f&$^*ing sweet dude. Feel like I can see this place in my own head now. good sh**Didn't have time to write anything earlier. Post your travel stories/pictures about surfing in lands where there are few/no surfers. To answer the questions:
Yes, I paddled into the first wave pictured. Warm water waves are never as heavy as they look, compared to cold water hammers. The heavy part of that wave was finding a way down the 100ft cliff in the foreground. The middle picture is me in shorts and a t-shirt. Lost my boardies/rashy and good luck finding any sort of surf gear where that wave is. Last one is a view of a pointbreak from up in a mountain temple. The blue box is a shipping container (18-wheeler type) for scale. Now, a story:
Anyone travelled somewhere where surfing was a foreign concept? Considering that even the most frozen or flattest lineup in the United States is clogged with boards, and there are even nutjobs who surf the great lakes in winter, it's hard to believe, but there are many places around the world where there are so few surfers that you can still find that awesome pointbreak or hidden rivermouth that's never been named, and probably never been surfed. Without giving it away, have you ever found such a place?
One such place is a rivermouth near a farming/fishing village somwhere East of Guam. I first spotted the place on a random cross-country drive when we took a turn down a random backroad and ended up on a huge black sand beach with fishing nets and various kinds of equipment and trash strewn about. Where the road ended, the surf slammed into a sandy ledge at the water's edge in a ugly boiling shorebreak that wasn't even skimmable. However, looking through a telephoto lens far down the beach toward the aluvial fan of a rivermouth, I could see, what looked like, an awesome a-frame break, smoking in the offshores breezing down the semi-tropical valley. At a distance of 2 miles, there was no way to tell how big it was or if it was even makable.
Seven months later, I rediscovered the spot on a day when a sizeable swell was sweeping down the coast from a winter storm. On the drive down the coast, I had been high up in a mountain tea house, driving out the cool damp by sipping scalding local tea while spotting the swell throwing up fountains of spray at the huge seawalls of the shipping harbor below. My goal was some better-known breaks downcoast a bit, but I thought it was worth killing off a day making a pilgrimage to that potential secret spot.
After a hour or so of driving the winding cliffside road, I was down in the same mountain valley where I had first spotted the rivermouth break. I drove up onto the beach and parked. Mine was the only car (actually sort of a truck-van "Delica Starwagon" ) around, and probably one of the only enclosed 4-wheeled vehicles in the agricultural valley. Low marine clouds were threatening more misty rain as I grabbed my boardbag and locked everything else up in the van. I could just barely see the break firing in the distance as I set out along that volcanic sand beach.
I walked past endless rice paddies and shrimp farms, which gave way to scrub and piles of loose stones as I passed the levee that protected the fields and villages from the typhoon floods. Navigating the aleuvial fan took some doing as it was full of huge boulders that had washed down from the steep surrounding rainforest-covered mountains. The river was flowing well, and I eventually had to pull out a board and fins to paddle across progressively deeper and more turbulent channels of chilly, steely rainwater. After more walking and paddling, I--at last--made it to the far side of the river delta, and the break.
It was incredible. I can't liken it to any other break, because it was like no other place I've surfed. Maybe a little bit like a heavier, shallower Hammerland in reverse. The swell mounted up and peaked just a few dozen yards out from the cobblestones and sand of the riverbed in a huge detonating closeout. 100 yards down the line to the right, the shoulder went from insane to a possibly makable, well overhead and grinding down the beach in a long steel-grey barrel for another 200 yards (!) that whuffed tube spit like a steam piston. The right-hander that recovered from the bomb closeout in the middle was more pint-sized. A barely head-high clean foamball that futzed out after 50 yards into the same bodyslamming shorey that made up the rest of the beach.
I sat and watched it grind for about 30 minutes before I worked up the courage to paddle out. There was nobody around. This was between giant flood control levees and a mile from the nearest field, let alone the nearest structure. The whitewash was full of cobblestones and sand ripped from the bottom; clearly dangerously shallow and heavy. But that wave looked good and I had walked a long damn way not to paddle out.
I started out on the left-hander to get a feel for the water. The air was mid-70's and the water mid-80's. Eventually I paddled around the closeout and hopped the shoulder well down the line after watching and watching and watching.
It was a hell of a lot faster than I anticipated. I dropped in, executed a speed-line bottom turn, and immediately that grey wall started warping. I pushed the nose down and drove straight down the line. First there was a grey curtain, then a hushed grey tunnel, then a spin cycle of cobblestones and sand.
When it was makable--which was not that often--it was an insane full-speed barrel. Big and long and beautiful. Not the best wave I've ever ridden, but damn good. Punishing, though. After two hours I had a split lip, a couple of noggin lumps, a shiner, and a whole lotta bruises. It was a long walk/swim in, and it was a long limp/swim out. You might have a better time getting there on a scooter or bicycle, which can navigate the narrow paths between rice paddies or get up on top of the flood control structures.
Afterward, I drove on, stopping to describe this spot which I named ("Speed Bump's") and claimed over a big meal with some of my local friends further downcoast.
120 scary-lonely minutes of @$$-kicking tubes probably wasn't worth the huge hike to get there, but that's my spot now. I'm pretty certain that I was the first to surf it, but I bet I won't be the last.
Results 11 to 20 of 59
Jun 4, 2014, 03:42 PM #11
- Join Date
- Jan 2009
- Hilton Head Island - OB, SD
Jun 4, 2014, 06:30 PM #12
O.O ! Radness...
"The swell mounted up and peaked just a few dozen yards out from the cobblestones and sand of the riverbed in a huge detonating closeout. 100 yards down the line to the right, the shoulder went from insane to a possibly makable, well overhead and grinding down the beach in a long steel-grey barrel for another 200 yards (!) that whuffed tube spit like a steam piston."
Jun 4, 2014, 07:40 PM #13Senior Member
- Join Date
- Jun 2013
- Singer Island
Great post there Speed Bump! Great thread. I've boated up to some outer reef passes in the Abacos in the Bahamas. Between the razor reef, and the multitude of sharks, you need to be very careful on your wave selection. Not a place to try new stuff. A very long way from medical care. Just grab rail and watch the reef fly by.
There was this one spot, ****** Island, that sits in the middle of a pass between two long skinny islands, a bit south of Elbow Cay. It juts out of the crystal clear aqua and turquoise water about thirty feet in elevation, all green and lush. There is a right that peels off the north tip of the rock, and empties into the Bay of Abaco.
On the right day at the right tide, it goes off about two feet overhead. The initial drop is sketchy, over shallow reef and in front of exposed rocks. Once you make the first section, it goes hollow and you can get fully shacked with the super colorful reef just below, whizzing by like a blur of candy. Then it goes into deeper water and you can cutback into the last section before you get into the channel, all deep blue. Palm trees line the inner beach where the boat is laying in the white crushed coral sand. Ice cold Kalik Golds await in the cooler, and nassau and black grouper are on ice waiting for the grill to get hot. It's not hacking through the jungle, and it probably has been surfed a few times, but on that day it was Paradise discovered.
Jun 4, 2014, 10:19 PM #14
It's About 2000 miles ENE.
Cool stories, keep them coming! I wouldn't sponge Mexico alone or with just a gf, that's pretty core. The place I mostly explore is very friendly and safe, [most of the] the locals just don't think of the ocean as anything other than a place to fish or something that drowns you. I love boat trips! Expensive but always worth it! I've never boated anywhere outside of Asia. The Bahamas spot sounds awesome! You could sail there from Florida, yourself maybe? Are those passes crowded or is it not really a thing for people to sail there to surf?
Post pics if you got 'em. I couldn't find my long-range shots of the rivermouth, but I'll look again.
There's other spots that I'm pretty sure I was the first to hit, but they weren't as good/interesting/hard to reach. I agree with the dude that said he'd like at least another body or two in the water.
I do have at least one more. I'll post pics later if I can find them and tell the tale afterward.
Jun 5, 2014, 01:16 AM #15Senior Member
- Join Date
- Jun 2013
- Singer Island
The outer islands of the Bahamas are an unlimited wave resource and a fishing, diving and surfing playground very accessible for East Coast Floridians who have water knowledge and saavy. The crossing can be a bit(h, and the bottom is shallow and you can lose a lower unit if you don't know how to read the water. On cloudy days you better just play it safe and drink rum. You must be totally repectful of the fishing regs, or you will spend hard time on the Rockpile eating fishheads. No joke Mon!
There are deep water trenches that hit ledges that go from 600 ft. to 15 foot in a hurry, and nothing between it and Africa. So it throws. There are little islands north of the Abacos, near Walker's Cay, that go off on north swells and hurricane swells. I don't mind mentioning them, because it's not like anyone reading this is gonna load up a boat with homies and take over a break. There is no one...repeat NO ONE... out there and if there is , you will be happy to see them. Except at the town breaks and a few hot spots. But there are epic spots rarely surfed, and only accessible by boat, and only if you know the lay of the land. Hire a guide out of Marsh Harbor. It is pricey, but epic. Fall is dicey due to the fact that they get direct hits from lots of Cat 3 storms, but winter is totally epic. Aussies show up during Christmas and New Years to hit it. Did I mention the rum? Yo Ho Yo Ho, a pirate's life for me!
Jun 5, 2014, 01:30 AM #16
Jun 5, 2014, 10:36 AM #17
Jun 5, 2014, 10:58 AM #18
I spent a month on Eleuthera in the Bahamas back in 1992. Lonely and sharky feeling place to surf. Haven't been back......wonder if it still has the same quiet country vibe.
Jun 5, 2014, 11:45 AM #19
Jun 5, 2014, 02:19 PM #20