GALLERY: Four Days in West Oz for the Swell of the Season So Far

Jason Lock

by on

Updated 44d ago

A huge swell pulse rifled into West Oz last week, making for one of the best sessions of the year so far at North Point and beyond.

This was four days of pumping surf from Sunday August 2 through August 6, with a rest day on the Tuesday while a fresh swell filled in. And your protagonists? A crew of locals only, coupled with the occasional wildlife spotting – because, you know, West Oz.

Forecast: Margaret River

Our  swell chart leading up to this session.

Our swell chart leading up to this session.

“It's been a fairly patchy winter down south,” says photographer Tom Pearsall. “Most people have fled North to escape the never-ending fronts, but there's nowhere else to flee so it is bursting at the seams up there.

“This was a week many who braved the fronts relished. A mix of big unruly surf, super fun protected bays, perfect easy-going North Point and then finishing with easily one of the best days of the winter up and down the coast, with North Point firing some of its finest tubes of the year with a relatively small crowd.”

Early morning Wednesday check.

Early morning Wednesday check.

© 2020 - Tom Pearsall

By the Wednesday, everyone had begun checking North Point from early on. “Everyone was waiting for it to hit after that tiny Tuesday,” said Tom. “2pm surf check. Nothing breaking, two ft on the inside ledge.

“But by 3pm, the new swell arrived. 16 second period. I'm out there. Probably five of us out. Unheard of 20 wave set had us seriously excited. Everyone hooting and hollering. Followed by 40 min lull. Next set, eight waves and building. Each set getting bigger. Serious grunt in it. Crowd starts to fills up but still, winter crowds are not too bad. Day ends pumping with solid sets.”

And the Thursday was arguably the gem in the crown: “Amazing conditions but quite a moderate offshore. I could shoot one set, drive to a new location, shoot the next one. Like clockwork. Nearly all locals in the water. Few crew from the city got humbled pretty quick, these were proper freight trains.

“At Lunchtime I left North Point with goofy-footer Jerome Forrest to shoot a notorious left slab. Very solid 8ft, close out sets. Tricky to get out. Jerome got one screamer then wind wafted a bit too southerly, the rip started and conditions deteriorated quickly. Time for a beer.”

Thursday, Jerome Forrest and Tom Pearsall skirted the coast looking for somewhere with a bit more grunt. This is the result.

Thursday, Jerome Forrest and Tom Pearsall skirted the coast looking for somewhere with a bit more grunt. This is the result.

© 2020 - Tom Pearsall

Keg after keg.

Keg after keg.

© 2020 - Tom Pearsall

Some waves, you just gotta scramble through.

Some waves, you just gotta scramble through.

© 2020 - Tom Pearsall

Messy conditions on the Sunday but Jack Robinson manages to find a keg.

Messy conditions on the Sunday but Jack Robinson manages to find a keg.

© 2020 - Tom Pearsall

Kids these days... George Simpson adds a little gas.

Kids these days... George Simpson adds a little gas.

© 2020 - Tom Pearsall

Jano Belos' first surf back since months out of the water with a broken foot - testing some Quobba fins, wouldn't you know.

Jano Belos' first surf back since months out of the water with a broken foot - testing some Quobba fins, wouldn't you know.

© 2020 - Tom Pearsall

Tony Breen from the local pub The Common looks on for one last bomb before opening the bar.

Tony Breen from the local pub The Common looks on for one last bomb before opening the bar.

© 2020 - Tom Pearsall