The Piker's Gamble by Nick Brbot
Below is a gnarly as short story on a standard morning road trip down to cape fear for a bodysurf by Nick Brbot:
The forecast looks ideal. The fins, handplane, budgies and towel are packed into a bag. With a last check of the swell forecast before bed, the lights are switched off. The 0430 alarm goes off, with a final check of the live wave and wind conditions the Whatsapp message is sent out to the crew.
A couple bananas, a water bottle and some iced coffee or Redbull are grabbed from the kitchen for the drive. The roadtrip begins. From all corners of Sydney the boys drive to get to Pikers Hole before first light. For me, the dark morning trip to the place where I grew up is filled of anticipation and questions. Is the swell big enough? Is it too big? Are the winds right? Is the tide right? Bodysurfing a place like this you need to have all weather conditions in your favour otherwise it is a recipe for a broken neck.
Entry to the park and the sounds of the national park are starting to awake. The cockatoos and kookaburras recite their morning songs. A short drive and into the carpark, there it is.
Car by car the crew arrive hastily, Peter Sperling (@peter.sperling), Rikki Gibley (@wawhandplanes), Russel Pollard (@bornwithgills), Dan Carr (@captain_kookman), Vic Ivec (@whomp_dog) and Keeland Tracy (@keelandtracy). The initial signs are great, the thunderous sounds of waves crashing against the cliffs and the light offshore winds giving surface conditions a false sense of security. By now there is a touch of light in the sky and a bomb rolls through. More than enough to excite the bodysurfer inside. Everyone suits up, a few stretches are performed and then a rock hop down to the entry. Timing is crucial here. An error here can be an early and abrupt end to the morning session. The right wave is eyed off, followed by an entry as the water drains back off the cliff.
The cold water immediately wakes you up. But the swim out to the take-off zone through the channel is enough to get the blood flowing. A bump on the horizon presents itself. As this bump hits the shallow rock ledge the bump triples in size, it is no longer a bump but a large wall of water. You kick as hard as you can onto the face of the wave, a large initial drop, followed by a huge push across the wave. The roaring sound of the wave crashing down over you, coupled with the view of the oncoming cliff and rock ledge definitely gets the adrenaline going. The wave starts throwing over you. Enjoy this moment while it lasts. For if you’re in luck, the next 10-20 seconds will consist of you being washing machined into the shallow reef with a collection of cuts and bruises to take home with you.
Sometimes the wave will let you out but most of the time it won’t.
This is the gamble of Pikers Hole.
Check Nick's insta for some more insane bodysurfing here.