The "day of days" is an overused term in surfing. After any epic session, surfers clouded by euphoria and adrenaline often claim that day as the best ever at their local beach. Yet as a perfectly-placed low pressure system delivered epic conditions from Burleigh to Bondi over the last week, many Australian East Coast surfers had legitimate reasons to make that claim.
"I've been surfing Merewether all my life and that's as good as I have ever seen it," claimed Rhys Smith. The former professional turned surf shop owner towed giant waves at the outer ledge known as Third Reef with partner Paul Mountford on Sunday, May 24.
Another local surf shop worker, Tim Dickson, paddled into one of the heaviest waves seen at the Newcastle break the day before.
"Everyone was losing it on the barrel," wrote Mark Richards, the 4X World Champion and Merewether local who shaped the 6'6" Dickson was riding. "For me though the most impressive part was the take-off."
Much further north, towards the Queensland and NSW border, some of that wave rich zone's plethora of points and beachies all had claim to been the best in living memory. Kieren Perrow was in on the act, somehow escaping one of the longer barrels of the swell.
In Queensland, which had already seen a remarkable run of swell throughout the whole month, the Superbank was an obvious focal point. "Behind The Rock" at Snapper had some incredible days, with usual suspects like Brent Dorrington, Sheldon Simkus, Josh Kerr and the Harrington Brothers all scoring.
"The swell has been incredible for two weeks," said photographer Cooper Lowns who snapped Sheldon Simkus in the photo below. "Snapper was incredible, but some of the secret beaches were all time."
An all-star cast was on hand to score those beachbreak sessions. Mitch Crews, Liam O'Brien, Wade Carmichael and Soli Bailey scored countless tubes in the pristine conditions. One of the better waves of the swell though was ridden by ex-CT star Tom Whitaker (seen below at the 2.30 mark) proving that his time coaching since he retired hasn't dulled his tuberiding skills.
In Sydney, the outer big-wave bombies turned on and Laura Enever was amongst it. Kelly Slater was also in town returning to Avalon on the Northern Beaches which was once his long-time Australian base. His surfing, and two broken boards, was considered worthy enough to make the TV news in Sydney.
However it wasn't all positive experiences for all surfers. Not far from where Kelly was surfing one surfer who was way out-of-depth was caught by Still Stoked in what might be the worst rock-off attempt in surfing history. While his tenacity may be respected, it is also a warning for all surfers to stay well within their limits.