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Papatowai awakens after deep sleep
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 15 October, 2012 : - - New Zealand’s premiere big wave arena, Papatowai, awakes after going into hibernation and a handful of kiwi big wave chargers are on the spot to paddle and tow into the biggest waves ridden in New Zealand for years. With the Metservice calling a rising 8m SW swell for Foveaux Strait only two days from the event, this swell and storm was lining up to be a once in a lifetime opportunity to surf some of the biggest waves ever ridden in NZ waters.
Papatowai has for years been regarded as New Zealand's very own Mavericks (One of the world's biggest waves in Northern California) providing surfers with the opportunity to paddle into waves exceeding 10m+ (40ft) on the face, experiencing the ultimate ride from top to bottom as the swell focuses on what surfers refer to as "The Bowl" jacking up to a steep vertical drop where the surfer must have 100% commitment to turn their 9ft+ surfboard around and paddle with all their power and speed to catch the wave.
In recent years the introduction of personal water craft (PWC) or Jet Ski's has allowed surfers to skip the drop and already be riding the wave strapped in on a much shorter surfboard as the wave hit's The Bowl allowing the surfer a greater opportunity to get inside the wave on take-off, getting barreled or maneuvering on the face of the wave with sharper turns.
The introduction of Jet Ski's have also made what is a very high risk sport a much safer option with no surfer having ever died tow surfing due to the PDF's or life jackets worn, no leg rope required and powerful safety machine (PWC) ready to pick up any surfer in danger. In comparison paddle surfers are regarded as the ultimate watermen with the commitment and courage required to face such massive walls of water a special talent only held by a small number of athletes all around the world.
Sunday proved to be a day for both paddle surfers and tow surfers with one of the biggest swells ridden over the last few years' peaking through the morning at a solid 30-40ft+ on the face of the wave with offshore winds keeping the faces relatively clean and perfect for both disciplines. A small handful of Dunedin and Christchurch big wave surfers were joined by ex National Champ Motu Mataa, Miles Ratima and Doug Young who traveled down from the North Island the day before the swell to surf one of the biggest swells to hit the spot in years.
Having already won the biggest paddle in award in the Oakley ASL Australasian Big Wave awards a record 2 times at Papatowai, New Zealand's Doug Young was also one of the first surfers to pioneer the break, paddle surfing it every time it got big from the turn of the century. "I have never in all my years of surf forecasting seen the Metservice call an 8m swell in Foveaux Strait! Sure I have seen it that big over in Milford, but I knew that this was something special and had to drop everything to be on the spot," he said.
Source: Surf NZ
Author: Doug Young
Tags: New Zealand, Papatowai, Jono Lockhart
Big Wave: Surfersvillage