The big swell was manageable at Pig Outs. It was too wild and woolly at East End or Fitzroy for surfing but perfect for IRB (inflatable rescue boat) training. Those guys and gals are good, eh? The paddlers rode some great waves. Des caught two bombs way outside beyond my view. Then Steve arrived with his foil board just after 5pm to catch a few inside. Surf-tacular day!
The winds picked up later on Sunday and you didn’t have to ring the bell twice. It was full on at East End Beach. Des caught a few good ones and ended on a solid headstand!
A change up today. Scooters and bikes were flying at East End Skate Park, and I had to snap a few of these kids. They were eager to show off their jumps and the enthusiasm was never ending. Cool as.
Okay, NZ surf is epic. The best part is you don’t have to venture far from town to feel like you’re “living it” too. Here’s the view from the coastal walkway.
The 2019 Super 8 Series at Fitzroy Beach, sponsored by New Plymouth Surfriders Club, was yesterday. Sets were farther out and “bigger than it looks!” But for reals… waves faces were 3.5 meters (11 foot). I met some new folks including a cool high schooler who knows no fear, not even level 2 physics class rattles him. (pink jersey above).
This day the surf at Back Beach was clean, even at high tide. The waves broke in sections, spread out the surfers, and provided space for longer boards. The vibe was great. There was a jump in the surf the following day. Bigger sets mean overhead, whomping close outs ( or “walls of death” as I used to call it). Des surfed again on our pinky, 8.0 surftech and got a few thrills.
The surf changes rapidly with the daily large tide fluctuations. So, when it’s good you’ve got 2 hours before it isn’t.
Of note, my camera has reached the end of it’s life. The autofocus fatigued, necessitating manual focus to snap photos in the prior posts. Now that function has expired too. The photos on this post were taken with my old iPhone, in my wetsuit, in the cold and rain. Please forgive the quality.
Below are shots of “the Groin” surf spot, perfect for short boogie board rides. Biking farther north along the coastal walkway, I usually bike pass these guys, “moo!”
New Plymouth’s many in-town surf breaks have a few obstacles to overcome, but once you get out to the points (way out there) it looks amazing. I surfed around a corner at a calmer spot called Piggy’s and Des likes the clean lines off Belt Road. Yesterday I captured a few images at lower tide and watched the surfers navigate the rocks. Many scramble out with no booties, tough Kiwis.
MetService surf forecast was a 9 at Fitzroy and the waves didn’t disappoint. Gorgeous as! The Stand up paddlers caught plenty a few hundred meters down at East End and, thanks to the southeast winds, all of New Plymouth experienced good sized breaking waves. I’m keen on going out tomorrow if I can find a longboard spot or…nice shoulder to ride. Might be bigger too, whomp!
There were plenty of clean waves today at this in town beach break. The outgoing tide walled up the earlier peelers at Fitzroy Beach.
12,000km southwest of Port A.
Harvey who? Port Aransas celebrated its 107th Birthday with several traditional Old Town Festival events. The Expression Session Surf Contest felt like an ocean-centric revival of the spirit. Folks gathered, cheered, photographed, swam, surfed, ate, laughed and played on the beach. It was a gorgeous day! Thanks to everyone who stepped up to make it happen, especially Cameron Pratt, the first to say, “We’re gonna do this!”
When it’s windy, hot, and crowded on the beach, the evenings on the backside of our island are blissful. The last two are shared here. In Piper flats light breezes blowing through the mangroves surrounds you with a whistling sound as you drift along. Herons squawk loudly and egrets track your every move. At Charlie’s Pasture jackrabbits bound on and off the trails, often leading you on a good chase. Water birds loop above then land for a stroll in the flats.
Whether you walk, run, bike or boat the other side is the best place to be at sunset.
If you weren’t at the Port Aransas Beach Pole Vault meet on Saturday, you missed some red hot action! Temperatures were high, so was that bar the athletes fearlessly flung themselves over The best women jumped 14 feet and the men 18 feet; but the dedication and effort exhibited by all the competitors was world class. The coaches will tell you pole vaulting is all about speed, but without that intangible “thing,” raw talent only takes you so far. These guys and gals have it. Good luck to all the vaulters and the future world campions that came to Port A to showcase their skills.
Congratulations to Greg West of West Athletics Vaults Crew- It was a spectacular event. Click here for results/info.
Remember those cheesy Father’s Day cards with pictures of fish, boats, and camping gear? Well, at least for most Port A dads, these are common passions. A few days ago, Des ventured over to the north jetty, yes on a surfboard, and lured in one after another. Frying up the speckled trout will be a family affair today. Let’s feast!
Happy World Oceans Day!
From river racing canoe to ocean cruiser, this boat has been transformed into a unique, single-man exploration vessel. Ask Dave or Des for the whole story and Scott can fill in the Austin viewers. It’s a beauty and it’s for sale!
(comment below for inquiries)
Stan Weston, the creator of the G.I. Joe military action figured passed away on May 1st. After learning a bit more about the maker, we decided to pull these dudes out of their GI Joe lockers and play. My son bought a nice collection at a garage sale a few years ago. Their outfits and gear are cool, of course, but I was surprised when we pushed a button and heard one speak Korean, Vietnamese, or Japanese; I’m not sure which.
GI Joe’s were the first articulating dolls and, boy do I remember the first time I got my hands on one. I really pushed the limits of those joints! Their fuzzy hair and beards and that scar fascinated me. He was way neater than barbie.
Anyway, I found out that Stan Weston sold his concept to Hasbro in 1963 for $100,000 and declined the tiny royalty offer. Since 1964 something like 400 million G.I. Joe’s have been sold, so if you do the math, that’s a few billion dollars in sales. A year before his death he was able to settle with the toy company, and hopefully, at age 83, got a few bucks back!
Here’s to you Stan, and everybody out there who had a great idea that made someone else rich! But the joy you brought to boys, and girls, is priceless.
A friend and fellow surfer, Ewell Clarke, promised to dig through his old slides and found some Port A sessions from 1982-85. This one was shot with high speed Ektachrome film, 300mm lens, from the dunes, and without autofocus – not available back then. Ewell writes, “Hope you can see the riders; shooting from the dunes they sometimes disappeared in the trough on bottom turns.”
I like this photo; the feathering wave is good size, similar to our last wind swell. Nice to see 3 surfers sharing the wave too.
Also, I appreciate the image because it was taken on slide film, the medium I learned with. It’s known as color positive film, “slide,” or “transparency” film. No negatives. What you shot was what you got. Exposure couldn’t be adjusted in development so you had to know your settings in different light by heart. And there was no autofocus, you chose the focal length and hoped the image was in focus, or used manual and lined up little blurry half circles over the subject. Remember? Oh, the anticipation of pulling a newly processed slide from the box and holding it up to the light to view it for the first time! Sometimes I got a gem.
The Port A Surf-a-rama continued with north by northwest wind conditions all day. It was a Sunday worth re-living!
Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! Monster Wave and Surfer Show at the pier!
more photos of afternoon session to come.
2 do-gooders, 2 kayaks, and 2 plastic mattress bags = Happy Earth Day!
As everyone knows, St. Joe’s tends to collect plastic bottles like nobody’s business. One November day a few years ago we hatched a plan and set out to do our part. It was our “earth day.”
We kayaked over to St. Joe’s from the south jetty, strolled the beach and dunes, and stuffed as much plastic as possible in our “trash bags”. Once filled we tied ’em up to our kayak and SUP and launched from the north jetty.
Towing the loot back across the ship channel was the real adventure. High winds made excellent sails of the huge, floating bags and carried us a bit off course. Jen managed to wrap her towing rope, big bag and part of her partner’s gear around a piling near the UTMSI docks. The spin maneuver did halt our westward progression, but let’s just say Des and his knife were needed at some point.
Luckily, being strong paddlers, and despite the hooting and laughter, we did manage to arrive on the south side with our recycling cargo intact. James Derkits took our rescue call and sped over to pick us up.
Filming from a fast moving SUP while paddling across the channel was some of the best video I’ve ever taken – that I’ve never seen beyond the viewfinder! I keep hoping it will turn up on a hard drive somewhere in the future.
I’m mariedreamin’! Sarah Searight is featured this April at the Port Aransas Art Center. She is showcasing acrylic on canvas and watercolor scenes of the ocean, shore birds, surfers, and beach life. Her dynamic creations capture the essence of the sea. Sarah is a local favorite and has a signature style like no other. Stop by and browse or make a piece your own!
Sarah also exhibits her fanciful art at her home studio here in town. “So cool!”
Oh, yah. An evening to remember.