As our last NSW WA competition was back in March and with the new season is just around the corner, it comes to pass what has been happening over the winter period?
The last seabreeze of the season was back in April and Gerroa turned it on! Steady 15-18knot NE down the beach and a solid easterly swell generated by a Queensland cyclone. For those who took the punt on the forecast and managed to beat the Easter traffic by leaving early it was a full day of solid wavesailing! Down the beach the swell jacked up to well overhead with a fast almost barrelling line peeling towards Shoalhaven Heads. It was adrenalin overload at times and one of the best day’s sailing I’ve had for a long time. Once the swell hits 3-4’ Gerroa transforms from a fairly placid break that spills onto the beach to become a much more consequential wave with section closeouts and steep, powerful faces to gouge. Seeing over 30 sailors on the water is inspiring.
Summer seabreezes changed to Winter-like southerlies in a matter of days by late May and a group of Sydney sailors overcame the challenges of accessing the outer Long Reef bomboras to score quite a few sessions at Makaha/Voodoos. These breaks work in SW through to SE winds and owing to their exposure off the point of Long Reef headland adds a few knots to any frontal system. For me, I had not seen Makaha break that well in the past and would always end up bogging around Newport Reef given a southerly forecast. This season I wanted something a little more testing.
For all the obstacles that affect this break; lugging gear out to the headland to rig up at the base of the cliffs, stepping gingerly through a rock garden of broken boulders and swimming out to the wind-line, it offers supreme jumping and challenging waves. Dead south winds are best, creating a back-loop heaven as there is plenty of run-up to the waves which stand up for ages. While SW winds create cross to cross-off down the line from behind the rock platform. On occasion Voodoos, a reef 100m out from the point will produce bigger sets, drawing in any east or north east swell which is then compressed and concaves around the reef, jacking up to twice its height. I’ve seen a few local legends launch into huge aerials as the lip throws off this reef.
This winter has seen more than a few southerlies coincide with the weekend to offer epic sailing. But sessions have also been challenging. On more than one occasion I’ve uttered the phrase “never again”, cursing the washing machine conditions that are created by a mixture of the bizarre cross-wave and tide changes. Cursed the gusty, off-shore winds that have meant a 25minute swim back through the rock garden! And dreaded the long walk home back up the headland after a hard couple of hours sailing. There are alternatives of course such as launching in marginal wind from Brownwater for a long beat upwind or a walk along the base of the cliffs over the rock platform. The devil or the deep blue sea in my opinion!
So this winter has offered some awesome sailing northside, if you were prepared for a mission. Southside, Windang has been drawing a lot of attention. Team JP from Victoria even flew up on an ‘epic’ forecast! Cronulla has been popular as ever for those who live south of the Bridge and even Bear Island has been sailed by the truly gifted/crazy!
How has it been for you?