07 Sep Saturday at Shipsterns
Words by team rider, Kelly Nordstrom and photos by local photographer, Andy Chiza
Got the heads up on Friday morning from my mate Treeksy that stern might be an option on saturday morning. I have a love/hate relationship for Shippies, because as always friday night was full of a million phone calls, plan changes and me running round like a headless chook trying to get my stuff sorted. We ended up driving a few minutes up the road late Friday night to borrow a mates boat to take in (cheers Robert!), and finally I was ready to go. My friend and photographer Andy Chiza and I got on the road at 4am to ensure we were there for first light.
On arrival to the boat we get a spanner in the works.. One of the guys who walked in said that it wasn’t looking too good and wind was already a bit suss. Once again the boys were umming and arring about another plan change, possibility of going down to the south coast. Finally I made the call to just go ahead and reverse the boat in the water, we were already halfway there so may as well go have a look. The boat ride round to Shippies is a renowned one, and it is never calm due to that whole stretch of coastline being vertical cliff face and the swell constantly rebounding off it, however we got there in one piece and were greeted on arrival by a couple of slow sets.
The morning was quiet and due to the swell coming from the south and there weren’t many sets that hit the reef in the right spot to give you the roll in take off that you need in order to paddle in. By lunchtime a lot of crew had bailed, some were over it and some had work commitments. There was only myself, Marti and Brooke left in the water, while Chiza was still patiently sitting in the boat on the camera.
As we began to think about bailing also, like always, Shippies sent through a few more bigger south sets to tease us. They still didn’t provide the roll in to be paddle waves but were big enough on the end bowl to get us keen to jump on the rope and start whipping in to a few on the ski. What followed ended up being the one of the funnest afternoons ever! I feel like I am still learning so much every time I go down there. That afternoon was the perfect opportunity to really start to dial in where to draw my line after letting go of the rope and where to be on the wave face on some of the bigger, more solid waves.
To have no one around meant I could just get as many waves as possible and choose whatever ones I wanted. The other bonus was that I wasn’t annoying anyone if I kooked a few, because it’s starting to get more and more crowded every time I head down there. After a heap of fun waves, pits and a couple floggings I jumped on the ski to return the favour to Brooke for whipping me into a few. Once again was a sick opportunity to learn and get some further practice driving the ski. Ended up lucking into a couple sets literally one after another, and all in all was sickest way to top off the day. Even if you get only one or two waves somedays down there it is always worth it for the day of adventure!
Huge thanks to; Robbie for lending me the boat, to Brooke for the whips, Marti for the ski and laughs, and Chiza for being patient enough to wait around and fire a few shots off for the boys and as always keep the talk up from the boat!