The Lay Days

25 Aug 2011 0

Dusty Payne, heading out for a warm up session on dusk.

Dusty Payne, heading out for a warm up session on dusk.

Words by Nick Gregory

I wake up in the morning to rain and onshores. Stoked… time for a sleep in and a chance to stay out of the sun for a while. But as I contemplate the day ahead, the realization hits: there really is nothing to do in Teahupoo apart from water activities.

I’ve been told of past events enduring ten-day flat spells with constant rain, but even before lunchtime it’s become tropical torture. The surfers find entertainment where they can. There’s a football match going on outside; another crew are playing bocce, while others wander aimlessly with their laptops trying to devine a good wireless signal.

Those that make have make it online check for updates on the massive swell forecast to arrive over the next few days. It  has triggered mixed emotions - some excitement and a lot fear. When Teahupoo hits 8-10 foot + the wave mutates from a friendly, if perilously shallow, left into an unforgiving beast that demands respect.

And it’s not just the surfers who are worried. Rumour has it that on big days sets close out the entire reef, taking down everything in their path, including the media boats which are sitting ducks as the reef is too shallow on the inside for a boat to cross. That Billabong have dismantled the scaffolding towers situated in the lagoon is probably as good a sign as any of the scale of the incoming swell.

Word around town is that Saturday’s forecast is the biggest some of the locals have ever seen. Maybe even too big to tow!

Meanwhile as the sun sets over the logoon Dusty Payne paddles out the one-foot shore break on dusk. A couple of local groms are tearing it up. Every few waves one of them runs up the beach just to give me a high five as I take photos from the beach. It’s a picture hard to reconcile with what the next few days will bring.

- Nick Gregory

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