The Best Surfing I Have Ever Seen By Otis Carey

21 Sep 2015 2 Share

Hog, Photo by Joli

Hog, Photo by Joli

Nathan Hedge, South Coast, NSW

Story by Otis Carey for Surfing World Magazine Issue 363

I was living in Bondi and surfing for Bondi Boardriders Club and I’d made the cut to compete in a teams challenge on the South Coast. The night before the comp my wife Renee and I went to a sick party that wound up pretty late. We got up not long after we’d hit the sheets and it was one of those miserable cold rainy days that makes you wish you could just stay in bed and snuggle, maybe rent a few Hugh Grant rom coms and eat a bunch of junk food. But I knew I couldn’t let down the team so we loaded up the car and headed off down the coast.

About halfway there I started getting tired so we pulled over and had a little nap. It was so nice to be all rugged up and cosy in the back with the rain pitter pattering on the roof. After an hour or so I felt pretty recharged and stuff so we jumped back in the front and continued on our way. We were having a lovely romantic road trip and surfing was kinda the furthest thing from my mind.

When we turned up to the comp the waves were pretty awful. There was a waist high mushy swell running with a few little shoulder high sets. The comp was in full swing with the usual bubble and froth that comes with these sorts of teams events. I went and checked in with the club and it turned out we were hitting the water in two heats time so I drifted back to the car and casually began to get ready. Once I was in my wetty I went and grabbed my singlet and stood with the Bondi boys down on the beach.

Hoggy’s 10 at Teahupoo. Beast, warrior mode, Photo by Servais

Hoggy’s 10 at Teahupoo. Beast, warrior mode, Photo by Servais

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It was at this point that I noticed the heat before ours was coming to a close. The Narrabeen club were leading by a good margin and their last surfer, Nathan Hedge was scouring the line-up looking to bring it home. A set came and Hoggy began stroking into what was looking like a pretty decent right. What happened next completely blew my mind.

Hog took off and as the wave stood on the bank he drove out of this ridiculously deep bottom turn into the wildest backside reo I’d ever seen. He backed that up with four more perfectly linked hammers that annihilated every section to smithereens. He finished the wave with this agro tail blow then kicked out into the channel and began stroking back into position with this crazy ferocity, like someone had told him his house was on fire and the only way to get back and save it was to paddle there. On the very next wave he did the exact same thing. It was amazing.

I’d never seen much of Hedgey as a grom. I knew he’d been a child prodigy and had starred for Rip Curl in a bunch of movies and that he had finished in the top 10 on tour one year, but I had no idea just how powerful and smooth and pretty much flawless his whole backside attack could be. Seeing him surf in real life was mind boggling to the point where I was looking at the board I was riding in my heat – some sort of cut down 5’2” – and I began wishing I was on a 6’0” like he was riding.

"Hog took off and as the wave stood on the bank he drove out of this ridiculously deep bottom turn into the wildest backside reo I’d ever seen."

I don’t remember much else from that comp but when I got home I looked up a bunch of clips of Hog’s surfing and that’s pretty much when I began to have a new appreciation for really pure power-based backside surfing and I’m not talking fin blows or slides, I’m talking huge old-school vertical lip blasts.

After that day I found myself keeping an interest in Hog’s career. I heard he had a few demons and stuff but who doesn’t? Sounds like he dealt with them and came back stronger and more psyched than ever. I’ve never met Hog but I love his energy and his underdog status. He puts his heart and soul into every wave he catches. When he got that crazy 10 at Teahupoo last year it was a full buzz to see.

I reckon his surfing now could get him back on tour for sure. I mean, the QS is held in a lot of grovelly shit and that might be a challenge but from what I saw at that teams comp he knows how to get the best out of even the most gutless slop. And can you imagine him on tour at four to six to eight foot Jeffreys Bay? Oh. My. God. That fella would light that shit up.

*See also SurfAid take Courtney & Rasta to Nias

Tags: otis , carey , nathan , hedge , surfing , video (create Alert from these tags)

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