Affectionately named due to the Donkey kick you will feel when a barrel swallows you up or you don’t make the takeoff, this wave needs various things to fall into place for it to work, and the wind is one of the most unpredictable factors up there, especially late season.
I spotted this swell from a week out but doubted it would really materialise, but when it held its own on the chart three days later, it was time to make the call. A quick look at flights and we jumped aboard for the two hour flight. When we arrived the morning of the swell, the ocean was pretty flat, with the odd set coming through. Several of us waited a bit hoping the swell would start to pulse, and it almost did so so secretly that you didn’t realise it was suddenly consistent 3 to 4 ft and more waves going unridden than ridden.
The wind wasn’t ideal and it was pretty ugly, but then Benji Brand would get a 200m barrel and who can really say that isn’t good? Him and Koa Smith had flown over from Hawaii for the swell, hoping it would have a bit more punch and taking the gamble on the wind. The waves were heavy, 3-4ft high but doubling up, gobbling you up a lot and spitting you out the other side. In between there were absolute gems. After a whole day in a wetsuit and walking km’s over sand, our bodies were broken as we watched the low tide double ups draining along. Benji and Jordy Maree did their 50th walk around, two easy standouts on the day consistently getting the best barrels.
The next day, the swell had dropped and the wind was more onshore, our bodies could barely move and there was some relief that it wasn’t going to be another full day of waves! Worth it every time.
Aerial footage by the talented chaps at Darkwing Aerials.