One often wonders what is truly out there beyond the seas horizon. Decades of the world of surfing have passed and interwoven into the past are the rumours and tales about fabled waves on the farthest reaches of Tasmania’s coast. It has since become an all encompassing search for these fabled waves, some with success, others with disheartening failure. ‘Half waves’ and ‘Tassie wave’ were thrown around the air to describe the disappointment however occasionally quality waves would pulsate above the inconsistency to keep the drive to continue the search even further beyond the safety of the shoreline. Shipstern Bluff and Governors Island are such examples, however deep within us all festered a longing for something else….. something unfamiliar. Much of Tasmania’s coastline has been explored on a range of conditions and hope of finding the illusive we felt so strongly was out there was fizzling. The tide of frustration soon changed when cray fisherman Nick Harris reported the wave at Pedra upon retuning from sea. Nick’s words “Needs a 4 metre swell to break and is off-shore on a _ wind”. The boys eyes lit up. Could this be what we have been searching for?
Three years on, we made for our fourth trip to Pedra. We knew what was ahead of us with a typical Tasmanian off-shore wave with a crumbling end section and half of the southern ocean releasing its full power. However this wave differs in that it drops out like a huge slab on the peak that would let you escape into the channel and is infested with sharks. A shark siting on this trip certainly raised the adrenalin to an all time high.
On this particular day, the sea was ruffled with onshore white caps running through the line up. The electric blue water was a stark contrast to the black rolling skies as the sun burst through between the clouds. On board was a man on a mission, Sandy Ryan, the lone mainalander. Sandy wanted to paddle this mutant wave and was dead set on sticking to his word. The smiling assassin was adamant he could do it but the sea legs kicked in and his already white complexion turned a shade of green. Captain Dave ordered Sandy to follow the old sea dogs sea sickness remedy of sculling a glass of sea water. While laughter rumbled across the boat as Sandy obliging drank the water, he instantly regained a healthy colour but not too longer after he hurled his guts up to the further amusement of everyone on board.
Over the course of the day the wind stayed about 20 knots onshore, crew had to fill in time. Why not crack a beer or two and start the BBQ! Buff was all over the cooking duties, in all reality we weren’t surfing, the wind wasn’t backing off. 5 beers later and all full with food and our heads being filled by the Ocean select music mix of the Captains greatest hits we were all feeling pretty happy. Hold up! The wind turned for us, the swell had dramatically picked up and everyone was sorta tripping out. The sun was slowly dropping from its peak in the sky and the waves were an electric blue as the sun was getting lower in the sky. The glare was incredible but the water was so clear when the swell broke they looked amazing. Marti and James were first out there as the guinea pigs. James whipped Marti into a few medium ones and got a fell for the arena. He probably had about 4 ok ones before they decided to swap. All of the crew looked out to sea and could see the biggest black line we had seen all day lumping up way out the back. Everyone was yelling at them to get out the back to get it. James took off but Mart fell off the back of the rope, thank god James finally turned around. They only just got out the back to whip into it. After all our effort chasing surf around Tassie for years I remember thinking you have to go, its come down to this. Is he going?? Everyone on the bridge of the vessel were going off. Marti was about to drop into oblivion, having to work to get over the top ledge he seemed a little stuck at the top. Then you could see the board take off as it got some momentum. The amount of speed he had racing down this thing was outrageous, coming close to nose diving he was lucky to even make the drop. The white water was double the height of the wave as it came crashing down to gobble him up. After a long hold down everyone was cheering and throwin a few claims down. Dave was on the ships horn and we had done it!! 10 hours of bobbing around in the ocean and we had got what we came for. Danny and Tyler were out there soon enough. Danny who was the lone goofy got a massive peak that looked so surreal. Everyone else on the boat were going off creating a great atmosphere, especially as we could see the sets from our elevated position. James was now on the rope, taking off under the peak from some great tows by Mikey. Everyone wanted to see all the riders on massive waves, it was there time to shine. The problem with Tyler is he is 6’6” and he makes the waves look small. He was on these waves that had to be 20 foot but they just didn’t look big on him. Poor bugger he needs to be on a 50 footer before it would look half that size. The session only last about a hour and a half and the sun was getting close to setting. It was an incredible couple hours. Was a great ended to a long day that we will all remember for a long time. Especially Sandy. He still wants to paddle it..Good luck to him!!
All Images and words by Andy Chisholm