Every surf frother has an incredible story to share whether it’s the best wave they’ve caught or a memorable wipe out, there’s always a tale to tell. Lucky for us kiwi’s, our backyard is home to many a good wave and story to match. Renowned for picturesque views and legendary point breaks, we were lucky enough to shoot our most recent campaign in the small west coast town of Raglan and brought our corp manager Bourne along for the ride.
Unofficially called ‘Bourne’s Surf Report’ our resident surf pro and all-knowing wave rider Bourne took to sharing one of his most memorable surf stories to date as well as the best wave he’s caught in Raglan.
Starting off, what’s your best surf story to date?
I have a good one that I’ll never forget. It was 2016 and I went on a holiday to Fiji with my heavily pregnant wife. Being an absolute surf frother I was extremely excited about the forecast at Cloudbreak with the surf lining up to be pumping the entire trip. An intense wave when it’s firing, I lucked in to eight straight days at Cloudbreak surfing at least six hours a day while my beautiful wife and firstborn son relaxed poolside at Musket Cove.
This is where the story gets intense. With only two days left on the island, the swell jumped to 8-10ft which I was quite nervous about given that Cloudbreak is no joke at that size. Putting on my big boy pants and taking a deep breath, I jumped into the village speed boat and off we went immediately feeling the swell, it felt like we were moving over mountains of water. Arriving at Cloudbreak, there was no way I could handle that size with the waves cracking on the reef, we sat in the boat for 20 minutes and watched as one guy got pitched over the falls and straight in to Shish Kabobs reef headfirst – blood everywhere, it was ugly.
Deciding that wasn’t for me, we went around the other side of Tavaru to have a look at one of the most perfect left-handers in the world. I can remember coming around the corner and seeing no one out, it was flat and suddenly you could see the swell wrapping around the corner and cracking onto the reef – 4/6ft! I literally couldn’t believe my eyes, coming from South Africa I’d dreamt of surfing this wave all my life and it was perfect.
Jumping off the boat with my mate, we were screaming at each other like madmen. I remember looking back at the tiny wooden boat and the driver giving us a thumbs up with a massive Cheshire grin. A dream come true with only two of us out, I had to calm myself down as the reef wasn’t something to mess around with - jagger sharp rocks, only two feet of water and if you get caught on the inside you’re going straight to the surgeon's table for sure.
Unfortunately, this is where it unravelled. I managed to get two good ones in, paddling back out to the take-off zone with a smile from ear to ear. All of a sudden, I felt like I had been stung by a typical jellyfish but thought nothing of it as per usual. It all happened fast. One minute I was in my happy place and the next I felt my entire body shutting down with my legs going numb, my chest closing and my eyes shutting. Immediately calling for help, by the time I got to the tiny village boat I was foaming at the mouth with the guys having to pull me in. The next stage was brutal as I went into full epileptic fits - I can remember all of this and looking up at the guys and their worried faces. The boat driver called into Tavaru Island to get me an epi-pen shot but they wouldn’t let us on the island since I wasn’t a guest apparently. Long story short, we were going full throttle to the island I was staying at and at this stage I was worried about not making it. With my whole body swelling up like a balloon, they rushed me into the resorts medic area where the local nurse started praying off the bat. Trying to find a vein to inject me with cortisone and adrenaline, the poor nurse wasn’t handling the situation well as my veins had collapsed.
Calling for a helicopter, I needed to be taken to the mainland as fast as possible. I remember seeing my wife and her tummy looking over me with shock, there was no way I was giving up. Rushed into the ICU ward at Nadi, the main doctor (luckily) found a vein and just like that, I was better again. Turns out I was stung by a box jellyfish, deadly things with an 80% death rate! I rested up the next day and of course was back out in my happy place the following day – not the doctors orders!
What makes the perfect wave a 10?
Everyone has a different perception of the perfect wave but for me it’s all about speed, power, and flow. Give me a solid take off into a big bottom turn, straight into a big man turn, straight into a huge pit, spat out, straight into a deep bottom turn hack
Craziest wipe out?
When I was 14 I went straight over the fall, headfirst into the sand, and messed my spine up. It took me at least 10 years to get it back to 90%.
What’s the best wave you’ve surfed in Raglan?
4/6 ft, 18seconds, lined up groundswell, light offshore, one wave for outside indies into the valley – end of story!
The sunrise on the final morning was one for the books, tell us how the surf was for you that morning?
It was a frosty but beautiful morning with clear and crisp with hazy blue skies. I was out just before sunrise when there weren’t many around which was ideal. I was grateful to be able to surf before work, it wasn’t amazing but sometimes the waves don’t always go your way. A lot of the time it’s just about being in the water, my happy place, my time, my meditation.