Saturday, April 18, 2015

4n18 15 morning call + old desert point report

No action shots from yesterday, so I post 5 years old Yannike catching her first wave thanks to a timely push from the blog author. Her smile after that was priceless.

Buoys. I got a feeling you guys don't click on the buoy graphs when I post them (and you have to if you want to read the content of them), so I'll stick to the numbers.
6.3ft @ 10s from 312° (NW)

3.2ft @ 11s from 322° (NW)
1.3ft @ 14s from 313° (NW)
4.7ft @ 8s from 29° (NNE)

4.6ft @ 7s from 71° (ENE)
4.1ft @ 9s from 53° (ENE)
3.3ft @ 11s from 329° (NW)

3f 11s from 329 is about head high at Hookipa.

So some leftovers from this lovely NW swell are still here. And tomorrow there's another NW swell on the rise all day. Smaller than the previous one, even though that fetch up there looks pretty good to me.
Also a bit of energy still pushed our way from down south, but that fetch did what it had to do. Super slow rise starting sunday, but the good days will start from Monday, I believe. stay tuned for updates.

Just want to point out an extreme low tide at 8am this morning.
MC2km map at noon shows some serious wind. Gonna be horribly windy for a while.
I do want to post the graph of the Samoa buoy to show that the south swell is on its way. 
5.7ft @ 15s from 189° is a healthy reading. Still learning this buoy, not sure what that is going to be. I hope one or two feet and 18-20 seconds as early as Sunday, but super inconsistent as all starts of south swells.

A friend of mine found and liked my report from Desert Point I posted on facebook last summer and since I don't even think I put it on this blog, here it is, in case you missed it. Just one photo, maybe one day I'll load more.


This is my report of a 4 four days trip from Bali to Desert Point on Lombok at the end of July.

I left at 7am from Seminiak on a rented scooter and by 9am I was on board of the ferry at Padang bay. The road was pretty good and two lanes most of the time.
The ferry took 4.5h and was a fairly smooth ride. Cost was something like 10 bucks, bike included.
Once on Lombok (Lembar harbor), the road to Desert Point took me 2 good hours. The start of it had plenty road works on and off and I was afraid it was going to be all like that, but fortunately soon got a lot better. The very last part though, was all dirty road (and some steep uphill/downhill) and it took me 30 minutes just to do that. With a proper bike would have been a lot better, but all it takes to make a scooter like the one I had go down is a small rock under the front wheel, so I went super slow and careful. Pretty much walking speed, to be clear.

Once in Desert Point, there were plenty of accommodation possibilities. They were all comparable and, I believe, all managed by the same group of families. I chose a basic room, which had its own bathroom for 150,000 IDR. At the end of the stay, including meals and drinks I spent a total of 300,000 IDR/day. That's about 30 bucks and, believe it or not, that makes it kind of expensive for the Indo standards.

The forecast was calling for 5f 12s for the first couple of days and for 7-9f 15s for the last two. I liked the fact that I was going to have the chance to practice and learn the spot with a much weaker swell before the big one hit. And that did help, even though the waves the first two days were smaller than I expected. Desert Point needs a longer period in order for the waves to wrap and hit the reef. Nothing new really, I should have expected that.

Here's a brutal list of rather objective pro's and con's:

- in order for the conditions to be good, many things have to line up: tide (low), swell (big and long period from SW), wind (offshore). If just one of those elements is not there, it turns into a pretty average (but still dangerous) wave.
- when all the above stars lineup, there's always a big crowd of extremely good surfers that show up at the camps. The energy in the water is pretty aggressive and there's paddle battles at the peak pretty much for every wave. Fortunately not all the waves are makable all the way through, so you can sit down the line and be ready to jump on a wave that closed out on someone. Even then, you still need to be lucky to the one closest to peak though.
- when the tide is high, the wave is still surfable, but it's usually smaller and way mushier. Not what you go to Desert Point for. That means, 6 hours of guaranteed down time every day.
- the wave works best at low tide and that means that while you're riding a wave, you're looking at one foot of water in front of it, with occasional dry spots. The chances of ending up being all cut up after a wipeout are pretty high. Shoes and wetsuits are strongly recommended
- if the waves are bad, there's pretty much nothing to do. The really bad road just before the camps, made me feel like I was in a bit of a prison, because I did not want to risk a flat tire just for a bit of exploration.
- launching (or getting stuck inside after a ride) is pretty gnarly. You walk on the reef until you're in knee high water. Then you have to wait for a lull in the sets, run until waist high water, paddle like crazy hoping a new set doesn't materialize before you reach the lineup. If it does, you're in trouble. The wave will suck the water out and there won't be enough to duck dive. Ditching the board and jumping over the white water is your best bet, but you can still get tumbled on the reef. It is also true that the distance between the reef and the lineup is really short, so if you time it right, most times you're ok.

- if the waves are good and you manage to catch some, they will be some of the best waves of your life
- the waves are very close to the shore, and that makes it fun to watch, comment with the other surfer dudes and photograph

Here's some more personal considerations.
I'm not a barrel rider. I actually never got barreled in my life... yet. Also because I have a very strict barrel claiming policy: in order to claim a barrel, one needs to be deep enough to fully see the water curtain on the beach side of the barrel and most importantly, make it out of it.
Desert Point is definitely NOT a good wave for your first barrels. Sandy beach breaks would be much better for that. Nonetheless, I had some really good waves, all of them ridden just in front of the barrel. And I saw some amazing barrel riding. Never been so close to so many people pitted so deeply. That was incredibly entertaining and inspiring. So inspiring that towards the end of the session of Sunday afternoon (the one that offered the most epic waves), I decided to overcome the fear and just go for it.

So I caught a smaller one (head high) and right at the drop I started to slow down like crazy with my hand in the face of the wave and I finally managed to get completely covered.
While my eyes were still focused on the section of the wave in front of me, my peripheral vision allowed me to be aware of the following two things:
1) the water surrounding me (cool)
2) the rocks under less that a foot of water on the inside of the section right in front of me (not cool)

I read so many descriptions of what it feels like being in a barrel. Things like "the time stops", "best feeling in the world", "once you are in there, you will always want to be there again" and so on.
My feeling in that moment is very easy to describe. It was pure terror. 100% uncontaminated terror. Clearly induced by the awareness of how shallow the water was right in front of the wave and how dangerous of a thing I was doing. That was what I felt inside the barrel. And that was nothing compared to what I felt when I wiped out without making it out of the barrel!
I was very fortunate and did not hit the reef. When I came out of the wipeout, I found myself in less than knee high water and felt like I was being blessed by a miracle. Didn't feel like pushing my luck again and got out of the water and switched to a more relaxing photo shoot.

So, as you probably guessed, this wave was a bit too much for me. I had a similar feeling towards G-Land when I went there. But I did much better at Desert Point. G-Land is way faster. Even Balangan is faster. What's extreme about Desert Point is not the speed of the wave, but how shallow it is and how gnarly the consequences of a wipeout can be.
I surf because it's fun. The most fun thing I can think of, actually. Surfing Desert Point was fun at times, but frightening most times. It depends very much on your skills and how much of an adrenaline junky you are.
I'm very happy I went. I'm even happier I survived without reef scars. And I don't think I'm going back. Unless I become A LOT better than I am now. But even if I do, the place is just too fickle and crowded. I'll leave it to the pro-level surfers that I saw in the lineup.

That's my report, I hope you appreciate it. Aloha.

1 comment:

Harald said...

Go girl! Thanks for the updates, Giampaolo!