Behind the Image: Justin “Jughead” Allport: 15km out to Sea.
Behind the image is the long story, short story or even just a few token words describing what took place behind the photo, it may be technical which I very much doubt, about the subject, what went into taking the photo, what I would do different next time, basically anything that comes to mind, scribbling notes at the time will recall the facts, talking it up or down is not out of the equation, its also open for discussion, questions, banter, jargon, requests and everything in between, ENJOY! –
I am just going to get straight to the point, this wave was never destined to be photographed this trip, it happened a number of years ago so the complete facts, the finer details may not be 100% accurate, the memory bank rattled by years of Rugby League has seen to that.
“You guys fly into Perth, pick-up the 4WD and boat, I will travel direct from Margaret River with the ski and supplies, lets meet at the start of the track early morning, the wave is a long way out I want to make the most of it”.
Sounds bloody easy, to bloody easy in the end, F**K Up Number 1 (kids may be reading this however ever this word describes the situation with the punch required): Brett Burcher, Jughead and Brendon Newton the three nutcases on this mission running out of fuel in the middle of the night 80km short of the nearest town, no reception for the blower, its not a super highway, traffic is scarce to say the least, the temp drops down to a balmy two degrees which is a good sign for an offshore in the morning but not so good while waiting for the first passing car, six hours later in the pitch black of night the first sign of lights, rescued with just enough fuel to get to town.
I receive a call in the early morning, “we wont be there for another 3-4 hours, we are camped in the servo waiting for it open”, and no 24hr mega stations in these parts, that’s the morning session blown.
F**K #2: Seven hours later they arrive, getting lost along the way didn’t help the cause, we now only have roughly a third of the day left to find this wave, Brendon was the only one that had been there before and basically that was an accident, launching the boat off the beach with five foot sets rolling in was the next challenge, no way I was getting on that thing until it was out the back, watching the 22ft boat go completely vertical on the last wave was completely in slow motion, thoughts of my pelican case full of gear getting lost to the sea, injuries to all the surfers on board, loosing the boat entirely coasting a fortune in insurance because the owner thinks its travelling down a tranquil river fishing for Bream, the boat lands perfectly something eventually had to go right but we waste another hour of light searching for the monster.
That Wave: Its massive, breaking onto a super shallow reef that is completely exposed 30-40m after it detonates fifteen kilometre’s off the coast, before I can take it all in, assess the real situation and risks, Jughead lets go off the rope, not sure if you ever had one of those moments when everything becomes slow motion, I have had a few over the years and this moment added to the collection. The end bowl collapses, it’s the craziest thing I had ever witnessed, no warm up shoulder hopping rides to suss out the place, Jug goes super deep and then goes down, normally I am driving a ski and double up as rescue, this time I was confined to a boat wondering if he survived, no sign for the first 40 seconds, we were searching in the wrong area, he had been dragged over the barnacle thickened island, first thoughts were I will be performing a first aid patch up job if in fact he is still alive, he whips past the boat grinning from ear to ear and proceeds to go another one, complete lunatic.