There are days and there are days.
A few weeks back the swell in this rather eventful year hit overdrive, with Bells and it's environs occupying an intense purple patch on the swell maps. Four metres at twenty to twenty two seconds saw close to if not twenty foot wave faces.
Only surfing could mix it's measuring systems so perfectly.
Nearby... or should I say somewhere else in Victoria, those who cared knew it was going mad, with waves nearly twice as big. Since we know that wave power is proportional to the wave period and to the square of the wave height, this meant it was packing a mighty punch.
Particularly in the morning. While the tide was low and the wind offshore, the sun not yet hidden by approaching clouds, this wave was a magnificent thing, and luckily someone was there to capture it.
Who, I'm not saying, as a protective bunch of locals have declared it sacred, not to be photographed, though those up to it are free to ride it.
The fact that it has had feature spreads in multiple magazines over the years , is in every surf guide known to man, and is located on a major tourist route seems to mean nothing. It is no real secret, but in deference I'll not name it.
It is one of the more self editing waves in Australia, if not the world, by dint of (in)consistency, isolation, relative cold, and the fact that to get in you jump off a 15 foot cliff into fuck all water. It's a quarter of a mile paddle from there to the take off. To get out of the water, broken board or not, you have a paddle of a mile along a hundred foot cliff line, then a dash across a black channel criss-crossed by the odd chum smeared fishing boat that's been working a coast that could be referred to as the highway one of Australia's great white shark population.
If you fuck up you rescue your self. End of story.
The intimidation factor alone would be sufficient for most if the wave height wasn't enough.
I've never seen it really crowded.. maybe eight or ten in the water at a maximum, and when it get's to tow in size, just a few teams work it, if any.
So why am I sticking up a shot?
Because it is beautiful, and at times something needs to be honoured for what it is, regardless of politics.
The surfer is Ross Clark-Jones, on a four hundred yard run, fleeing a freight train. Maurice Cole made the board.