Saturday 17 September 2011

Foamin' in the Gloamin'

We had some spectacularly choppy weather whilst over northeast in August. The north wind really drives in there, raising huge breakers pushed up by great underwater outcrops of rocks. The rocky shores alternate with sandy bays to provide great variety for the abundant local surfers; both beginner and verging-on-insanity hardcore.

On one of the wet and windy afternoons we wandered down to the seafront to watch two particularly dedicated exponents of the art. They were surfing into a boulder-strewn cove with enormous lumps of rock just below the surface where they repeatedly tumbled off their boards and into the roaring sea, after weaving in on the foaming crest of some formidable wave.

Watching the surfers I could see where the ninth wave superstition (about the ninth or tenth wave being the big one) comes from. The big waves seemed to come at quite regular intervals and we found ourselves getting exasperated at the surfers for missing the biggest and best! It's just an illusion, though. The timings of the complicated wave pattern interactions of crest and trough are impossible to predict in an environment with so many lumpy variables.

Crazy, perhaps, but I did admire their skill: Two wiry guys pitting themselves against the mercy of the brutal ocean just for the brief thrill of riding on the crest of a wave. Humans are really odd.

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