It was a combination of studying the swell & wind forecast, some local knowledge of the tides, plus a good dose of surfers intuition and instinct.
Chris Vincent had arrived at my doorstep the evening before to say "I think we should look at the island tomorrow".
Fate ensured this was no coincidence because I was literally about to pick up the phone and call Chris to make the same prediction!
The scene was set and we knew that an early session was going to be necessary to get the best combination of wind, swell & tide! Chris was very clear that early meant just that! No mid morning surf check this weekend.
The message about being early was received loud and clear! Arriving at his doorstep just before 6.00am, Chris was greeted by the sight of one wetsuit clad Brett keen to sample some Island rights!
We quickly loaded up the boat and ventured down the river at what seemed an incredibly slow motion pace with the 5 knot speed limit being observed whilst being courteous to the still sleeping residents of the riverside properties.
We were unsure of what to expect where the river met the sea. Usually, at the river mouth the size of the swell rarely gives any indication what may be hitting the island. Unless, they are solid 4 foot sets breaking across the break wall which means that "Inside Island" would be working. But we knew that was not going to be the case today as the boat glided at increasing speed out across the river mouth across the gentle swell.
It was pretty cool watching the sun rise and making a silhouette of the island.
A couple of swell lines approached the reef bommie and feathered in the middle of the bay and gave us hope there was swell hitting the outside reef. As we approached the island it became clear there were decent sized swell lines hitting "The Bowl". The usual offshore wind in Gizzy does not suit this left- hand break. But it is perfect for the Outside Rights!
After watching a couple of bombs unload on The Bowl we quickly assessed that the cross shore wind ruffled the faces too much for our liking. So we motored around to the other side of the island to inspect the Rights!
The wind was coming from the right direction and we only needed to watch a couple of sets come rolling through to know that we had got our prediction right.
After dropping anchor in the deep water, it wasn't long before Chris quickly paddled over and casually dropped into the first set wave of the day. The wind stayed light and the swell size averaged between 3-5 foot with the occasional bigger one. There was plenty of time between sets to paddle out of harms’ way when the sneaky big ones came through but it was enough to keep us on our toes!
The best part was we that had it the break to ourselves and could take our pick of what came through.
As the tide started coming in the sets seemed to become more frequent and we progressively became more patient only waiting for the big sets. After 3 hours, we had decided that we had surfed more than enough waves to satisfy us for a few more days.
The day had warmed up nicely and the sun quickly dried out our wetsuit free skin while we sat in the boat, there was simply no rush at wanting to leave. We retrieved the anchor and ventured back around to watch "The Bowl" where about 5 surfers had decided the quality of the wave was good enough for them. But considering they had walked and paddled over to the island they were not just going to turn around and go back to the car park if it wasn't perfect.
It was not too difficult for Chris & I to recognise that we had made the better choice of break on the day. We enjoyed the journey back to the river in the warm sunshine. After such an early start to the day, we had managed to have a solid three hour surf session and still arrive home early in the day to keep our respective surf widows happy!
Looking forward to next time!