Clovelly Washing Machine

After missing Saturday’s surf swim at Bondi due to a sick wife, SM decides to go to Clovelly on Sunday for a bit of a session. Checks the weather and tides and gets there just after four in the afternoon, an hour after high tide.

The ocean is heaving huge swells past Shark Point and straight into the entrance of Clovelly Lagoon. These swells are smashing against the submerged sea wall and the whole mouth of the lagoon is a maelstrom of white, foaming, angry looking water.

Right says surfmuppet, this is the thing for me.

In this kind of weather, Clovelly is the best value in town for rough water training with minimal risk of getting sucked out to sea and being drowned.

The waves are barrelling up out of the water and streaming across the concrete apron of the lagoon sides. Assorted sea hoons are hollering and leaping into the surges, dicing with the danger of getting smashed on the rocks below if they get the timing of the surge wrong. Families are scurrying away and a couple of forlorn looking lifeguards are looking like they want to be elsewhere. A lone SLSC zodiac rubber ducky is tethered out in the madness, bobbing up and down, around and about.

SM changes, hides the gear bag up high on a yoke-a-ma-jig to avoid it being taken by the waves, goggles up, steps down the ladder and the sea snatches him away.

Very hard to get any rhythm going. Breath to the right – mouthful of sea water. Breath to the left, ditto dad. Waves ricocheting off the walls and bouncing back so the chop is coming from every direction. See the big blue groper down below getting turned upside down and around again but the beastie seems to be enjoying it. Visibility not great in the shallower end, clears up in the middle, then all froth and foam towards the entrance.

Tide is going out at this stage and the pull towards the open ocean increases dramatically as SM comes close to the zodiac. Not too many in the water – the sun has retired for the day and there’s a bit of a bite in the wind.

All up, do a humble 2km in an hour – not much in terms of Ks but good training none the less. Not so much a swim as a cage fight. Drank a lot of the Pacific Ocean, no better brew to tell you that you’re alive and kicking a bit of craic out of the day.

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