David Scard, Cloudbreak Fiji, 20th September 2010.
As all attention points to the recommencement of the Fiji Pro, lets talk about Cloudbreak itself and the history that has been made at the wave. What most people remember is that freak swell of 2012 that saw the Volcom Fiji Pro called off for the day, the best big wave surfers in the world paddle out, and the cameras kept on rolling.
There were some incredible barrels amongst the chaos, and a few stood out, like Ramon Navarro’s incredible forehand tube, for one.
However, without wishing to detract from that momentous session, it’s a different wave altogether that stands out as one of my personal favourite ‘greatest rides’ at Cloudbreak.
David Scard had never surfed out at Cloudbreak before when he arrived for the session of his life. He had spent many long seasons at G-Land, so the goofy-footer knew his way around hollow lefts, but on this day Cloudbreak was 15-20 foot.
Underfoot was a 7’2 Allan Byrne Pelagic Series board, with quite a story behind it. Scardy had taken it out at solid G-land but found that the board was a little unwieldy. “It just didn’t feel right, it was weighed down and I couldn’t pump the thing in the barrel,” remembers Scardy.
The board was then handed over to one of Scardy’s Javanese friends, with a request to rub it back with wet and dry, to maybe take a little weight off it. Jibut, the Javanese friend, did more than give it a rub. He took the sander to it and sanded to bottom, the deck and the rails. Everything except the channels had been sanded.
“It felt like a completely different board and I knew it was going to go amazing now,” said Scardy, adding “but it was going to break on the very first wipeout I took.”
Then Scardy arrived at the newly opened Cloudbreak with a bunch of mates for a 15 – 20 foot session with a superlight shooter. While on the board, Scardy found himself lined up for a big one.
“I took off further up the reef,” said Scardy, “and as I cleared the spray, it looked like it was going to close out, so I started to drive the 7’2 as hard as I have ever driven in my life, and not for a second did I think about the board, it put me where I wanted to be and held it’s line through the best wave of my life!”
Watching that wave on video is quite incredible. It goes to show that there is so much more to the sport than surfers gunning for contest victories, be it at Jaws or Snapper. While the sport of professional surfing, and the World Surf League do play a massive part in the furthering of our sport, of pushing the boundaries and of technological advancement, there are also low-key chargers, like David Scard, ready to have a go when the situation arises. It’s a fearsome wave, the wave of his life, and if he had lost it on the foamball or if the board had folded under him, the resultant wipeout would have been horrendous no doubt.
That wave was nominated for the XXL Ride Of The Year award, but it was actually won that year by Brazilian surfer Danila Couta for a crazy ride at Jaws.
So what happened to the super-light board? “I rode the board again in the Big Cloudbreak swell of 2011,” said Scardy, “and it creased the very second it was hit by a wave.”
The board is now on display at the bar at Namotu.