Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Fiji's Huge Waves Set to Keep Drawing Crowds Six Foot Sets Appear Locally out of the Blue

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Fiji's Huge Waves Set to Keep Drawing Crowds Six Foot Sets Appear Locally out of the Blue

Article excerpt

Byline: Bill Hoffman

HUGE waves have drawn surfers from across the globe to Fiji where conditions at Cloudbreak are more perfect than could be possibly imagined.

Sets have been consistently in the 12-15 feet range with the occasional 20 footer sneaking through to keep everyone on their toes.

The waves are being fanned by light, dead offshore winds to create some of the roundest barrels ever paddled into.

Big wave hunter Mark Visser, however chose Tasmania and copped an absolute flogging off the south coast, enduring howling winds, hail and wild waves.

Fiji, though, has been the story of the week.

A little more than a year after Caloundra's David Scard attracted worldwide attention with an amazing paddle-in barrel at Cloudbreak, conditions are even better.

The low pressure system that is generating the swell is being held in place by a high covering most of Australia.

The huge distance between source and the reefs of Fiji has seen the swell clean up into picture perfect lines.

Scard, who runs World Surfaris' on-call surf missions, is back at Cloudbreak this week shepherding young big wave professionals Ryan Hipwood, Dean Bowen and Nick Vasicek with the assistance of World Surfaris' guide Adam Yared, also from the Sunshine Coast, who has spent the past 20 surf seasons in Fiji.

Reports are that Scard was finding the slot in the intense swell drawing on his years of experience at Java's G-Land to negotiate the narrow gap between pleasure and pain.

World Surfaris' boss Shaun Levings said the crew were holed up at a small secret spot, a 15-minute boat ride from the break.

Scard headed across on Monday, taking with him a new 7'6a Al Byrne channel-bottomed gun ordered in advance in anticipation of the swell.

He returns to Australia today to pick up his family before heading back to stay on Tavarua for another week.

Sunshine Coast Daily surf forecaster Mike Perry says there will still be plenty of surf for him through the weekend.

The wave-generating system is still in place and the huge fetch will mean it will keep on coming for some time.

Fiji has enjoyed a week of waves with more on the way thanks to a massive low pressure system that extends from the tip of Australia to the South Pole.

Perry describes the system as the biggest fetch-high/low combo he's seen in 35 years of forecasting for surfers and sailors.

But the pair who really scored were McDermott Aviation boss John McDermott and Tinbeerwah board shaper Tony Dragan.

Tony's back on dry land after three weeks of amazing waves which ended last weekend catching the first of the swell at Tavarua. The pair left Bundaberg, island hopping to Noumea and Vanuatu before arriving in Fiji for the start of the big swell.

Tony said yesterday that the experience had been amazing. …

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