Deano and his Jed Done 9'0". Photo Chris Zinon

7AM, WEDNESDAY JULY 15, OUTSIDE KAMIKAZES

Dean Dampney: “The day in that photo was fucking epic.

“That Wednesday morning I was up super early, and I watched Kerry the local pharmacist – a really good surfer – do two laps of the paddle-out between Crystals and Kamikazes. He got washed up on the rocks twice before giving up. We were sitting there in the dark watching our mate get hammered. I had Garth Dickenson next to me and he wasn’t saying much, but I had a firm idea in my mind we were going to paddle out from Collers Beach, out the back behind Golfies and paddle around to Kammers that way. I’ve been doing so big paddles with Benny Serano so a kay paddle was fine. So there was Garth, me and another local guy Craig, who was talking about his step-up board which turned out to be a 6’7”. I was looking at my nine-foot Jed Done board and was wondering if it would cut it. Garth was riding his 8’6” Mackie single-fin, which hadn’t been dusted off for decades.

“We made the paddle and it was beautiful, open, raw wild ocean. At one point we weren’t sure if we were outside where the largest waves were breaking at Golfies. It was hard to tell because it was so big. There’s 400m between the outer bombie at Golfies and Golfies itself.

“So we get to Kammers and I’ve caught a wave straight up, a small one, and paddle back out as Gartho drops out of the sky. He air drops, hits the trough on his pinkies and just gets annihilated. I had a brief moment of concern for him but he popped and was okay. Craig got the next one and was no chance on his little board. He was gone too. Both of them were washed in. It was a 10-wave set, and I’ve paddled around it and found a lineup that felt okay. I was about 50m from the usual Kammers takeoff spot, out at a 45-degree angle. Then the next set has hit and it’s broken on this outer bommie about 150m away, top-to-bottom 12-to-15 foot. I didn’t even know there was a bommie out there, but this was such a strong groundswell and all of a sudden this bommie presents itself. I’ve seen this wave stand up where I’ve never seen a wave break, and this thing was going inside-out.

“Long story short, I got the third wave of that set after it reformed. It was one of those surreal moments, just cracking my brain open. I paddled for it and I feel like I’ve done enough to give it a shot. That single wave was by far the biggest wave I’ve ever caught on the East Coast of Australia by a factor of two. It was such a joy. It felt dead set like a cross between big, west Sunset and Laniakea. It wasn’t a sensational wave, it was a bit burger in parts, but I kicked out and thought I should probably call it a day and go in.

“I was trying to get washed in but it wouldn’t, so I paddled back out and surfed for the next hour on my own, without getting anything like that wave but a lot of waves bigger than 10 foot. It was like back country snowboarding. Soon after from the same spot we’d paddled from came Ellis Ericson and Beau Foster. Ellis and Beau arrive like these divine beings with a really lackadaisical energy about them. It was like it was three-foot for them. It was beautiful to watch them surf and share those waves with them. I think I might have dropped in on Beau but it was icing on the cake. It was a special session. For the next five days Kammers pumped, but I didn’t really bother with it. That one wave had satisfied my whole surfing year.”

Sean Doherty