Sunday, January 20, 2008

Surf.

Thursday: Couldn't take it anymore, found a cheap board to tie me over until I find THE ONE. Friday: Got off work at 4, rushed home, picked up Hamish, my flatmate, loaded the car and drove 4 hours up the west coast. Our destination: the Taranaki region of the North Island known for cows and epic surf. Drove through what seemed like endless pastures of cows and sheep. Stopped at a local pub for some fish n chips and a brew. Had a crazy experience with some "real" NZ locals. Ask me about it and I'll tell you. Lets just say we bailed halfway into a doubles game of pool. Found a camp site, pitched tents and tried to sleep through a night of 40+mph winds. The views of the Southern Cross and Orion helped pass the sleepless evening though. The stars are very unfamiliarly spectacular down here.

Saturday: Got up and started driving again. Talked to a surfshop owner about the waves and in respectable style, told us the basics. "The mountain controls the winds around here" and "there are waves everywhere, just start looking." Cool. So we just started taking dirt road after dirt road through the endless pastures of cows, grass and flax. Lots of points, reefs, beaches with nobody on them. It was incredible. I imagined this is what the North Shore of Oahu must have looked like in the 1930's.
We stumbled across two spots known as Rocky Lefts and Graveyards. Both named appropriately. We chose graveyards for the long peeling left breaking off the point. 5 guys out, sunny, and the water was warm enough to shed the wetsuit. Caught a couple of nice rides on the new board. Hamish caught a few and got super stoked as well. He then became infected with with surf virus and would go on to buy himself a board later in the weekend. It was amazing, schools of fish flying in and out of the beautiful, turquoise water. Then, looking back from at the beach, you realize you are being watched, not only by the people on the beach, but also from the massive volcano towering just behind the pastures. Taranaki, is what the native Maori have called it for thousands of years, Egmont, is what the British named it after "discovering" New Zealand. A massive, snow covered peak that comes to a point sharp enough that looks like it could pierce skin. Surrounded by the native Pounga trees and Flax, it almost looks prehistoric, I keep imagining some massive beast coming out of the bushes...but just cows. And lots of them.
After an exhausting mid-day session at Graveyards, we went into this little town and stoped by a surf shop, for me to continue my never ending quest to find a decent board. No luck. We head to New Plymouth and had an evening session at a beach just outside New Plymouth. This time, there were lots of people out. But it was offshore and shoulder high. Finally, after two sessions, we called it a day and set off to find a campsite. We came across a Holiday Park and got the last site. Set up out tents, cooked dinner, played the guitar and passed out....hard! Best night of sleep ever. Sunday: Got up, Hamish could get the board he saw at the shop out of his mind all night so we went back and he purchased his first board. Then we started looking for surf. We drove down every road possible checking spots, but it was either too small or windy, the swell had died from the previous day, so not much. We ended up stopping at a nice little cove with some small mushy waves for Hamish to try his new board. He loved it. Both pretty exhausted from the weekend, we decided to start making the long journey home. 4 hours later, we're back in Wellington. It felt good heading back to Wellington. Coming into the city again gave me a good vibe. Nice little reminder I'm right where I'm supposed to be. Out!

Here's the link to the photos from the weekend.
http://picasaweb.google.com/ryan.mceliece/TaranakiSurfWeekend

Ps- thanks to all who wished me a happy birthday. As for the rest of you...we are no longer speaking. jk.

3 comments:

Jed and Kate said...

Yet again, I am totally speechless at your amazing photos. Beautiful!
-Kate
PS Umm...happy birthday?

Jessica said...

happy birthday! felix cumpleanos!joyeux anniversaire! alles Gute zum Geburtstag! buon compleanno! gelukkige verjaardag!!с днем рождения!feliz aniversario!......................I'm hoping I can make it up to you by telling you in many languages??? Cheers, Jess

Lucas said...

Dude, I love reading about your adventures and your photos are jaw dropping! So "Lovin" stoked for you. And maybe this is a little late but better than never: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BRAH!