-closeouts.
You’d be stoked too.
You guys are both from Lennox. I’d imagine that means backside, reef-bottomed tubes aren’t exactly your forte. Is that right?
Yeah, we hadn’t really pulled into a lot of lefts before that. It was so good to get into a couple.
Jai, you’re a little bit younger than Luke. Did you feel pretty comfortable out there, or were you still trying to figure it out?
Jai Glindeman: When I first jumped off it was pretty scary. But then I got a couple waves and it was sweet. I started feeling way better.
Do you feel like last time you got the wave you were looking for out there?
Yeah, last time I got one of the best waves of my life.
Tell me about it.
It was one of those wide, roll-in ones, and I just went it and was standing at the bottom for a moment, then I pulled up into it.
“Jai was more tentative in his selection than Luke but surfed unreal for a first-timer. He looks like someone eager for his body to catch up with his appetite for nugs.” – Stu Johnson
Nah I grabbed the rail [laughs]. I definitely grabbed the rail. It’s so scary going backside no hands.
Do you have any goals in mind for this trip?
Just to get bigger and better ones.
I’m sure you boys have done a fair bit of travel in your lives, so what made you want to return to Cloudbreak so soon?
Jai: I like the people, and the waves are insane. It’s definitely one of the best waves I’ve ever seen. And it’s’ pretty close to home, too, so it’s kind of a no-brainer.
Luke: Yeah, we stay in the little village and it’s so rad to be amongst the Fijian people. We brought a bunch of gear for them this time. They’re so welcoming, so we wanted to show them some love back.
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