After watching the forecast closely for the past 2 weeks I decided that while there was a chance for some sailing on Friday I'd try to apease the mrs by waiting until Sat to head down for the nationals. Started Friday working on the house only to receive a txt from Thomas saying that Kina was firing and he was in tears! Needless to say I started missing nails with the hammer and putting holes in fresh plaster. Time to call it a day, advise Nina that I'm off and hit the road.
The drive down was pretty smooth, spagetti junction to New Plymouth in exactly 4 hrs, not bad for a little old van and no speeding. Met up with Sam, Peter, Tony, John and Ajay at the Wave Haven at about 8:30 while Kora could be heard 3km away at the concert they were playing at Butlers, everyone was pretty stoked with the afternoon's single elimination although the wind sounded a little on the light side for some, Saturday was looking good.
Tony and I were the first to arrive to be greeted by a stiff almost offshore breeze and some great looking waves, we sat around checking the conditions for a while trying to work out what to rig, and to commence the sphincter workout as we watched some MASSIVE sets roll through. Decided that 4.7 was the call so we all started rigging. James and Dirk rocked up and headed out as I made my way to the water, watched them grovel out and quickly decided that a bit more power would be a good idea so threw up the 5.3.
Comp was on at the North reef and I was right into it in the 2nd heat, scored a couple of waves but I was finding it a bit tricky to pick them as I wasn't game enough to get right in the middle of the break with the mast and a quarter + monsters rolling though. Sailed my heat headed in only to be told that I'd made it through and to head back out, did that a few times, not sure how many heats I made it through but ended up getting knocked out after 3-4 rounds as I just couldn't get a wave as the wind started to back off a little. I really do need to get out in the waves more often, once or twice a year is just not enough and definitely not enough time to get into the groove.
Headed back to the beach and grabbed Thomas's 60D and my 400mm lens to take some pics. We had a great vantage point from the top of the dunes of the action with everyone charging hard, and doing their time in the impact zone too.
Big ups to Paul Hunt who was pushing it harder than most and paying the price for it too with 3 damaged sails, one broken mast, a few broken battens over the two days. He took a particularly large set on the head at one point and his board popped off the rig and left him with a very long swim back, needless to say the sail didn't come back in that great a state but thankfully he was ok and the board was unscathed too.
We all got a bit of a laugh too as some locals came racing up the beach on their motocross bikes past us, the first guy racing over the stones/sand amongst the shallow water after a wave almost lost it in a deep spot but managed to recover before going down. His girlfriend following behind wasn't quite so lucky hitting a deep patch of water right in front of us all and going head first into a 1ft wave as it broke on to the beach to a roar from everyone watching. She ended up taking about 6 waves on the head while trying to get out, as a few of the guys headed down to help her carry the bike out of the water as it was stuck in gear.
Awesome to see Sam and Peter out there tearing it up too on their first trip to the Naki, pretty impressive stuff guys and congrats to Peter for winning the Youth title at his first event.