It was two days of carnage and heroism as a crew of Sydney's underground chargers came out to tackle the slab known as Deadman's. From Tuesday the East Coast of Australia has been bombarded by a huge swell, courtesy of a deep low pressure system parked in the Tasman Sea.
Initially though with the storm a little too close to land, there was nothing but giant, unruly 10-12 waves that were being torn apart by a strong onshore southerly winds. Deadman's, located under the cliffs next to Manly's southern headland, was one of the few locations on the whole seaboard that could handle the conditions.
Over the course of Tuesday and Wednesday its reputation has been seriously upgraded. Always known as a premier, step riddled but fickle Sydney wave, this week it turned into a legit big wave location.
For that we can thank a clutch of Northern Beaches surfers who dusted off their big wave guns and came ready for battle. There were no superstars, or even many sponsored surfers. Just working class locals who live for these rare days.
Chris Lougher, aka @curlyflowers, was one such surfer who might have claim to have scored the wave of the swell on Wednesday. Riding a 8'0" Dylan Longbottom shaped gun he negotiated what photographer Spencer Frost called the "the best wave I've ever seen ridden in Sydney."
The day before it was the turn of North Narrabeen charger Matt Dunsmore whose long and deep drainer was one of those rare beasts that didn't shelf, step or close out down the line.
You see this is an unpredictable wave, with predictable consequences. It often bottoms out on the shallow ledge, leaving the surfers with little chance of success. Breaking only 30 metres from the steep cliffs, surfers can be pinned against the dry rocks, or held on the shelf as the next wave approaches.
This unedited, raw version of events below captures the difficulty, or plain insanity, of the task. For those that revel in the pain of others we recommend you fast forward to the 3.39 minute mark.
The adage that you have to pay to play has never been so true. But for the underground chargers who both paid and played it was an incredible two days of surfing in Sydney. And quite possibly, the best ever.