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  • Writer's pictureNik

Surf rafting

Updated: Apr 20, 2023

Date: Sunday, 14 April 2019

River: Goat’s Beach.

Water level: 1 to 1.5 metres swell.

Participants: 6.

We met at the sheds at a little past 8 and got ready lightning fast. Something about having a small group who know what they’re doing makes packing gear very easy and fast. Inflating the rafts we learned that just because we’d brought the Angels doesn’t mean that bigger pumps aren’t desirable if you can bring them… but eventually they were inflated and we got on the water.

The waves were fantastic! And huge, for surf rafting. If they’d been any bigger at all I’d have wanted a much bigger raft and even as it was the blue sotars would have been nice. We did quickly get the knack of adjusting the centre of mass in the raft to stay upright at least half the time when catching a wave properly and both rafts caught some really good waves over the whole trip.

Getting the rafts out of the breakers to actually catch a wave was very difficult. It was basically impossible to paddle them out and the method of the day was shifting the paddlers around in the raft (very front for going over swell, very back for scooting over breakers) and Janina and I towing them out: the waves came too frequently to get out any other way. As it was I think we surfed more waves in accidentally while trying to get the rafts out past the breakers than deliberately catching them.

The cold from being basically constantly in the water and the aches and minor injuries sustained from being constantly bashed around by big waves took its toll. Two rafters decided to get dry and warm, so Janina and I though this’d be a good time to try four people in a raft to use a bit more mass and paddling power to our advantage. The waves had picked up a little so it was everything we could do to pull the raft through the breakers. We got through them, I turned to see what was coming and saw the biggest wave we’d seen all day, easily two metres, just cresting. Swell we can push through, breakers we can scoot over, but this wave was just transitioning between the two. And did I say it was big?

“Get down hang on!”

The wave swatted us like we were big blowie hanging around an expensive steak. We collected ourselves and each other, then decided that was the last wave for the day. We’d had enough.

Sustained through the day: 1 twisted ankle, 1 lost shoe, 1 small laceration, 1 pulled muscle and 1 nasty winding from that last wave. Between the six of us we shared these out very fairly, everyone getting one and one person sadly/luckily missing out.

I’m really looking forward to going again and taking some bigger rafts. I had a great day (no I wasn’t the person who missed out) at the beach. Waves are fun.

Thanks to Janina for sacrificing her back seat to salt and sand to transport the rafts. Thanks to the paddlers for coming along!


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