My first trip to Gnaraloo was a real eye opener. Such a beautiful place with amazing surf! This is the biggest break I've seen and surfed.
We didn't have ideal weather while we were there unfortunately. A series of very powerful fronts through the southwest coincided with our trip and we felt the effects up north. We had a number of days of strong onshore winds and other days had less than ideal conditions - strong NE or SW winds.
Swell size fluctuated but was a lot bigger in general than when the group had been in 2008. Last year was apparently small everyday and mostly offshore. Would have been ideal for us getting our confidence up. Having only been surfing for 18 months, I was conservative with the conditions I went out in.
I surfed there 3 times over the week and am already dreaming of next year!
Tombstones. To say we were awed is an understatement. There is just so much going on. Lines of swell peeling along, the bombie off to the right, reef, coral, a cliff to climb down; the whole experience is full on.
We stayed in close and caught some reforms on the wide side. The current was fairly strong which meant paddling the entire time to try and position yourself for a decent wave.
Getting out, the tide was low enough for us to climb up the cliff.
Today we paddled out the back with an escort. My dad and uncle showed us the best way to paddle out and where to sit. Managed to get cleaned up by one wave when a set came wide, but otherwise made it out the back fine.
I caught two ~head-high waves, the first I rode straight for some inexplicable reason. This left me with a massive distance to paddle back out. But I wanted to know that I could get out the back again. So I paddled wide like I was told and got there. The second wave I caught was looking really nice, but I needed to be angling more straight away. The wind was making the waves really bumpy and I ended up falling off on the second ride after hitting a speed bump.
Overwhelming experience. Has given me a very different perception of my home breaks.Day 3
After the last session I really wanted to get out there and combine the skills that I have with the confidence to ride the waves we had. The last session I hadn't surfed to my ability but had learnt some important lessons.
Unfortunately the conditions weren't lining up for us and today was bigger than Monday but with less shape. I caught a few waves and fell off them. I caught one in the foam and got angling, but just couldn't quite get around it and onto the face. Went for miles though... then paddled back out. I was chuffed that I was catching the waves, though. Finally I caught a nice one and got angling along the face... right up until it sectioned and I didn't manage to get round it.
This was the last session we got. The other days were either bigger, the wind was screaming onshore or the current was so strong that getting into position would have been next to impossible for me.
I've learnt a lot and can't wait to get out at my home breaks with a different view on what 'big' is. We cut the trip short by a few days as there was no chance of surf with the storms down south. I wasn't ready to come home, but it was the right thing to do.
Hoping for small GLASSY conditions when I head back next year. :) Can't wait to see it at its best in offshore conditions.