The early bird gets the worm, or does he?
On the rise of the full moon last week I surfed The Pass with about 60 other people, who, true to their location, were all riding a wonderfully weird variety of surf crafts. As the sun dipped below Wollumbin (Mount Warning), and the orange moon rose gloriously behind the lighthouse, everyone paused and caught their breath. No doubt that many of the more esoteric Byronians nodded in understanding, finding celestial reason for their recent madness. As dark descended, the water all around became a muted grey, the waves barely perceptible as they bent around the point. I only had the guts to stay out till just after dark, but others were more brave.
The following morning a mate headed to the Superbank for a session at the witching hour. At 3:30am he paddled out to a grinding Snapper line-up. By this stage the moon had drawn an arc across the sky, and was beginning to fall again in the northwest. A column of moonlight, making it just possible to navigate in and out of the tube, lighted up the rushing faces of the waves. For the most part however, it was an exercise in feeling and perception, in body and memory knowledge. Still, as he paddled through the black line-up, he made out many bobbing figures – at least 30 guys. As it turns out, even at night time at the Superbank, there’s always someone on your inside.
What else happens at Snapper during the wee hours? Well, that fading species of riders – bodyboarders – come out of the woodwork. Stand up surfers certainly reign supreme between regular surfing hours, and as such you’ll rarely see a lidder snag a quality wave without getting burnt. And so they resort to surfing under the cover of darkness.
Even with all the shark hysteria of recent months, fear of feeding time seems superseded by the desire to score a keg courtesy of ex-tropical cyclone Winston. We learnt the following day that at midnight there were around 60 people surfing, the majority of night riders preferring to stay up later rather than wake up for the super early. By the time the sun immerged early on Wednesday morning, and the bodyboarders crept back to their lairs, the line-up was heaving with hundreds of surfers jostling for a wave at what some are describing as the best the Superbank has ever been.