“The last person I brought to this spot blew out his knee on his first try,” Hamish Bourke, our filmer, says to me with a grin. “It took us a long time to haul him out of the lower pool and up that damn wall. It was a sh*t fight.”
I’m staring at a massive 12-foot dam drop in a hidden creek off the side of the road, somewhere outside of Auckland. It’s the first day of our winch journey through New Zealand – a voyage that will take us all the way from Auckland to Queenstown. I’m in a foreign country, attempting sketchy new winch spots, and I’ve been dropped straight into the deep end. It might sound crazy, but that’s exactly what I wanted.
I’ve spent the past five years of my life traveling from wake event to wake event, nine months a year, usually to the same familiar wakeparks. The same spots. Over and over. Non-stop. I needed 2017 to be something different. Something more. I wanted to visit new countries, places where rumours of a crazy winch spot were whispered from rider to rider, where features were found – not built. I wanted to find new places to ride… away from the wakepark. I wanted more. I wanted to explore.
I’ve always been fascinated by islands. There’s so much water, so many bays and rivers, estuaries and inlets and dams, opportunities for new wake spots. I first thought about New Zealand after seeing an edit of a few crazy underground winch spots. They didn’t say exactly where they were, but it was clear they were in NZ.
Then I saw Mick Fanning’s “Irish Crossroads” edit, and got pumped on the idea of flying to Dublin. Ireland is a country I had never visited, but being so close to the U.K. (which is normally my European base in the summer season) it made sense to search around the corner.
And so it was settled. Two islands. One in the Northern Hemisphere, one in the Southern Hemisphere. Kind of like my life, growing up between Thailand and England.
Join the crew and become a part of #TheSearch when you head over here for the full interactive experience. #TheSearch
Bonus Video - Irish Crossroads