Yes, it has happened: I am officially surfed out. This might have something to do with the fact that I have surfed twelve times in the past eight days, with at least four of the sessions being 2+ hours and EPIC.
As you very well know, I was pretty sick for a while and, after Mark went back to Canada I was all alone on the boat and feeling a bit blue. I thought to myself, what do I need to do to make myself happy? Of course the answer was easy - I just needed to get some good waves - but this is easier said than done.
Although the surf forecast for the week looked pretty bad, I booked a surf trip with New Zealand Surf Tours. I figured that if anybody was going to get good waves that week, they would. After dishing out $700 NZ (a huge splurge for me) I packed up my surfboards, wetsuits and guitar and watched a surf flick to get amped on a surf trip.
On Monday morning our little tour bus surf-mobile picked me up at the head of the dock (one of the reasons why I picked the tour). I met everybody, loaded up my ridiculous amount of gear, and we headed out to Ahipara on the West Coast of New Zealand.
The surf lodge where we stayed is at the south end of 90 Mile Beach, just north of Shipwreck Bay. Remember Shippies? My favorite place in NZ? Unfortunately the swell was too small for Shippies to be breaking, but in the evening we loaded up the boards and headed north up 90 Mile Beach.
90 Mile Beach is exactly what it sounds like - a 90 mile stretch of beach that curves around in a big arc, catching all sorts of swell angles and creating thousands of empty peaks to surf. Our first surf was at Waipapakauri, which was the very first surf ever for many people on the tour. Out of the eight of us there were three Swedes, two Brits, a Chinese guy and me (representing USA!). It was pretty amazing to watch the progress of these people throughout the week. From never having touched a surfboard to paddling out the back and catching green waves in four days... just goes to show that with the right equipment and good waves anybody can surf.
Basically all I did from Monday through Friday was surf, eat, drink and sleep. On Tuesday we surfed Waipapakauri again with sunshine, light offshore winds and chest to head high peaks rolling through. The waves were super fun, and the thing that blows my mind about New Zealand is how uncrowded the waves are. There were miles and miles of waves, peeling perfectly down the beach, without anybody on them. I got to the point where I stopped paddling for every good wave that came my way because I knew there would be one soon after that was all for me. I don't think I have ever had a session like that before. And I really, really like it.
On Wednesday the surf was not great but it was a great day anyway. I woke up fairly hungover, watched a movie, ate breakfast and then Rangi - our tour guide and New Zealand wave expert - drove us to the east coast to surf. The surf was average as so we didn't surf for too long. Back at the lodge I ate a huge lunch and then took a four hour nap, waking up just in time to go for an evening surf. After surfing the east coast again we came back, ate dinner, had a few beers and fell into a blissful sleep. Seriously, Wednesday I did absolutely nothing but eat, sleep, surf and drink. Such a good day.
Shit this is getting really long. Sorry. You know how I can ramble when it comes to surfing. Thursday was an epic day as well. I was expecting the surf to be weak again like it was on Wednesday, but in the morning Rangi told me it would be good on the east coast. I didn't believe him. He told me to chill out, that during the day the wind would switch offshore and then die altogether, making the waves good. I still didn't believe him, but went along with it.
When we got to the beach it was definitely cleaner than the day before, with chest to head high peaks coming through and of course, not another soul out. I paddled out for a bit but as the waves were not amazing, I went and got one of the guy's underwater camera and started taking surf shots of everybody. I got a few awesome shots of my friends wiping out, and a few of them charging like rockstars.
After I got back out on my surfboard something happened and the waves turned on. For the next 4 hours I caught wave after wave after wave - perfect, lined up lefts and fast, down-the-line rights. You know it is a good day when your hardest decision is whether to go right or left. After 4 hours of surfing we were all hungry, so Rangi went to the market and came back with a huge pile of fish and chips. We all stuffed ourselves full of the hot, salty food and took a rest before paddling back out for one last session.
The last session of the day was perhaps the most epic. Perfect lefts and rights, just me and my surf buddies taking every wave we wanted. So fun. On the way back to the lodge we had a few celebratory beers before getting serious - we had to go big as it was our last night.
I woke up Friday morning feeling a little under the weather and so surfed out that I didn't bother going for one last session. I was sufficiently surfed out. We all packed up and headed back to Whangarei/Auckland, where I was reunited with Mom and Dad. It might be hard for you to imagine that I was excited to see them, but it has been three months since I have seen Mom and two since I have seen Dad! After living within 50 feet of them for a year, I missed them! We have been having a nice time ever since. And now that they are back I have a car again, so I can surf whenever I want. Like today. : )