That’s what greeted expert big-wave riders Alfy Cater and Dave Delroy Carr last week off the south-west Australian coast.
Yet from the madness has come magic: a thrilling contender ride for the $35,000 Oakley Surfing Life Big Wave Awards.
“It was really full-on,” says Alfy, who is a previous winner of the Awards (he took Biggest Wave in 2007 for a nine-metre monster off a reef near his home in Dunsborough, WA).
“It was pretty mental, we were out there by ourselves – usually there are a lot of other surfers trying to ride that spot.”
Perhaps they were discouraged by the 40-knot gales that blew across the region earlier in the day. Or maybe they were just intimidated by the sheer size of the waves.
“We didn’t think it was going to be that big and we were all surprised,” says Alfy. “The water was a weird chocolate brown from the storms, and very cold. To be honest, I was happy just to sit in the warm car.
“But then the wind dropped and it got really magic.
“After we had a chance to look at the photos, I was definitely surprised and shocked at how large it was.”
In the process Alfy took some hair-raising beatings. On one wave in particular, he says: “I tried to burn off a bit of speed and I just stalled way too much and the wave drew me back up the face, picked me up and threw me like a little rag-doll.”
“We were pretty lucky,” admitted Delroy Carr, who was on his first adventure with Cater. “There was one big one we missed because we couldn’t turn fast enough to catch it.
“I’m pretty keen to get back there on another big day, try to do better again.”
Photographer Russell Ord was there to capture the action. His image is now in contention for the ultra-prestigious Awards, which are presented each year for the biggest waves ridden in Australasian waters. The Awards will be judged in February 2010.
Cater’s ride is head-to-head with an epic ride already recorded by last year’s winner, Mark Mathews of Maroubra. Go to the Awards official website to see it and other entries! www.surfinglife.com.au/bigwaveawards.
To help the event ambassador get a start in the prestigious Eddie event this Hawaiian Winter, jump on http://polls.quiksilver.com and vote for Alfy. After taking out the major prize in the Oakley Surfing Life Big Wave Awards two years ago, Alfy is more than qualified to match it with the best at Waimea Bay.
About the Oakley Surfing Life Big Wave Awards
The Oakley Surfing Life Big Wave Awards is an ongoing challenge, now in its 6th year, to reward the riders of the biggest waves in Australasian waters. It runs from May 1, 2009 to January 26, 2010 and culminates in an awards night at Bondi attracting surf stars, celebrities and all walks of media. With a prize pool of $35, 000, there are three major awards; Biggest Wave Ridden, Biggest Paddle-In and Slab of the Year, as well as photographic awards.
Oakley, Inc. designs, manufactures and distributes high-performance sunglasses, prescription frames, goggles and technology-enabled eyewear that utilize the company’s High Definition Optics® (HDO®), a collective platform of patented technologies that offer unbeatable optical performance. The company also produces technical and active apparel, footwear and accessories. www.oakley.com.au
About Morrison Media
Morrison Media is a unique and progressive publishing company. It’s been Morrison Media’s continued commitment to all areas of quality and service that has enabled the company to grow as it has since 1985 when it started with Australia’s Surfing Life Magazine. Morrison Media is Australia’s leading independent action sports publisher with over ten titles across print, online and multimedia. www.morrisonmedia.com.au