The 4th Of July Wedge Swell.
By Craig Whetter.
Cover image: James Ferrel.
The 4th of July swell was definitely one of the biggest swells I have surfed out there! The night before, Tanner and I weren’t too sure how long / if we were going to be allowed to surf due to beach closures for the weekend. Finally made the decision to get up there at 4:30 (which is still pitch black) & be the first ones in the water to get a few before the rest of the crew showed up.
After seeing a few long period bombs in the dark, we paddled out and bounced over a couple 10ft sets waiting for some more light. After going back to back with Tanner on one of the bigger sets I’ve seen from the water out there, it was on!
I didn’t get too many good ones in the early hours of the session, but definitely watched the crew out there get a few wild ones. Guys like Jamie O’Brien, Tyler Thornsley, & a few other stand ups, but not many bodyboarders out that early yet.
This swell was interesting. There were medium sized waves that just kept rolling to the inside, making it difficult to get into as early as you would like, and those were the good ones. After getting blue balled by the end section for a bit due to the quick sections, I finally stroked into probably the biggest air reverse bowl I’ve ever had!
I just remember looking down the line seeing Tanner & Jamie with their hands up screaming “hit it!” as I was about to start going up to the section. Luckily there was a bit of a backwash that helped me get that extra height, and coming down all I could see was Jamie’s board looking like it wanted to guillotine me, which was not a great feeling!
Thankfully I landed about two feet to the right of his board just in front of the whitewash, but in the clip you can see the board shoot out right past my head until his leash tightened up. I washed up on the beach and was so pumped up as photographer friends were also stoking out of their minds, such a cool feeling.
After that I didn’t get anything comparable to the reverse, maybe just a few drops on the set waves. But, I did see Tanner get a mental barrel. If I had a camera, the angle I had of it on the shoulder was mind blowing. The way the lighting was, how clean the wave was, and how good he dropped into it was just jaw dropping.
There were definitely some randoms there who shouldn’t have been out there though, people who don’t have that skill level to be out there when it’s that big. And unfortunately it just gets dangerous which just gets scary for the riders who are trying to get good ones.
Getting out we saw some of the boogs getting sick ones, like Shaun Samsom, Cory Bolter, even a visit from Chad Barba. Definitely one of the most rad experiences I’ve had out there, the whole morning was unforgettable.
Also, check out Brent Weldons raw YouTube video of the 4th swell, that’ll give you a good feel of how everything was going down!