Late March certainly was an "interesting" time weather-wise in the Sunshine State, while those in the Far North started to count the cost of their "encounter" with TC Larry, folk further south were frothing given the forecast for the development of yet another cyclone in the Coral Sea (one man's. etc, etc).
For the record, TC Woti (aka "TC Wot the.") more than lived up to its promise of howling wind and solid swell. And yet again the early arrivals lucked out and got some of the best of it with a squally 25+ knot Sou-easterly and logo high set waves
But then after a couple of solid hours of primo conditions - nada! Forcing all and sundry to scarper for the beach quick smart. An hour or so of milling about asking "the question" ensued before the heavens then opened up in earnest
Newson, Finnigan, Fawkes, et al then took to it with a vengeance in the Open's. And wasn't it great to see so much wavesailing talent turning it on in our backyard, despite the presence of a pretty merciless shorebreak that claimed no less than one mast, several sails, and more than a few egos (mine included). Indeed, joked with the boys that I should have been in Melbourne going for gold given the amount of swimming I ended up doing on Day One.
The day, however, ended on a really positive note with countless reunions, numerous introductions, and only one topic of conversation - wavesailing.
Seems the bright lights of Surfers have gotten to more than a few of the crew and there are plans afoot for a big night out. One wonders how they'll pull up in the AM if the forecast comes good.
Saturday dawned with clear blue skies, a building breeze, and the news that TC Woti had nailed Norfolk Island overnight.
Rumours, and apparently photographic evidence, of last night's "sexcapade" have also got most of the older blokes chuckling. Appears some of the gromms engaged in a little team bonding in the wee small hours. Though some questioned just how lucky they'd gotten given that the old chestnut of "she looked better last night" was heard to be muttered more than once by those who were there.
As the morning wore on a clutch of tow crews were dominating the lineup at The Alley and several were hooking in off the back beach.
Then in an act of sheer brute strength a bunch of Clubbies headed out the front of the Surf Club on their rescue/paddleboards and proceeded to charge into some monster lefts. Must have been hell on the knees and was pretty damn impressive to watch if I do say so myself.
With the lifeguards urging extreme caution, the call was made that "you're on your own men", and those who were up for it headed out to contest Round Two of the Masters
Reigning champ Jon Bouilir was the first to hit the water and reaped the rewards of his decision to go early, as his fellow competitors battled with the by now savage shorebreak, while he landed a clean forward and scored several sweet waves before most had even mad it out the back.
The Opens were next on deck with the New South Wales boys stamping their mark on proceedings from the outset. With Dan Berry's clean Cheese Roll just after the flag went up a classic case in point. "The Prez" then proceeded to dominate the lineup and the heat with a series of solid waves.
Yet again the infamous Currumbin shorebreak made its presence felt, with Finno caught time and again in the washing machine before finally busting out through the suds.
The effervescent Jonny B again led the way as the Masters hit it again. And with a rollcall including Dean, Slim, and Ollie B, and logo to mast sets pumping through the stage was set for a battle royale.
All four sailors hooked in to some insane waves for the better part of half an hour before the wind (unbelievably) just shut off. It quite literally went from 15-20kts to zip in the blink of an eye, leaving a couple of the lads stranded out the back.
By 2pm it was all over for another day and most bailed to re-fuel and get ready for the night ahead - the Oz Windsurf party at the Currumbin SLSC.
But in scenes more reminiscent of Indy than Mambo some of the boys were treated to a late afternoon tit-fest as a bunch of gals at the Rocks for a friend's wedding let their inhibitions and their breasts run wild. By all reports very tasty, very G C.
Charged up on 50c pots and a selection of windsurfing DVD's sharing big screen space with the footy, the boys (and a couple of the girls) let loose and ran amok!
One of our own then displayed cat-like reflexes in the stumble-tumble-recover glass-intact stakes. It truly was a very impressive effort that brought an enthusiastic round of applause from all.
Stumps came all too soon for some and while half the party opted for the Resin Dogs gig at the "Cooly", an equal number would lured north by the bright lights of sin city.
With solid six foot sets barrelling across the outer bank and barely a hint of a breeze in the air the call was made to surf on Sunday morning. Rather than run the planned "Dash-for-Cash", Contest supremo Marsh elected to run a surfing contest instead with a $50 cash prize for the wave of the day and a $50 cash prize for the worst wipeout.
And during it all The Alley just kept on pumping! A hard-core crew paddling and towing-in to some monster pits.
When the time came to paddle out for the "super session" only six hardy souls took up the challenge and took to the water.
A half dozen or so tow crews were tearing into some insane sections further up the beach as our boys went for it. A couple of sheers drops, some nice hacks, and a broken board the result of their collective efforts.
As the hours ticked by, some went surfing, some had lunch, while most were just content to kick back and chew the fat.
Then just as the decision was made that that was that and it was time for the presentation the wind kicked in enough to encourage Ash Woolley to go kiting and Jonny B, Ollie B, Dean Hendrie and Johnny Redmond to rig up with a view to hitting the Alley.
At the end of the day, all agreed Tony Marsh had done another outstanding job getting the Tabou together and were already talking about next year.
Tabou `06 Results
|1st||Sue Woolley||Surf FX / Da Kine|
|1st||Ben Fawkes||Sailworks / Board Crazy|
|2nd||Logan Hagersten||Sailworks / Board Crazy|
|3rd||Jesse Wales||Surf FX / North / Fanatic|
|1st||Dan Berry||Goya, Southside Sailboards, Dirty Dog Eyewear|
|2nd||Shane Finnigan||Delta Designs, Southside Sailboards|
|3rd||Gary Kepper||Surf FX|
|1st||Jon Bouilir||Surf FX|
|2nd||Ash Woolley||Surf FX / Da Kine|
|3rd||Oliver Barta||Surf FX / Neil Pryde|
For two novices the Tabou was a watershed in that they both claimed third place in their respective categories (Gary Kepper in the Opens, and Jesse Wales in the Juniors) and are fired up for more.
26 year old Gary in particular couldn't stop grinning and says he can't wait for next season!
Although Dean Hendrie may well have been wondering what more he had to do to post a podium place after a solid showing all weekend.