It was a bit of a last minute call and the only reason for the final decision was that I knew I'd be calling myself a big girly wuss if i didn't go.
So at 1:30pm I called Diggers back and said we should head over the coast.
The forecast SE wind wasn't ever really gonna get strong. At 8am it was reporting 19knts at Lake Ferry and that was as strong as it got. Swell on the other hand was forecast the day before to be 1m... kinda marginal. Buy 7:30am it was 2m with bigger on on some sets.
So our options were a light wind onshore windsurf at Lyall in small swell. Or load up all the toys and head over to Palliser Bay. With our bases covered, SUPs, 89L wave boards and all or rigs crammed in we were off!
On the way over we were preying that it wasn't blowing 8-15knts... that would have sucked, too windy for SUPing and not enough for windsurfing... one thing for sure is the swell was there.
We made the drive in a record 1hr 25min and were met with what looked like a smallish swell and high tide at Whatarangi... oh crap we thought. Then a big dark line appeared on the horizon and a proper set rolled in.... OK it was looking A LOT bigger than last time.
The wave was 'slightly' wind affected with a small bit of chop on it and the wind was cross off at maybe 5knts. That was within SUPing range.
We suited up and headed out, staying pretty wide as we made our way out to the line up. First few rides were easy ones and as the session went on we waited out further and deeper for the BIG BOYS.
After a front rolled through the skies cleared and what wind there was disappeared... SUNNY, GLASSY WHATARANGI AGAIN!!!!!!
Diggers and I hooked into too many waves to count, some pretty big. One set in particular was solid.
We were waaay out the back when this sneaker sprung up, usually you can see the sets rolling in as the peel down the coast in massive lines toward you (the whole stretch of coast is one big-ass point break, we reckon you could windsurf down the line for about km in the right wind direction).... anyway, this set sprang up out of no where.
We both paddled for the same wave, Diggers was deeper. As I looked over at him he was right at the peak, up on the top of the shoulder paddling like mad to get down the face before it sucked up and he was toast.... I'm sure I heard a small squeal from his directions at one point. Anyway, he caught it and after learning from past mistakes of being too deep, he bombed it 'big wave styles' down the line to get past the first section... He made that too and rode the wave for 150-200m right to the cliffs on the inside. EPIC!
That wave was BIG!... as I watched from behind (trying to not get eaten by the next few coming through) I roughly measured the height of the back of the wave. It would have been about the height of my SUP standing on its end... over 10ft!!!! I have no idea how big the face was but it was solid.
The odd thing about waves that big is that they don't feel that big when you're on them, luckily there weren't too many of those sized sets or we would have had some nasty drillings for sure.
Even still, there were some good rinsing on the middle sized waves... a couple of late drops, free falling on a 10'6 plank is interesting, preying the nose doesn't pearl.
At the end of the session the swell was dropping and luring is in deeper and closer... we wearily kept an eye down the coast bigger sets and managed to get a few more big ones before the wait became longer and longer.
As the sun began to get closer to the horizon we chose our last waves and headed in for a cold-ish beer on the beach. My last ride was OK but Diggers scored a beauty from way out the back right into the cliffs, he must have paddled into 2-3 reforms for an epic long ride going both left and right... any short boarder surfer would have been droooling.
It was another amazing session at Whatarangi. We should have taken more pics but we were having too much fun. Also it was a bit risky staying on the inside too long, some of the bigger waves were breaking from the point and joining up with the Bombie!!!... massive closeout waves that cleaned up anything sitting on the inside. Next time we'll take turns with the flippers and helmet and get in close.
Check out Diggers session log here: http://www.sessionlogs.com/spot-7452/Whatarangi-Stand-Up-Paddle-Boarding-session-by-Diggers