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Surfer mates rip ‘world’s shallowest reef break’

Wednesday January 23, 2019 Written by Published in Other Sports
Last week local surfer Donald Hallin showcased his world class wave riding skills on his home break at the Social Centre Nikao, taking off on some “absolute bombs” says photographer Charlotte Piho.  PHOTO: CHARLOTTE PIHO Last week local surfer Donald Hallin showcased his world class wave riding skills on his home break at the Social Centre Nikao, taking off on some “absolute bombs” says photographer Charlotte Piho. PHOTO: CHARLOTTE PIHO

Getting barrelled and fearlessly charging monster waves was how local and visiting surfers spent last Monday at the Social Centre.

And while most of us were still working that afternoon, local Donald Hallin, and his childhood friend John Young, from the Gold Coast, were carving it up on possibly the shallowest reef break in the world; right up until clock-off time.

The swell was pumping off the northern end of the island at Nikao, but the surfers were up to the epic barrel challenge.

Was it Hallin’s biggest day out at Socials?: “No, I’ve surfed bigger than that, and a few times I almost died,” he says laughing.

“Every day out in the surf is a special day. It helps me relax, makes me feel connected to mother nature and my culture.

“You lose track of time out there. It was special to surf with one of my best friends again who’s back home on holiday from Australia.”

Reminiscing on how far the two surfers have travelled through time till now he adds, “We learned how to surf when we were kids. No-one taught us, and everyone looked down on us, called us time wasters and useless. But we loved it, we grew passionate about it. We got better at it and now we’re able to ride these big waves with confidence and get barrelled.

“Surfing with my close mates reminds me how far we have come with surfing and that’s special to me.”

Documenting the rare big wave session with her Canon camera at the ready was Charlotte Piho, also courageously out in the line-up with the small group of surfers.

“Having Charlotte out there in the line-up is awesome,” says Hallin.

“Much respect for her being out there on a big day. We have never had a female out there in these conditions. She has amazing water skills, and for her to get awesome footage like that of us is something special.”

For the experienced pro SUP rider from Bondi, Piho says it was one of the best days she’s ever had in the Cook Islands.

“I was so proud watching the boys get barrel after barrel and I loved the good vibes on the water.

“Everyone smiling, cheering each other on, and making sure we all kept safe. That is what surfing is all about. Pushing yourself mentally and physically to your limits; while having the time of your life and spreading good energy.

“Can’t wait to get back out and shoot our boys charging again. Great to see them inspiring other locals who don’t think you can surf here.” -CT

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