Location: Cowaramup, West Australia.
Date: Thursday 29th November 2012, epic day!
Words by: Peter Volwater
Images by: Col Leonhardt
Having come to WA to spend the summer, who would have thought we would a taste of winter from a big front late November. In NW Europe the temperatures associated with this kind of weather would be a typical summer’s day but anyway…
The swell forecast exceeded 8 meters, raw roaring 40’s Indian ocean swell; the spot in the South West of WA that works in these conditions and the unusual WSW wind direction is Grace Town.
Grace Town is bay with legendary surf spots, with North and South points on each side of the bay. The South point is the break that can be ridden in SW-W wind from the side, so this is the spot where went to try and pick up the best waves of this forecast.
This area is also infamous for its many shark attacks, don’t worry about that while you’re planing around on a windsurfer….. although when you end up in the water, you can’t stop your mind from wondering.
The front that came over brought lots of rain and even some hail with, at times, gale force winds. In between the squals the weather would clear up and the sun would shine momentarily and the wind would drop and pick back up.
My new wave sail, the Avanti Fenix certainly had plenty of pressure that day, it was big at 5.2 but still handled well, until this massive 45 knot gust came that sent me to the inside, hiding. I found a nice place in a little corner out of the impact zone, where I would park up and wait. With that big of a sail I just had to find those more sunny and less windy moments, while I could have been easily on a 4.5 or even 4.0 in the gusts.
Regularly in Margaret River this is the sail I use the most, usually going out for the early and the late sessions and even in the regular sea breezes this size is right. Today it was more then two hands full!
There was a fine crew of sailors: John and Ian Pott, Ivan Zecca, Maciek Rutkowski and Karin Jaggi all getting their wave count high and shredding it up at this unbelievable peeling wave breaking on the rocks but with quite a wide channel. Out the back the waves where huge but not for riding, we had found our little break on the inside along the rocks. It was the first time I ever sailed this spot, although having surfed here several times before, so I knew the break well.
I find that this is the best size board for my weight, still floating but not too big to ride aggressively.
Col our windsurfing Australia photographer rode a few waves too after snapping the shots and he showed to know the bay really well, just playing with the waves.
Some places were looking absolutely nasty, like the North point break and around the corner hollow barrels pounding on the rocks and roughed coastline.
It was a different taste of conditions that the WA coast has on offer, a lot of places still to be explored; so we will do just that…..to be continued!