WHAT DID THAT REALLY COST YOU? : BY LUKE KENNEDY
I caught him in my peripheral vision, the neon-vested parking Nazi punching in the details of my number plate as I slugged on a morning coffee at the regular watering hole. Instantly it was like one of those dramatic, slow-mo scenes from a movie. "Noooooooooo!" I screamed as I charged towards him and my double-parked car, already doing the maths in my head. "$250 bucks. That's a week of good living in Sri Lanka, where I've got a surf trip booked later in the year." It was too late, the council Gestapo had already made up his mind that he was going to put a dent in my Ceylonese savings. Words to the effect of "F#$&ing Scumbag!" might have been used as I watched a hired driver, plates of succulent fish curry and empty waves disappear in an instant. I couldn't help but think, had I been in Indo a quick 50,000 rupiah would have resolved the whole incident. Corruption be damned.
The painful moment did however provide an insight into the surfer's concept of economics or the surfer's brain if you like. Once most of us have experienced the wonders of foreign surf travel we begin to consider the opportunity cost of almost every other life-purchase, big and small, eg. out to dinner in Oz = a day's food in Indo. New second-hand car for around six thousand = two weeks at a luxury land camp. A brand new car = a cheap van and six months travel in Europe. A new unit = my own luxury villa in Indo with no expense spared.
As surfers we are forever doomed to perform these simultaneous equations. The main reason we feel so guilt-ridden in regards to our domestic purchases is that we know how good travelling overseas to surf is. Hunting perfect waves on foreign shores has infinite appeal. Surfers have a very defined sense of purpose on their journeys while simultaneously exploring the intricacies of other cultures. We are more like wave pilgrims infused with a religious-like fervour to experience sacred wave sites – much more evolved than your average rubbernecking tourist.
But I'm getting off topic; this is a conversation about surfing economics.
This month we've compiled a range of surf travel stories from different financial stratospheres. From the classic Europe on a shoe-string trip, to the opulence of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, where your girlfriend can sip Margaritas from the cliff-top infinity pool while watching you punt in the shorey for a mere US$600 a night. Elsewhere in the mag Pat O'Shea dodges diamond mine security in Namibia and Jed Smith makes a hilarious descent into the seedy depths of the North Shore and finds himself bunking down alongside chronic masturbators, prescription junkies and grog-poaching staff.
Yes, the mag is full of both misadventure and those special travel moments when everything serendipitously comes together.
For those of you with an aversion to swaying boats we've also compiled an extensive list of land camps in varying price ranges on page 106. I was just robbed of a night's stay at one of these fine establishments by a kook wandering the streets. Hopefully you are much more careful with your own precious travel dollars.