Had a terrifying experience yesterday! I surfed La Perouse late in the day. Just after sunset, I got frustrated waiting for an outside wave. I took off on a “medium” wave which turned into a gapping well overhead closeout barrel. I didn’t penetrate and then got washed in a bit for what seemed like a 10 wave set. With an 8’ board, I couldn’t duck dive very well. After just a few more poundings, I was right in front of the rocky, lava pinacle, outcrop to the west of the keyhole, literally just a few feet from the peanut gallery. I then got washed right over some lava pinacles. I jumped off my board to swim away from the lava/rock cliff, and thankfully that was the last wave of the set. I was literally maybe 10 feet from the cliff, about to get pounded. I escaped with only a few small cuts. Alan Cadiz , Graeme Kronewitter , Matt (aka Bones), were right there, shouting at me. Just a bit of adrenaline was pumping.
One mistake I made was that I shouldn’t have surfed an unfamilar large board in large surf. I hadn’t surfed my 8’ gun in years. It was very hard to duck dive in a huge set at La Perouse.
Another thing to know is that if you’re getting washed at giant La Perouse, it might be better to try to get swept into the keyhole, as there’s a little spot in there where you can stay in place until the sets subside. I was just paddling out like crazy, and I didn’t even notice that I passed the keyhole.