The Wildside at Seals is not a Surf Spot
The Wildside at Seals is not a surf spot.
There is no beach here and nothing between the rocks and Antarctica except thousands of miles of deep open ocean. There have been rumours however of secret rock shelf's and deep water reefs along this coast that can, in the right conditions, categorize the massive unabated groundswells that pummel this section of empty coastline into supposedly surfable waves. In fact some locals have surfed the Wildside before; even documented it. Tales of tow-ins and gnarly hollow slabs abound amongst the local crew whilst tales of large sharks abound amongst the fisherman. Yet it remains a very fickle and sketchy arena to surf with strong currents and rips amongst some very exposed bits of rock, and to most humble surfers this section of coastline is deemed out of the question as a surf option and left to the fisherman, chokka boats and wildlife.
However on Friday the 4'th September, Ryan Payne, Billabong Team and Event Manager chose to paddle out alone to an unnamed rock shelf in an attempt to sample some of the 8-10ft peaks that were grinding onto the shallow ledge.
At first, Ryan had a go at this very large right hand peak that jacked up out of deep water . He made some steep take-off' on some very big waves but got one or two heavy beatings including a ridiculous freefall over the ledge in the face of an 8 footer. There was so much water moving around that eventually the boys on the rocks called him across to the this gnarly looking slab that looked as wide as it was high. The left barreled with more wall to it but broke fast and hard across hardly any water. The right barreled so square and steep and sharp that the foamball almost nullified any chance of a cover up. Either way it looked heavy but Ryan was on it. The tide was pushing and he got a few, but the gnarliest ones eluded him. When He returned later that afternoon with Gerard du Plessis, the tide was right on full and this allowed for just enough water to cover the shelf and render the heaving slab more consistent.
Gerard popped his fin on his first wave, such was the strength of the wave and he was forced into sitting in the channel watching Ryan get barreled and worked and barreled again.
The highlight of the session was Ryan's double up 6-8ft shack with at least 6ft of lip on top of it. Eventually the wave snapped his leash and together, Ryan and Gerard had to negotiate the very sketchy paddle (and swim) in over dry rock and surging whitewater, whilst dodging the 10 foot bombs out the back.
Check out the video and see for yourself