Desperate times for surfers in Gisborne

A STORMY two-metre-plus, short-period swell accompanied by gusty southerlies and potentially torrential rain — not the ideal forecast, but we’ll take it.

Yes, the old spring wave drought has struck again, with no significant swell since Labour Weekend (that I can remember).

A little over a year ago, The Gisborne Herald ran a front-page picture of Steve Roberts carving up a juicy right-hander, with a caption proclaiming, perhaps a little dramatically, the swell had broken a five-week wave drought.

We are looking at three weeks, which also has not been pretty.

Even the longboard has been used irregularly, the beer intake has increased to alarming levels, and I have started biking to work.

Last night I took out the longboard for some weird, jumbled-up ankle-biters out at Stockies and joined about 30 others scrapping for some of the ugliest waves ever seen on these shores. It was not pretty.

Anyway, while this weekend’s forecast is looking ghastly by all measures, there will be a wave somewhere. Let’s hope we don’t all end up in the same place, eh?

A few thousand kilometres due north in the middle of the mighty Pacific, Gisborne/Mahia surfing son Ricardo Christie will be getting ready for one of his most important competitions in recent memory (well, this and the next one in a couple of weeks).

The 10,000-point-rated Hawaiian Pro, at Haleiwa on Oahu’s infamous North Shore, starts on November 12.

Christie sits in 19th place on the Qualifying Series (QS), with 11,430 points, but will need to finish the year in the top 10, typically with at least 19,000 points, to ensure he makes next year’s Championship Tour (CT).

Only a surfer’s top five results count, so Christie will need a big result in both this event and the final QS event of the year, the Vans World Cup at Sunset Beach beginning on November 25, to make sure he requalifies for the CT.

A win in one, or at least a quarterfinal finish in each event should be enough to get him there, although it will all depend on how the other surfers perform.

Christie can qualify from outside the top 10, but only if surfers above him also qualify by way of the CT.

This happened in 2014 when Christie finished 16th on the QS, but was boosted into 10th place as six surfers above him qualified by way of the CT.

The Hawaiian leg of the QS, which holds two of just five events offering the maximum 10,000 points to the winner, can make and break dreams.

Last year, Portuguese surfer Frederico Morais was ranked in the mid-30s on the QS coming into Hawaii.

He bagged two big results, and qualified for the CT in third place. Fast-forward 12 months and he is sitting in 13th place on the CT, in line for the rookie-of-the-year award.

A similar thing happened to Hawaii’s Dusty Payne in 2014, and compatriot Sebastian Zietz in 2012, who took out the Vans Triple Crown in the process and has been on the CT ever since.

Christie looked the goods as he surfed to a semifinal finish at the QS3000 HIC Pro at Sunset last week.

He always looks at home surfing big, solid right-handers, which is no surprise given where he grew up.

Closely following this competition is the QS event of the year, the Vans World Cup at Sunset Beach, beginning on November 25, also offering a maximum 10,000 points to the winner.

Christie will be hoping to join Taranaki’s Paige Hareb, who this week requalified for the women’s CT after falling off the tour in 2014.

We could be looking forward to a golden year for New Zealand competitive surfing.

See you out the back.

A STORMY two-metre-plus, short-period swell accompanied by gusty southerlies and potentially torrential rain — not the ideal forecast, but we’ll take it.

Yes, the old spring wave drought has struck again, with no significant swell since Labour Weekend (that I can remember).

A little over a year ago, The Gisborne Herald ran a front-page picture of Steve Roberts carving up a juicy right-hander, with a caption proclaiming, perhaps a little dramatically, the swell had broken a five-week wave drought.

We are looking at three weeks, which also has not been pretty.

Even the longboard has been used irregularly, the beer intake has increased to alarming levels, and I have started biking to work.

Last night I took out the longboard for some weird, jumbled-up ankle-biters out at Stockies and joined about 30 others scrapping for some of the ugliest waves ever seen on these shores. It was not pretty.

Anyway, while this weekend’s forecast is looking ghastly by all measures, there will be a wave somewhere. Let’s hope we don’t all end up in the same place, eh?

A few thousand kilometres due north in the middle of the mighty Pacific, Gisborne/Mahia surfing son Ricardo Christie will be getting ready for one of his most important competitions in recent memory (well, this and the next one in a couple of weeks).

The 10,000-point-rated Hawaiian Pro, at Haleiwa on Oahu’s infamous North Shore, starts on November 12.

Christie sits in 19th place on the Qualifying Series (QS), with 11,430 points, but will need to finish the year in the top 10, typically with at least 19,000 points, to ensure he makes next year’s Championship Tour (CT).

Only a surfer’s top five results count, so Christie will need a big result in both this event and the final QS event of the year, the Vans World Cup at Sunset Beach beginning on November 25, to make sure he requalifies for the CT.

A win in one, or at least a quarterfinal finish in each event should be enough to get him there, although it will all depend on how the other surfers perform.

Christie can qualify from outside the top 10, but only if surfers above him also qualify by way of the CT.

This happened in 2014 when Christie finished 16th on the QS, but was boosted into 10th place as six surfers above him qualified by way of the CT.

The Hawaiian leg of the QS, which holds two of just five events offering the maximum 10,000 points to the winner, can make and break dreams.

Last year, Portuguese surfer Frederico Morais was ranked in the mid-30s on the QS coming into Hawaii.

He bagged two big results, and qualified for the CT in third place. Fast-forward 12 months and he is sitting in 13th place on the CT, in line for the rookie-of-the-year award.

A similar thing happened to Hawaii’s Dusty Payne in 2014, and compatriot Sebastian Zietz in 2012, who took out the Vans Triple Crown in the process and has been on the CT ever since.

Christie looked the goods as he surfed to a semifinal finish at the QS3000 HIC Pro at Sunset last week.

He always looks at home surfing big, solid right-handers, which is no surprise given where he grew up.

Closely following this competition is the QS event of the year, the Vans World Cup at Sunset Beach, beginning on November 25, also offering a maximum 10,000 points to the winner.

Christie will be hoping to join Taranaki’s Paige Hareb, who this week requalified for the women’s CT after falling off the tour in 2014.

We could be looking forward to a golden year for New Zealand competitive surfing.

See you out the back.

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