Five Rides (And a Wipeout) From New South Wales Super Session

26 Jan 2021 3 Share

COASTALWATCH | SWELL STORY

As we reported over the weekend, Thursday January 21 was an exceptional day up and down the NSW coast — especially if you like your swells on the bigger, scarier, hairier side of things and knew exactly where to go. Big wave sessions were all over the place, but perhaps this one, captured on camera by filmmaker Spencer Frost – and charged by the likes of Paul Morgan, Laurie Towner, Matt Dunsmore, Josh Ku, Dane Fisher and many more – south of Sydney was the standout of the bunch.

We hit up Surfline Forecaster Ben Macartney for the details:

“The largest south swell of the year so far was generated by frontal low that rapidly intensified as it moved from below Tasmania, out across the southern Tasman Sea on Monday 18th and Tuesday 19th of January. The storm supported much higher wind-speeds than what we’re accustomed to over this time frame: generating a broad-swathe of severe gale to storm force SW/SSW fetch (confirmed by multiple satellite passes at 50 to 60 knots) as it moved clear of Tasmania’s swell shadow and into our swell window on the Monday.

“However, the bulk of Wednesday’s first pulse fell well short of forecast expectations across Sydney and the South Coast as the bulk of deepwater SW energy missed the region – although there were some reports of much larger surf impacting the mid NSW coast.  

“The real kicker came in the wake of the storm’s continued evolution as it stalled over the southeastern Tasman Sea, just of New Zealand’s South Island throughout Tuesday and early Wednesday: maintaining similarly powerful wind-speeds in the order of 40-55 knots. That in turn supported maximum seas and swell in the 40ft range – the raw material from which Thursday’s thumping SSE groundswell arrived, peaking in the afternoon at 3 to 7 metres offshore, and at peak intervals of 16 seconds. The peak of the swell generated large surf in the 8 to 10ft+ range across exposed areas, before easing into the 4-6ft+ range by Friday morning.”

“This session will go down as one of the best I’ve ever witnessed in Australia,” says Frost, who drove through the night and slept on the side of the road to be there with his camera at dawn. “The standout moment would be Paul Morgan’s bomb – that’d have to be one of the wildest things I’ve ever seen in the ocean. That wave showed what Paul’s lifetime of dedication to that wave gets you. He’s out there every swell and is one of the OG’s of the place, I don’t think anyone’s put in as much time there as him. It’s truly one of my favourite surf clips I’ve captured.”

“He’s (Paul Morgan) spent years out there, had so many sessions out there,” adds shaper and charger Dylan Longbottom. “He’s always been the best, and he’s such a talented surfer. It was pretty wild because his first one, to me it was a 15-20 footer, and as he got to his feet, he was too late, and he went over with the lip. He couldn’t believe that his board wasn’t broken, and it kind of clicked him into gear. Russell (Bierke) was on the wave behind that, a 15-foot double up and he hurt himself, he had to go to hospital… so there was about half an hour after that that Morgs found another one of these giant ones, and he just packed it, and rode the perfect line, spat out, and it was unbelievable. Wow.”

“This session will go down as one of the best I’ve ever witnessed in Australia,” says Frost, who drove through the night and slept on the side of the road to be there with his camera at dawn. “The standout moment would be Paul Morgan’s bomb – that’d have to be one of the wildest things I’ve ever seen in the ocean. That wave showed what Paul’s lifetime of dedication to that wave gets you. He’s out there every swell and is one of the OG’s of the place, I don’t think anyone’s put in as much time there as him. It’s truly one of my favourite surf clips I’ve captured.”

“He’s (Paul Morgan) spent years out there, had so many sessions out there,” adds shaper and charger Dylan Longbottom. “He’s always been the best, and he’s such a talented surfer. It was pretty wild because his first one, to me it was a 15-20 footer, and as he got to his feet, he was too late, and he went over with the lip. He couldn’t believe that his board wasn’t broken, and it kind of clicked him into gear. Russell (Bierke) was on the wave behind that, a 15-foot double up and he hurt himself, he had to go to hospital… so there was about half an hour after that that Morgs found another one of these giant ones, and he just packed it, and rode the perfect line, spat out, and it was unbelievable. Wow.”

Longbottom, who’s driven skis in heavy water everywhere from Nazare to Jaws to Teahupo’o, volunteered himself as water safety for the session, which turned necessary given how heavy it was “There were some two wave hold downs and a lot of guys, you could see in their eyes, they were pretty gone, it was touch and go,” Longbottom said. “And Russell Bierke, he’s the best out there, he got hurt. That showed how heavy it was.” Which is a story in itself, but for the moment we’ll just take in his perspective from whipping in and out of the impact zone to rescue these surfers, which that afforded him the best view of an all-time session:

“I didn’t think it would be that good,” says Longbottom. “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I had the best view in the house…the swell was moving that fast, and it was that big, and thick, that these guys were just launching themselves into things I couldn’t believe paddling, and I’ve seen some crazy stuff in my time…”

Longbottom, who’s driven skis in heavy water everywhere from Nazare to Jaws to Teahupo’o, volunteered himself as water safety for the session, which turned necessary given how heavy it was “There were some two wave hold downs and a lot of guys, you could see in their eyes, they were pretty gone, it was touch and go,” Longbottom said. “And Russell Bierke, he’s the best out there, he got hurt. That showed how heavy it was.” Which is a story in itself, but for the moment we’ll just take in his perspective from whipping in and out of the impact zone to rescue these surfers, which that afforded him the best view of an all-time session:

“I didn’t think it would be that good,” says Longbottom. “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I had the best view in the house…the swell was moving that fast, and it was that big, and thick, that these guys were just launching themselves into things I couldn’t believe paddling, and I’ve seen some crazy stuff in my time…”

This article also featured on Surfline Aus

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