JEFF ROWLEY ON HUGE GREY WALLS AND BIG BLUE BALLS
" I was riding a new Channel Islands surfboard that was 11 feet long and 4" thick." Jeff Rowley talks us through his latest big wave session.
We recently featured a clip by Australian big wave paddle in surfer Jeff Rowley taking on some big juice on a massive gun in Australia. The wave that Jeff surfs he calls “The Bombie" and when we talked to him he wouldn't spill beans on its exact location. Our intel though says its a pretty well known big-wave spot in Victoria (a clue, it might be 3.2 kilometres long) , that is fiercely protected by its gnarly, rural, locals. Rowley has in fact been given a fair amount of shit (and counter backing) on the various Ozzie forums for his media savvy approach to big-wave riding, but here we don't give a shit about the various politics of it all, we just wanted to talk to Jeff about what seemed to be some very, very big wally waves. This is what he had to say.
Surf Europe: Jeff where is the wave, we won’t tell anyone.
Let's just say it’s off the bottom of Australia.
How big were the waves, and how big was your board?
Look it’s hard to say the size of the waves, but I do know the swell was 19 feet at 18 seconds when it hit the buoys. I was riding a new Channel Islands surfboard that was 11 feet long and 4" thick.
To us it had a similar feel to the famous Californian wave of Mavericks? What are the similarities and/or differences?
The wave does look like Mavericks being a cold water peak, although it’s a lot more spread out lineup, so more of a hunting ground. Mavs is a slab that hits the same exact spot. I rode the 11 foot board so I could cover more ground.
What was your build up to the session?
I was in Indonesia (see a clip here of Jeff surfing big waves in Indonesia) when I first saw the swell on the charts. It had been a bad season for big swells in Oz until then so I didn’t want to miss it. The swell held back until after lunch, then there was a narrow window in the afternoon when the swell grew rapidly and the wind stayed offshore long enough to get the session before a massive storm front hit. I was really happy with the big steep wave because I had to paddle hard and throw myself over the edge. That gave me the confidence to knife it on the next one.
Are these the type of waves you grew up surfing? Tell us a bit about growing up in that environment?
I grew up surfing this kind of wave; cold water and long thick walls. Australia has a lot of fairly isolated big waves, with deep water that will hold you down for a long time if you make a mistake. Im lucky to have experience in those kind of waves and be able to draw on it at places like Jaws or Mavericks.
And where to next?
Pretty soon my girl and I will be making our way to Hawaii for the Winter. Hopefully this season has really big swells and we can catch some big ones.
Here's the clip if you haven't seen it.[mpora_video id='AAdmiz8l35l6']