Since the Fijian Government peeled back the bubble wrap on its formally protected golden child in 2010, the mystique surrounding Cloudbreak and exclusivity to guests of Tavarua was lifted. For the first time since the resort opened back in the 80s, the wave was open for biz. The real floodgates were opened, howevs, when the 15-foot Black Friday swell rolled into town during the 2012 Volcom Fiji Pro, and we embraced freedom. To think that those waves would’ve gone unridden if it weren’t for open decree was reason enough for celebration. While we’re here, let’s look at eight things you might not know about Cloudbreak.
8. The best waves look like closeouts.
Watch Reef McIntosh. Watch Kelly Slater. When you’re in the lineup with these guys and the period is north of 15 seconds, these guys look at waves no one else wants to know about. They look at closeouts. Blatant closeouts. The thing is, when they’re spat out down the end of the wave and kick out after the spit, you then realise they know something you don’t. Despite having the luxury of it being on his forehand, Owen Wright can certainly testify about the deceiving qualities of the wave. “Every time I take off, the wave always walls out and you think you’re too deep and it’s going to close out, but that’s not the case,” he says. “With the inside sections it looks like the whole thing is going to shut down but it holds up longer than what you think. The wave is so powerful that you’re able to generate a lot more speed than you think, so you can make it around a lot easier. It reminds me of Chopes. Obviously Cloudbreak is much longer, but at Chopes I always think I’m too deep when I’m actually not, because there’s so much water to the wave, the second you put your rail in, it just shoots you down the line.”
7. There are multiple ledges.
It’s a known fact that Cloudbreak can handle any size, from two to 20 feet. But what you may not know is that such a phenomenon is only made possible by a series of ledges that gradually descend into the South Pacific Ocean. Managing Director of Tavarua Island Resort and phenomenally good frontside tuberider (he’s goofy), Jon Roseman, has been surfing the place since 1989 and knows the ledge theory better than anyone. “The Cloudbreak ‘ledge’ was a term we coined in the late 80s to describe what happens when the wave gets over eight foot,” says Jon. “The wave pulls back on itself at that size and the bottom drops out as it grows and bends down the line. The first ledge is good at 8-10 foot, then the second reef starts breaking with wash-throughs in the 10-12 foot range. At 15 foot, the second reef ledge starts mimicking the first ledge but on another level. Third reef ledge is what happens when it’s big enough that it will break on the furthest outside ledge before the water drops to 500-1000 feet deep.” Are you still with us? Jon continues; “It’s a backless mutant of a wave but still perfect. Towing-in is the only option at that size as it would be impossible to paddle into, and it’s rare to see it consistent in that spot. I’ve only had a couple of those over the years as you really have to be in the right spot with a really good ski driver.”
CLICK HERE FOR THE REST OF THE ARTICLE BY STAB MAGAZINE