Today we were in no doubt that Cotillo was the location that would be firing with northeast trades and a chunky 2.6m at 16 second northwest swell on the cards. Both our local contacts, Corky Kirkham and Iballa Moreno, had confirmed that this would be the place to sail, even though the break is known as a bone-crushing beach break and destroyer of masts. The sleepy fishing village marks the western end of the legendary north shore track and hosts the gnarly wave spot – ‘Spew Pits’, just to the left of the harbour, while the main sandy beach is about 1km south of the village. It’s a bit of a beauty and the beast location, since when it’s flat, its turquoise waters are quite appealing for blasting around and intermediates can enjoy its long sandy bay. But when the waves are pumping its almost perpetual swell hits the gently shelving sandbar in huge close-outs which can offer a big hit for down the line heroes or a mast high shorebreak to escape from. Perfect timing is crucial here on this one hit wonder or as mentioned your mast can end in splinters alongside countless others that have been victim to its ruthless power.