It’s about to be open season for surfers on the east coast.
Tropical Cyclone Gita, just south of Fiji, is currently spinning at Category 5 strength. The very large, dangerous system has already flattened Tonga. But it’s the large swells that will impact the Qld and Nsw Coast from Thursday onwards that have sent surfers into a spin.
Comparisons have already been made to Cyclone Winston in 2016. That swell melted minds on the Gold Coast, with the Superbank cranking out sand-spitting tubes for days on end. It was the strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded in the southern hemisphere, responsible for 44 deaths and affecting more than sixty per cent of the population of Fiji. These weather events are undeniably a mixed blessing.
It also produced some of the most enviable vision for surfers the world over. Take Mitch Parkinson’s seven barrels on one wave at the Superbank.
Gita, translates to ‘divine song’ in Sanskrit and the forecast sounds divine from a surfing perspective at least. TC Gita is expected to deliver long-period easterly groundswell across the entire east coast. Coincidently almost two years to the date of TC Winston. The beauty of the Gita however is that this swell appears to track west, then south-west as it approaches New Caledonia over the weekend according do Ben Matson’s excellent forecast notes at Swellnet. Translating to a long run of swell and favourable winds.So how does one plot their approach? Do you drive like a maniac, checking every nook and cranny in a 50km stretch, north and south, stick to your local or pack in to the sardine pit at the Superbank?
The Ed, Luke Kennedy, flew from Sydney to the Gold Coast for a quick hit of the Superbank last time SE Qld lit up. He took 4 stitches to the head but kept surfing, stayed at the Greenmount Hotel and ate counter meals at the Rainbow Bay Surf Club. Was it worth it? “Absolutely.” Even John John Florence was in town testing a dozen or so Pyzel shooters ahead of the Quiky Pro.
Personally, it’s the days either side of the peak that get me excited. An outer bank that’s producing gaping wide pits, away from the crowds – all yours if you can keep your lips sealed. “Nah mate, didn’t score anything that good.” The talk down is an underrated art. My tip: Don’t look at social media. Images will deliver stabs of anxiety as each hour, or day passes without you scoring the wave of your life.
One thing is for sure, there’s nothing like a good cyclone swell to remind us how exciting it is to be a surfer. The anticipation of riding waves that have traveled thousands of miles, the smell of a new board and rush of scamming time off work, all for a few perfect waves. It’s why surfing might not really be ‘surfing’ when it’s done in the pool. Sure, Kelly’s wave pool might be the most talked about thing in surfing in 2018. But the reality is as surfers we’ll always be more excited about what might be rather than what we know is in store.