And a big surf usually means the bombora is working. It’s a submerged rock, or reef, about 1km offshore from Manly Beach, which probably only breaks a handful of times a year. I saw three people out there surfing it this afternoon. It looked as though they paddled out, which means they’re either really fit or they don’t have a friend with a jet-ski to tow them out. The bombie is not for the faint-hearted, most surfers are put off by the long paddle out, then the size of the wave when you get there. I love watching it break and while it might look like a big wave to me, to ‘proper surfers’ it’s probably not big at all. Queenscliff Bombora was first surfed over 50 years ago, there’s a history here.
And here’s a clipping of a photo that appeared in the British newspaper The Times on March 29, 2006. The guy surfing Queenscliff bombie isn’t named, the shot was taken by Guy Finlay of Icon Images. It’s great that ‘our’ bombie made it into the British press. I think I need a more powerful lens!
What an awesome way to have fun! When the nor’easter blows like this it’s no good for surfing, but out come the kite surfers. Even without the jumping, this must be an amazing feeling — ripping along with a canopy full of wind. Years ago I used to enjoy windsurfing. I loved pulling the sail in tight, leaning back on my harness and feeling the board rise up and plane across the water. Kite surfing must be that feeling x 10. I had so much fun photographing these kite surfers, a couple of them were flying along close to the shore — I guess to make maximum use of the fairly small waves — which gave me a perfect chance to tap into my ‘inner sports-photographer’. (Now that’s what I’d like to be when I grow up)
Blue bottles, also known as stingers, are common in the warmer months. These little blow-ins come in with onshore winds and are the scourge of swimmers. The long tail is the nasty end and they can be several feet long — perfect for getting wrapped about your arms or legs. The sting burns at first, but the pain usually only lasts about an hour. An occupation hazard if you want to enjoy the water all year round.
It’s spring and time to play! This will be the summer that I’m going to learn to surf — properly. I had lessons last summer, so I’ve got the basics and I can get to my feet. I just need practice and lots of it! My aspirations are modest: I’d like to be able to surf a gentle unbroken wave on a long-board with a fraction of an ounce of style. That’s all I ask of myself! I don’t think I’ll be sharing a wave with this lot just yet. But I love how everyone — surfers, surf-skiers, body-surfers — all share the waves….