The day of the competition. A sliver of the moon was our alarm clock; The Milky Way the clock hands, spinning and rotating its way across the sky above my cot. Every couple hours I’d peek one eye out from my sleeping bag hood just to see how the show was going. It was all brilliant.
Andy and I awoke at Mark’s infamous Shackteau. The smell of coffee and the sound of waves were soon thick in the air. By the time we made it to the beach the waves were a solid eight feet with the announcers calling 10 foot sets. A nervous excitement passed from spectator to competitor and back.
Andy the kid- soul’d out, toes on the nose, going for it on his Blackfern 9’2ish.
The perfect heat baking everyone evenly into a haze. It was the only surf competition where I’d seen people, myself included, absolutely petrified of sun rays. We passed a withered bottle of sunblock around like the last air tank in Atlantis. Hiding in hot clothing the irony wasn’t lost on us.
The surf did not subside for the girls’ heat and a sinking tide made the situation a little shifty. The organizers made the mistake of trying to sequester the ladies to the “safer, girl-friendly” corner pocket shore break. No dice. The ladies bolted straight to the outside, some claiming huge waves, others getting swamped by super sets. It was hard to see in the ocean’s glare but I swear I saw a couple of middle fingers pointed in the authorities’ direction.
The crowd eventually regressed into a mass of sun baked zombies searching out beer/brain refreshment. Only Shane made the second round, which he went on to win.
A huge ‘thank you’ to Sarah Elliott for shooting all the surf shots and generally being a good person.
Shane doing his thing on day two.