Continued on from Part 1.
After the rush of the first wave, KJ (Katherine) and I were up and running. We both paddled into some bomb sets! The ocean would rise out from the horizon and we would both note our markers and make any adjustments needed to position ourselves in with the best chance for the take off. On my second wave, a smaller 3’ peaky one, I pulled off a large cutback which felt so good and just filled me with confidence. We were going to have an awesome holiday!
The 3rd wave gave me some good rail to rail action, just pumping along the line. The 4th wave, a deep 4-5’ set wave, I got dropped in on. Even out here there are still some people with no manners! The 5th wave I paddled deep for. Had a sweet pop up. Saw the wall line up and it took me all the way home. KJ had an awesome first session with her trademark late takeoffs and rail to rail action. She got a huge 100m long ride! Unfortunately she missed the channel in (due to the fast side current) and ended up in dinging her board on the shallow reef. Thank goodness she had he reef boots on though!
The walk back to the room was on a small path in-between the trees, then a 10mtr swim or paddle over a little creek and past all the coconut trees (watching for any loose ones!) We quickly got changed and walked up to breakfast. All you can eat buffet of pancakes with tuna, red onion and shredded coconut. Yum yum yum!
As we sat and replayed that session over in our minds, it made us smile. We used powerful strokes (not fingertips) for our paddling onto the waves. We committed every time for every wave. We had nice smooth, low positions with soft knees. We both felt confident, strong and smooth and armed ourselves with the mantra of stay low, use our arms and feel the wave for our next session…….
Round 2 (Post Breakfast)
It’s on.. Our breakfast has digested, we’ve sorted out our stuff, changed boards (I was now on my 6’3 Simon Anderson roundtail), re-applied our sunscreen and zinc. There was only 6 people in the surf at Cokes with a 3-4’ mid tide. Let us out the back asap! Opps! Bit to quick and a duck-dive caused me to hit my fins on a shallow reef.. Must note that for any wipeouts!
We waited for the sets. They came every 20 mins so we had time in-between to take the smaller ones! The first set came in, and full of the first session accomplishments, I thought I was on! Big powerful paddles. Full on commitment to the wave. Got to my feet and then…. Big wipeout! I didn’t know how to move. The impact was huge! I asked myself… Could I feel any pain? Did everything still work? Yes! Ok, lets go again.
2nd wave; BAM!.. Exactly the same. Got to my feet and then wiped out. What had happened to all my surfing skills? Paddling back out to the peak I collected my thoughts. “I can surf, calm down, I can do it, stay low, soft knees, watch some others ride the wave, see it, feel it, do it..”
It was then, I saw a turtle pop up…… I’d heard a small whisper of advice that if you see a turtle pop up for a breath, a big wave was coming. KJ and I paddled for the horizon as fast as we could. Then the bomb set came in… YAY!!!! Sweet take off with a big huge bottom turn. I made it around the section, hit the top, stayed high and then onto a cutback. I watched the wave line up and grant me with rail to rail, sweet smooth fast turns all the way along. The higher tide made the waves move fast. The rest of the session I popped up and raced along soo fast with big smiles all the way! Woo hoo! Homeward bound for lunch.. I had earnt it!
The swim back was fun. The higher tide meant we floated down the creek and ended up in front of our accommodation. Style! I had a quick shower, moisturise and gentle walk to the other end of the beach. Lunch was served under a palm tree. It was a delicious buffet of local fish, boiled rice and pasta. This was the healthy fuel we needed. What better way to eat your lunch. The crystal clear ocean gently lapping up onto glistening white sand. Hammocks just waiting for you to relax into for a post lunch snooze.. Such is life!
Round 3 (Post Lunch)
The snooze didn’t happen for too long. Next thing we were being whisked from our lovely island to the main Male Atolls to try the surf breaks of Sultans, Honkeys and Jails. There were thirteen of us in the speedboat. Not much room for anything else! We opted for Sultans which is a right hander with a fast inside section. The tide was dropping and the wave height was only around 2-3’ and a bit crowded. Would we get any waves at all?
The answer is Yes! The crowd was friendly out here and we got chatting to some guys from Durban and USA. One guy said I was an awesome surfer (flattery will get you everything.. except waves!!!) My objective was to have every wave count! Tighter, more vertical turns, maximise the wave, look at the nose of the board and keep my eyes on the prize… (I was after more barrels!) I sat on the inside section and scored awesome fast ripping waves. I had fluid strong turns and even some sprays! I concentrated on looking back over my shoulder when performing the cutbacks and having more time.. (No barrels though). We arrived back at home via speedboat, cold and starving. Ate delicious rice and pasta and then in bed by 8pm!
Round 4 (The next morning)
5.15am the alarm sounds. Where am I? Have I got to get up for work? I can hear noises. But it’s still dark outside….? Then I realised we are in the Maldives still!! That alarm is for surfing! Let’s do it! 5.25am and on a boat to Chickens, a left hander just north of Cokes. It’s only 2-3’ and the tide is very low. There is one main peak and then the outside sets break wide further south. The current was strong and we had to constantly paddle to stay anywhere near the take off zone and in position. My mission was to paddle to the peak and catch waves. Effort to do this.. 110%
Thanks to Joel Coleman of Saltmotion Photography for all photographs. Visit saltmotion.com to view and purchase images. Also check out the Saltmotion gallery in Manly, NSW. All images are subject to copyright and are not for reproduction.