Chop Hop

A bad mix of small wind-chop-come-swell and onshore winds early. Unfortunately it’s only going to get worse with a 30 knot blast later this afternoon.
Difficult to shoot in the morning when it’s so damn dark. Even after cranking the ISO up to 1600+ on the Mark 3 and you’re still too slow to capture anything decent. (that’s camera geek talk people).
Bondi has a pile of sand really far out the back off Icebergs. On a decent swell it may connect with the inside. We hope. Tomorrow the south swell machine will pump a few 5/6 footers into the bay…Sunday even bigger 6/7 footers BUT the winds will be onshore and showers. Not pretty.
The Present
Thomas Campbell (Tmoe) is a fine craftsmen. He’s made beautiful films such as Sprout, and Thicker than water and now for his latest trick – THE PRESENT. Get your first look at the film next Monday at Randwick Ritz 7pm buy tickets online | More info
Support Youth Off The Streets
Charity event at Bondi Surf Bathers’ Life Saving Club this Sunday raising money for “Father Chris Riley’s Youth Off The Streets”. 40 works of art created by the homeless kids themselves are up for auction. Music, prizes, drinks…everyone welcome. 4pm to 10pm for more info Georgia Bruton on 0404004030, or [email protected]

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Dozer Dumps

Not a very inspiring morning down the beach.
Bondi was 2 foot and messy…the banks are totally shot.
I’m hoping that the bulldozer moving sand back in the water may create something…anything…cause surely its gotta be better than what we’ve currently got.
The swell is from the ESE, so Tama/Bra would show more size (maybe 3 footers). Southerlies will blow today…maybe a chunky south swell on the weekend – but onshore winds flanking at this stage.
Mentawais pumped this week
Those filthy animals on Tengirri scored Rifles this week in the Mentawais. I love that wave. I’ve only got it on once in 10 trips (but checked it 30 times). It’s the break that Kelly Slater gets 3 barrels on the one wave – the clip that kicks off the Young Guns II movie. Yep that one. It has to be one of the longest tubes in the world…make the first section and you think you’re in the clear before it throws once more…make that one…and then what, another section throws over…will it ever end? Oh well. The thing that sucks is that I could have stayed on the boat for this swell, damn work getting in the way of good waves.
Thanks for the photos Philthy (Charter boat Tengirri). Ruined my day ::uge

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The Blake Show

Meet Blake, Blake Thornton. He’s a good surfer and good bloke from Maroubra who’s doin’ well on the WQS at the moment. Like a 5th in The Margaret River Masters, 25th in the Quiky Pro (Durban) and a 3rd in the O’Neill Highland Open in Scotland. 24 year old Blake’s dream is to make the WCT qualification soon so let’s hope it becomes a reality with his clean lines and good attitude. Blake’s Sponsors: NRG, Gideon, Andrew Harris Surfboards, Westsuits, Payot
Needless to say there were some decent waves down at the Bra this morning. Currently a small to mid range ESE swell is hitting town (11 second period). Winds are perfectly offshore W/SW – but a south change is due later this afternoon – spoiling these clean conditions. Tomorrow will be smaller and possibly onshore. So right now is the go!
Later: uge

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Bankless in Bondi

What great conditions we have this morning. Super clean, smooth surfaces…decent supply of ESE swell (9.1 sec period)…and the sunshine has even come out to join the party. How disappointing are the banks though? The weekend’s storms have robbed Bondi of any decent sand formations – especially that tubing left in the corner – which is now a dysfunctional closeout. If I wasn’t coming down with the flu I would have driven somewhere decent…maybe down the coast. I should think so many places would have a decent wave today…
Tomorrow is another good surfing day, could even be a tad bigger with WSW offshores forecasted. (and a 11 second period – yeha! Should have some push)
Bali’s Strickland’s Slow-Mo Footage
How good is this slow motion footage of Dylan Longbottom from behind the wave. Best angle to see the mechanics of a wave breaking. VIEW FOOTAGE

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Offsnore

After days of onshore bashing finally the winds are offshore at Bondi (NW/NE). Yes… offshore! So you don’t have to hide out at novelty harbour surf breaks and brave the exposed beaches.
There is still very few options on the cards though…Bronte was all over the shop, Tama same same, South Bondi was very random and breaking way out the back (4 foot). A tidy little lefthander towards the north end of Bondi was the go – but sets were quite infrequent and only 2-3 foot.
Have a good week…::uge

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Waterlogged

Not much to talk about this morning. I mean, Sydney is still being bashed by rain and onshore winds. The only surfers out are at North Bondi – not sure if I’d call that surfing.
With all this wind the ocean swells are rising. Tomorrow is the peak of it and 10 foot plus waves ware forecasted. Shame that 20 knots of ESE will make surfing options very limited. Spectacular to watch though.
Sunday the winds shift around more to the north – which means south facing beaches may have some protection. Pretty wild stuff though. Winter is in full effect.
The Aquabumps Gallery, as always, is open all weekend 10am to 6pm and resides at 151 Curlewis Street right in the heart of Bondi.

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Ghastly

Seen better days that’s for sure… The wind and rain are taking over this town. Last night I thought my windows were going to cave in. At least the salt has been washed off the car, momentarily.
The winds are howling easterly, which pretty much give you no options for surfing today. The swell is building and waves were around 4-5 foot at exposed east locations. But wow, what a foaming mess. The board would blow clean out of your hands before hitting the water. Fughedaboudit. Wait until the wind dies down…
Here are some images of that island we found a couple weeks ago – not a soul in sight…just a long left and right wrapping around the island.
Yoga By the Sea
Yoga by the Sea will be running more indoor classes now that winter is here. You can find Sasha either indoors at Tamarama SLSC or outdoors at Icebergs. I have to admit I’ve started doing a few classes after years of harassment, and it definitely makes you more flexy in the surf. Ask Gerry Lopez. website

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Slippery when wet

Surfing shouldn’t be high on your ‘list to do’ today. It’s probably tucked in there under ‘wash the car’ or ‘alphabetically sort your cd collection’. Pouring rain at daybreak, howling winds and 3 foot mush-slush. Not pretty. Usually storms at this time of year come from the south, but this one is from the NE bringing a NE swell with it. From today onwards it progressively gets larger to 7-8 foot on the weekend…shame the wind is flanking and should butcher any signs of joy.
Sit tight, focus on work or finding work….here is some fresh, wet images from the glorious Mentawais (gotta love that joint – love it even more on days like theze)::uge
PS – Bobby Martinez just won ‘Chopes over Taj! That’s the second time he’s taken that tour stop. I was there when he won it in 2006 and he’s amazing at ‘Chopes…surfing his frontside, he gets hell deep.

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Poolside

A little 2-3 footer was breaking in the southern corner of Bondi, in front of The Icebergs, short-lived though…as a 15-20 knot Easterly made a mess of things early today.
Large crew out early enjoying the shallow sand bank that is throwing a lip (rare), making the head dip the manoeuvre of choice.
Not much fun to be had now (11:30am) so best watch the Billabong Pro ‘Chopes heats in Tahiti (Tour stop 3). Watch Online Now
Have a great day :: uge

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Corner Lips

That swell arrived Saturday afternoon and is continuing to grow. Bondi was 3-4 foot today and a lil’ junky (gettin’ bigger). The left in the corner randomly threw a wide lip whilst most closed out on the bigger sets. Cold morning, brrr, and very few people out. The water remains a balmy 21 degrees though…quite warm for this time of year.
High tide 3:30pm, low tide 9am. Winds are going to blow 15 knots from the E/SE (that ain’t good). Minimum of 11 degrees on land with a top of 21. (the claws of winter loom – was just getting used to the tropics dammit)
If you had a big one on Friday night you wouldn’ve witnessed the most amazing sunrise on Saturday down at Bondi. The skies broke out into a huge fireball.
Adios::ugios

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south magnets

If you were up for the early you would have found some fun little 2 footers down at Bondi. Bondi loves these SSE swells, squeezing every ounce of a dying bump. Todays waves are short lived –  by lunchtime there will be nothing left and flatness will prevail this afternoon.
Most other beaches would have been flat today after a decent week of surfing (So I hear).
Tomorrow morning will suffer the same spell of flatness before a new arvo mini swell arriving…Sunday should be some with 5 footers (S) and WSW winds (12 sec period – yeha – now ya torkin). Start of next week looks mighty fine as well. Great to return from Mentawais to some decent wave forecasts.
The Aquabumps Gallery is open all weekend as always, 10am to 6pm both Saturday and Sunday. Right behind the Bondi hotel on Curlewis Street (151)

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Tropical thunder

Today’s update concludes our 10th annual pilgrimage to the Mentawai Islands off Sumatra (sigh of relief I hear from some of you). It always amazes me how perfect and consistent the waves are up here. Out of all my travels, not many destinations offer good waves…every day – with such variety. Even when the swell dropped right back we had 3 foot a right hander to play with. We surfed 10 breaks in 11 days – there are fat waves up here, there are massive drainpipes for the chargers, there are crowded waves and some places you will not see another human.
Special thanks to Tengirri, our charter boat. This 47 feet powercat is one of the best operators up here. Run by two Aussies, Philthy and Jeff, they will find you what ever surf you want …get sick of crowds at Maccas then spend the arvo surfing a 300-meter right hander in isolation. They’re pretty booked out this year but are currently taking bookings for 2010. Contact Anthony [email protected] or check out their website www.tengirri.com
Also thanks to Telstra for providing the satellite technology that enables these images to be beamed back to you via outer space. It’s always a trip using satellites and laptops when there’s a local in a dugout canoe sitting next to me asking for a can of soft drink.
How do you get here? The best route I’ve found is through Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. Flights are currently ridiculously cheap on Malaysian Airlines (at the moment) and then you catch a short flight to Padang, a port in Sumatra. From there Tengirri look after everything and you don’t have to lift a finger for 11 days.
See you back in Bondi ::Uge

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badai

Sumatra is famous for storms being so close to the equator. (We’re currently 1 degree south of it) It can be perfectly sunny one minute, then horrendously stormy the next.
Today a storm rolled through the Mentawai Islands – but didn’t leave. Makes getting a wave quite difficult as the dead calm glass turns into a field of whitecaps. I am sure it will clear soon. Backgammon and dvds until then (good time to rest the arms). Here are some shots of when the sunshine (Mata Hari) has been out showing off the Indonesian colours.
Have a great week.
Bondi reports return soon :: uge

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Jungle rights

Yep – we’re still up here in Indonesia cruising around the group of islands off Sumatra called the Mentawais. We’ve been on the boat for 8 days now, and only set foot on land once. Today’s surf break is a long righthander that grinds down the side of a picturesque tropical island – probably one of the most beautiful islands up here – think I’ll retire on it. There is no village – just jam packed with coconut trees. You can ride some of these waves for 250 metres!
Cloudbreak
If you want to surf one of the best lefthanders in the world – CLOUDBREAK, Surfection Mosman has booked out Tavarua for a week (30th May to 6th June), and they’re looking for surfers. Land package for 1 week is $4000AUD + airfares. Contact Julian at Surfection Mosman directly (not me) if you’re keen. [email protected]
Back soon ::uge

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isolation

After surfing a mechanical left all morning the crowds got a bit heavy so we headed north. 1hr of motoring and we came across a remote idyllic paradise island with a 300 metre right hander down one side and a short left down the other. (not a soul in sight). The kind of setup you dream about. The island is tiny, 2000 sqm and its jam packed with coconut trees. Clear blue water surrounds the island and a clean sandy beach is on the protected side. Perfect.
Neighbouring the island was a small village hidden behind dense palms. It was home to a Japanese soldier, who was posted out here during the war and never left. He only died last year at the age of 82. If you were to get left behind anywhere – this place would be the go. Apparently, he didn’t know the war was over until many years after.
The Aquabumps Gallery is open all weekend 10am to 6pm should you need to get your Ma anything for Mother’s Day. 151 Curlewis Street, Bondi Beach telephone 02 9130 7788

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Back on

The swell came back today up here in the Mentawai Islands. (Thankfully). The 25 boats in the area travelled overnight to their favourite breaks spread out in the archipelago. We arrived at dawn to a 3 foot mechanical left which is so perfect, it’s as if it was engineered specifically for practising your backhand whacks. (Not to mention a cheeky tube upon take off).
This break named after the tubular shape of pasta has featured in so many surfing DVDs – yet it’s really in the middle of nowhere. Not a building in sight or a person on land. Just a big neighbouring swamp with a few crocs.
Have a good day :: uge

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Intermission

It doesn’t happen often…but today the Mentawais have gone all quiet. After a few days of hollow bliss it is time to rest and watch a whole season of Underbelly. Not much else to do in a 20 square metre cabin with 6 surfers.
Swell charts show a small pulse arriving tomorrow…and we’re at the biggest swell magnet break waiting for it. Back to the DVDs. Have a great day :: uge

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Indonesian Blu

The weather in the Mentawai islands is highly unstable – normally, but we’ve had a good run of clear skies and relatively little wind. This combination makes for clear underwater visibility – great for shooting chargers flying down the line – from behind. It all happens quickly, focussing can be tricky as fins thrash before you.
No scuba gear was used to get these shots (common question). The Jaws of these waves would impale me with all that gear on my back, making the sanctuary of reef cracks hard to squeeze into when a big set rolls through.
The Mentawais have waves year round but the dry season (March-November) has some of the most consistent surf as the winter storms off West Oz provide some decent long period swells. 2 weeks ago they had a swell that hit a 19 second period. (In comparison, we class a 12-second period good in Bondi). Therefore, the swells that break here have travelled a very long distance, refining as they travel, and arriving in Indonesia as perfect, powerful waves. (not a place for beginners)
In my experience, I find May the month that always has one massive thumpin’ swell – generally following the 1st storms of winter. Fingers crossed. Later:: uge

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men-tah-why-s

Welcome to the Mentawais…for the next 12 days Aquabumps will be drifting in the Indonesia archipelago searching for decent waves.
Based 90 miles off Sumatra, these islands host some of the best waves in the world. Not much else out here…plenty of coconut trees, razor sharp coral reefs and warm water.
Our first day was on fire…waves were 4-5 foot and piping. A good way to dust off the travel scum. Mentwais isn’t the easiest place to get to… 2 planes and a 12hr boat ride.
Have to go…boat is rocking and we’re on the move. ::uge

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