‘Like flying down a mountain’: The surfers who braved Sydney’s wild swell – Sydney Morning Herald

Spending close to 20 violent seconds being contorted underwater by a monster wave can be enjoyable if you want it to be.

At least that’s what Sydney surfer Nick Carroll thinks.

Nick and his brother, former world champion surfer Tom, were among a select few who braved the five metre swell on Saturday as it lashed the NSW coastline.

Big waves at Austinmer Beach on the high tide.Credit:Kirk Gilmour

The brothers spent Saturday morning paddling into some of the biggest, cleanest surf to land on Sydney’s coastline in years.


“I don’t know if it’s having a screw loose or what, but I kind of enjoy those moments,” Nick said shortly after returning to shore near Long Reef on Sydney’s northern beaches.

Tom Carroll spent Saturday morning surfing the massive swell that pounded Sydney’s coastline with his brother Nick.

“I don’t feel afraid at all, I just kind of lie down there and enjoy it. It’s only water.”

Tom, who since winning surfing world titles in the 1980s has made a name for himself as a big wave surfer, said he was excited to see his hometown light up.

“I love it, I love it when it gets like this. It’s just been such a big part of my life when these storms come in,” he said.


“It all feels safe, then bingo, it all comes in.

“That’s classic May weather. I was just waiting for it thinking ‘these beaches are going to get torn apart any minute’.”

Further south, a small group of surfers attempted to tame a roaring left at Bondi’s Ben Buckler, while others were towed into 15-foot waves near Wedding Cake Rock off Coogee.

Crowds lined the cliff tops and coastal car parks along Sydney’s eastern and northern beaches to get a glimpse of the surf, while ocean pools were turned into massive, cold spa baths.

Clovelly resident Joel Pilgrim paddled into several bombs over the weekend near Coogee and said many surfers were scoring the waves of their lives.

“You’ve got to take a few beatings to get a few waves but when you do it’s like flying down a mountain. It’s the ride of your life,” he said.

An ocean swimmer watches on as a wave rears up at Austinmer Beach on Saturday morning.Credit:Kirk Gilmour

Eighteen-year-old Chase Hardaker was bouncing between Coogee, Bronte and Bondi over the weekend.

“You just skim down it and there’s no exit, you just wait for white water to just swallow you up at the bottom. You just look up and wait to hit you in the back,” he said.

Nick Carroll said the Sydney coastline was a great big wave zone when the weather permitted.

“There’s always quite a bit of activity in a quiet way on big days here, people driving out on skis and paddling out on giant boards and scaring themselves,” he said.