05 March 2018

Kitesurfing Cyclone Gita on Namotu Island

Written by Ben Wilson, Posted in Interviews

A few fun moments from Fiji's category 5 cyclone in February 2018

Kitesurfing Cyclone Gita on Namotu Island

In February this year (2018) Cyclone Gita devastated Tonga and was heading toward Fiji. I was on Namotu Island hosting some fishing trips and saw the pattern forming about a week out.

Cyclones are not uncommon for this time of year and I'd noticed the water was really warm, something that tends to bring both good fishing and cyclones. We tracked the weather system for about 7 days before it hit and although I had a feeling it would miss Fiji, the day before it was heading in our direction so I was forced to evacuate all the guests from the Island...

It takes a full day to lock down the island and another to open it back up. In the end we had 3 days with no staff, no boats and no guests. Just a few of us to make sure we could take care of maintenance if needed. Fortunately, although there were hectic winds and lots of rain, the Island and most of Fiji escaped serious damage.

The cyclone did bring strong winds and even whipped up some novelty waves on the north side of the Island that we all had fun kiting. I rode our new Blue Chip bar and Æ2 kite plus had the chance to really put our DHD kite-only board to the test. I'm really happy with and it survived some viscious treatment uscathed. It's basically a chopped-down version of my signature DHD with all new materials... Stay tuned for release info. We also fished and did all kinds of stupid things we’d never normally do with an Island full of guests. It was so sad kicking them off and ruining their holiday but I really enjoyed watching the elements over those few days, a rare opportunity to see such extreme conditions.

We had one amazing day at Swimming Pools with side-off waves, somthing I’ve never experienced in over 20 years of working on Namotu. We also kited Tavarua Rights for the first time and did a thousand airs in wind swell off the end of the Island. Even Namotu itself changed shape in the space of a few days as sand shifted around.

There were a few nights when we went to sleep and weren’t sure what we’d wake up but generally I’d say ‘excitement’ is something close to what we were feeling.

All images by Stu Gibson. Unless they are of Stu Gibson, in which case you can thank Beau Pilgrim

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SUPsquatch fishing

About the Author

Ben Wilson

Ben Wilson

Ben Wilson, a big-wave kitesurfer and co-founder of BWSurf. A pioneer of the sport, Ben was one of the first to use a surfboard in harmony with a kite and he continues to drive the sport in new directions.

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