Gallery: The Clearest Waves On Earth

21 Dec 2015 0 Share

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Gallery and Words by Beau Pilgrim for Corona Journeys

Have you ever found yourself clicking your web browser’s refresh button hoping the average looking long range forecast will turn into something magical?

Last month I found myself doing just that, anticipating the start of the Fiji season. In May, the surf typically pumps in Fiji and this year it was no different. A decent bump in the charts prompted a swell mission and after watching the charts for a day and plenty of phone calls back & forth, we’d got a crew together. It’s amazing how a glistening hope of pumping Cloudbreak 10 days out, can completely alter your mate’s priorities. Luckily the guys at Namotu Island were able to squeeze us in at last minute, which made the trip that much better. If you haven’t been to Namotu I’d highly recommend it. The joint is a tiny island paradise with the nicest people in the world looking after you and there are so many world class waves just a stone throw away.

SEE ALSO: The Most Uncrowded, Perfect Wave Found

We arrived onto the island in the late afternoon with the swell due in the following morning. You always have the good intentions of having an early night before a swell, but with the froth levels high and mates reunited, it wasn’t long before the beers were flowing and the snorkel skull-drags came out to play. There’s nothing better than surf trip shenanigans when old mates are reunited, it’s like you are teenagers again. Needless to say, a few of us were a bit dusty nursing headaches the next morning.

There’s always a risk of forecasts not delivering when you’re chasing a swell, but as we neared closer to Cloudbreak on the early boat, we realised the gamble paid off and we were about to be rewarded with hollow six to eight foot delights. Arriving at Cloudbreak we saw a five wave set steam-roll towards the tower, every wave spitting a massive blowout. The adrenaline was pumping and everyone was hooting. The guys couldn’t scramble quick enough to get amongst it. Everyone was frothing out and I was straight in behind them with my camera. It was textbook Cloudbreak, every set wave draining hollow through the inside section. The guys traded barrels and laughs all morning so thankful they’d jumped on that flight Fiji bound the day before.

The swell dropped off over the next few days and just when everyone was surfed out ready to head home, the charts did a backflip and graced us with an even bigger swell a few days later. We’d come all this way, we couldn’t leave before a big swell. In the following days, conditions got ugly and with the swell came the howling trade winds. Luckily Restaurants likes the trade wind. Restaurants is such a mechanical wave with critical sections and emerging coral heads at low tide. We witnessed the awful consequences of making a mistake out there. Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty- the guy did a good job of breaking his leg. He got a free helicopter ride courtesy of his travel insurance. This wasn’t the only helicopter medivac. A couple of days later there was another broken leg at Namotu Lefts. The run of big swell brought plenty of big waves but also wreaked havoc on the weekend warriors having their annual surf trip to Fiji.

SEE ALSO: First Virtual Reality Barrel At Greenmount

After an extended trip longer than expected, we were all paying the price for living the Fiji dream. Our reef cuts were getting infected, all but only a few surfboards were snapped or dinged, our backs were peeling from sunburn and most of us were carrying an extra kg or two thanks to the vast amounts of delicious food coming out of the Namotu kitchen. It was time to peace out after what was an incredible run of swell, good times and great memories with friends. After this journey, Fiji went up a notch in my books. I’m sure it won’t be long until we’re back again.

Vinaka vakalevu Fiji and Namotu.

Tags: travel , gallery , corona , journeys , namotu , beau , pilgrim (create Alert from these tags)

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