We are following Windsurfjournal.com for more than four years. It is, among others, one of the most complete windsurfing portals and definitely one of our favorites!
Last Friday they published a nice interview with Jason -no sense of fear- Polakow on his latest trip to Cloudbreak at Tavarua Fiji.
July 12, Australian Jason Polakow was the only rider among a horde of surfers who dared to tame the famous Cloudbreak in Tavarua wave in the archipelago of Fiji on the occasion of one of the biggest swells the last 30 years in the South Pacific … KA-1111 describes his session and his unique experience during which he has also been injured at Windsurfjournal.com!
Windsurfjournal.com: How does one prepare to anticipate such conditions of swell at the other end of the earth?
Jason Polakow: Since a lot of years, after winning the pro circuit, I am interested in the conditions around the world and today there are many tools on the Internet that can anticipate a storm or a large returned from swells. And then there are the contacts, friends and acquaintances who keep you regularly informed of good sessions to come.
WJ: And to Cloudbreak, how it happened?
JP: I had initially responded to Baptist Gossein’s invitation to come surf Teahupoo on Tahiti and then after a few days there, I saw that things were moving on the side of Fiji with 2 large systems that were close to the archipelago after going to Australia. A month earlier, I had already missed a good session because of the important meeting NeilPryde / JP Australia in France and this time I really wanted to be part of! So I packed my bags, I booked my ticket and I went to Fiji …
WJ: What happened when you arrived there?
JP: When I arrived there, I stayed in a friends’s hotel, on the island of Namotu. Immediately I connected to the Internet and saw the confirmation of predictions Forecast announced a swell between 15 and 18 feet the next day which was supposed to last for the next4 days! The same morning we arrived at first light and it was already 10 to 12 feet, perfect conditions, which foreshadowed a great day!
WJ: Can you tell the story of this day of 12 July?
JP: Besides my windsurf equipment, I always bring with me in my surfboards and a board for the tow-in surfing. As there was no wind, I first went on tow-in surfing and I took at the outset a nice bomb that put me at ease … We were quiet and some only a few caught some good ones. Then more and more people went out, including big names like Kelly Slater, who had made this special trip like me. Minutes after, the spot has become completely crowded with thirty boats, surfers across the water as waves continued to grow. I then became a spectator but an actor in helping a few guys in trouble with the jet ski. Around 12pm, the wind began to rise between 8 and 12 knots, no more. The only concern is that there was no offshore side (note: but slightly aside of land) but was rather a bit of sea conditions not really ideal because with the size, as soon as the one starts to take off, there is no wind at all down the wave, while a slightly side off wind can still have some power. I quickly realized that only the jet ski would allow me to join the line up. After the apprehension and nervousness of the first take off on which one had to be perfectly placed, then I followed up the towers on beautiful bombs …
WJ: Until the moment where you injured yourself?
JP: Yes, going back over the lip of a wave, the wave caught the back of my boom. Unbalanced, I knew it was going to go wrong and tried to relax before breaking up. But while falling, my head hit my rig and my board, I do not know well, and I found myself under water, completely disoriented. Back to the surface after long seconds, I saw a monster 15 feet happen again. I barely had time to catch my breath and I left already in the washing machine. I then saw the nightmare scenario of last year in Jaws. And then a guy who did the jet-ski safety came to me out of there but I started to panic a little because there was blood all around me. I was completely struck, burst and I could not see my right eye. It was finally an opening above the eye that was bleeding profusely and after a few minutes of rest, I decided to return. I was still exhausted and mentally confused by my fall but still I was already preparing a new sail because I knew that I would regret it if I wouldn’t go. I finally sailed till sunset.
WJ: What makes this kind of day a bit special?
JP: This bailout, that could go wrong, I was literally transcended, I did not stay on a negative note and I really wanted to go back on the spot while my legs carried me away. This kind of day and especially when one is scared, it also recalls the meaning of humility and this allows a better understanding of the ocean and all its power.
In case you missed the video…
Photos: Stuart Gibson - Bruno Lemos