Fleeting glimpse of Fili: images from an ex-cyclone


Photography by Al Ashworth, Jackson Bright, Kane Everson, Jereme Aubertin and Rambo Estrada.

Headspace is never good during the period preceding a large cyclonic swell, and Fili was no different. TC Fili started like all cyclones that are destined to reach the high east coast of the North Island. A great mass of energy wreaking havoc as it descends through the Pacific Islands, then hits one side or the other – Tasman or Pacific, usually Pacific, sometimes maybe both. Thus begins the all-too-predictable track anxiety of many East Coast surfers. The swell and wind patterns initially turn red, lots of phone calls, messages and math comparisons drop, and then finally the call has to be made: whether or not to completely throw all work and family commitments by out the door, and unload in search of the elusive TC gold.

Here is a visual diary of ex-TC Fili’s journey along the coast from the Northland East to the BOP. As you can see gold was mined.

On Wednesday morning April 13, Surfline forecaster Al Ashworth chose to search some of the more sheltered areas and see what energy was producing. Northland was the first to swing to the southwest earlier in the morning, but the winds remained strong. Waipu Rivermouth looks very attractive early in the day. Photo: Ashworth

Wednesday’s swell peak coincided with a midday to afternoon rising tide, meaning the waves had a real rumble. Thomas Carter and Zac Curle weigh their options. Photo: Everson

SW offshores are not ideal on the Coromandel but the more northerly exposed breaks benefit from strong winds. Photo: Everson

On Wednesday morning, the swell was solid at Mount Maunganui, but it was beaten by very strong southerly winds. With no SW changes in sight until noon, it was a waiting game for the Mount crew until everything came on. Photo: Aubertin

Above: It happens fast when it happens. Cam rewind of Mangawhai Heads on Wednesday as the wind turned.

Thursday morning, waking up with a little less swell and absolutely pristine conditions. The energy wash was gone and that perfect definition was back. Trav McCoy parked inside a gem. Photo: Platform

There will always be this empty wave, no matter who is absent or how many. Thursday perfection. Photo: Platform

For BOP surfers, Fili was one of those who stayed home and let him do his bloated thing. Tim O’Connor took a laid back approach and kicked off his campaign on Wednesday afternoon, scoring three days of super fun surfing right on his doorstep. Photo: Platform

Clint Reid late Wednesday afternoon, perched inside the day’s wave. Photo: Platform

Leon Santorik on one of those slightly smaller and thicker waves. Photo: Platform

Photographer Jackson Bright started early Wednesday morning at the tip of the Coromandel, expecting some of the most legendary gems to light up. Unfortunately, the energy was on a fast trajectory towards the East Cape and it wasn’t quite there. He soon found himself at home, dropping the camera immediately to get in the water. Sean Peggs, cheered by the shoulder. Photo: Luminous

The week ahead around the joint: Northland East | West Auckland | Raglan | Taranaki | Bay of Abundance | Coromandel | Gisborne | Hawkes Bay | Christchurch | Dunedin

Other fili-ness: The Beachbreak Barrel Session


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