OKASIONAL BAY

UN­DER THE SPELL OF AN EPHEMERAL SOUTH­SIDE WAVE

Tracks - - Contents - LUKE KENNEDY STORY BY

Most surfers have a wave which puts them un­der a kind of rap­ture. A set-up they find so se­duc­tive that they can never say no. If this favoured break is turn­ing on then girl­friends are aban­doned, work ne­glected and chil­dren made to sit on the beach and watch. The wave takes a hold and they’ll duck and weave just about any re­spon­si­bil­ity to make time for a few rides.

As the ob­ject of their fancy some surfers choose the ob­vi­ous spots – the ones we’ve all read about and ogled at for decades, but there’s plenty of salt-water dis­ci­ples who are devo­tees of waves less fre­quently dis­cussed in hal­lowed voices.

My par­tic­u­lar predilec­tion is re­served for a small cove wedged be­tween Bondi and Ta­ma­rama in Sydney’s densely pop­u­lated eastern sub­urbs. To the ur­ban surfers it’s sim­ply Mackas, to the body­board­ers who cap­i­talise on its be­yond vert en­try points it’s K-bay, and for the af­flu­ent res­i­dents whose mul­ti­mil­lion dol­lar prop­er­ties tower above, it’s of­fi­cially Macken­zies Bay.

Per­haps the love af­fair many surfers have with Mackas has much to do with its ephemeral na­ture. Most of the time it’s lit­tle more than a deep-water in­let with a wave­less Mediter­ranean vibe, where girls might take a leisurely morn­ing dip, spear-fish­er­man hunt for a dis­tinctly ur­ban catch and prop­erty agents com­mis­sion photos to in­flate the value of the sur­round­ing real es­tate. How­ever, once ev­ery few years the volatil­i­ties of the ocean con­spire to build up just enough sand in the coastal nook to cre­ate the most unique of surf­ing set­tings.

At its best Mackas starts as a re­fracted left sidewinder, which mar­ries it­self to a steep, pyra­mid peak. Once the two mus­cu­lar bends col­lide the wave jacks vi­o­lently and hurls into a thick-lipped keg that throt­tles

PERTH STANDLICK KICKSTALLING BE­NEATH THE HOOD OF A MACKAS HOOK AS THE ROCKS CHAL­LENGE HIM TO RUN THE GAUNT­LET. PHOTO: MOR­RIS

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