"I wasn’t going to miss this one after seeing how it was hitting Tahiti and Hawaii," said Canada's lord in the north, Sepp Bruwhiler, who was born, raised and moulded by the cold. That's right, Code Red 2 made it all the way up there for the biggest swell seen in the past few months -- and a bonus encounter with some of the local wildlife.
“The only real Code Red part for me was when I got hunted down by a family of orcas," said Sepp. "Big daddy orca swam right up to me and looked deep into my eyes and said ‘bro you’re in my spot’, so I rapidly paddled for my life to shore.”
First Session: Tofino
This spot is a few notches further north, a place Sepp knew would be on but the tricky part is knowing exactly where to place your bets. "Growing up in Tofino, before online forecast, we used to check the beach two to four days prior to the forecast arrival, about every hour on the beach.
I was screaming with joy and pulling into barrels and trading waves with my friends
"I did some calculations and figured out when the swell should be hitting us. I called the boys, we packed the gear on the skis and the boat and headed out a couple hours up the coast to our destination. There are a bunch of places that break up there so we had to decide which spot to unload to set up camp."
They paddled out as soon as they arrived. "I was screaming with joy and pulling into barrels and trading waves with my friends," said Sepp. "Feeling the sun on my face and admiring the nature around me, I thought; 'nothing gets better than this, it is what dreams are made of'.
"I grew up surfing as a kid in the 80s and early 90s as a teen, it brought me back to the good old days. Every time you score a wave it’s a new experience. Looking back on the time I spent surfing with my brother, just added to how special this swell really was to me."
“To be honest, we always pay attention to what's happening down in the southern hemisphere this time of year,” added Canada's fellow lord of the cold-lands, Pete Devries. “It’s hard not to see everything that is happening with a swell like this. I was definitely paying attention, especially when I saw how good Hawaii was. That was a real eye opener.” Such is the connectivity of these colossal swells. The pulse that created a colossal Kemper barrel at Ma'aelea would eventually march to shore in Canada.
And how it stacked up? “It was the largest south of the season for sure. But others in the past have been way bigger and better. We had some fog and bad winds also, so that didn’t help things out. It is always nice to surf some overhead waves in the summer.”
With these long period swells from way down south (not to tell you, dear reader, how to suck eggs!) but the further they travel, the less size they hold, especially if they're not reinforced by another storm along the way. Think of that as a sling-shot effect; a long period swell will eventually reach shore but if it can be buoyed and fired up by another localised system that will feed into it. As Code Red 2 came to Canada, it's energy may had peeled off (hint; you're not going to get Teahupoo-sized mega slabs up there) but the froth levels and connectivity of it all were next level.
And so dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to mourn the passing of one of greatest swell events in modern history. But its spirit lives on! Relive Code Red in its entirety at Teahupoo | Maui | Wedge | Puerto Escondido, with a special wrap up coming next week.