I headed out to New Plymouth last weekend to do some surf kayaking. As I normally live a few thousand miles from the nearest ocean, it was a novel experience to me.

Saturday morning I put on my gear and walked the 100 yards to the ocean and put in. I scoped the surf from my hostel and it looked present but tame. When I was getting my gear together on the beach a huge barrel broke in front of me. Where the hell did that come from? I paddled out but screwed up my timing. a 9ft wave broke right in front of me, and the whitewash picked me up and dumped me back where I started. Crap.

I made it past the break the next time and paddled around the point to Fitzroy beach. I had an offshore wind, which groomed the waves well but also tried to push my fat, slow little boat out into the ocean. Boo. My drainplug wasn't quite tight, so I was shipping water as well until I corrected that little problem. I landed on Fitzroy without much trouble, ducking in past the breakers. The swells were producing huge barrels, and there were maybe two dozen board surfers out. I stayed out of their way, batting maybe 50%, half the time getting trashed, the other half of the time getting some great rides. My skirt imploded three times over the weekend from the force of the waves. Good stuff. I lost a contact lens, which sucked, so I surfed the rest of the day buccaneer-style.

Sunday I missed my tide since some bastard rugby player stole my drytop. "I was cold," was his explanation. I hiked to the beach and had some great rides on little waves before heading out to the big stuff. Batted about 50% again, got bashed around some, then headed back to the smaller waves to finish the day with a good ride. After saying "just one more" a half dozen times, I got flipped end-over-end by a huge breaker that somehow snuck up on me. Unfortunately, the whitewash didn't carry me out of the impact zone, leaving me there for the next two waves to kick the shit out of me, the last one dropping me on my head. It hurt. Figuring enough was enough, I paddled in and headed home.

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