TRACKS Ride Guide
I should have known it was a bad sign when 30-knot northerlies coincided with the first day of the trip. After two days of Darude’s ‘Sandstorm’ on repeat we were dusty, deflated and in dire straits. Despite having Wade Goodall and Chippa Wilson dialled in to test 18, freshly waxed shooters, we pulled the pin, hopeful that Mother Nature might smile on us in a few weeks. Instead she just smirked. Despite travelling six hours down the coast we were again greeted with northerlies and a 1-3-foot surf forecast for the next 10 days. There was no way to spin it–we were about to swallow one big shit sandwich. Wade and Chippa deserved better. Our filmmaker Dom Sullivan and our photographer, the affable, Simon ‘Swilly’ Williams deserved better. Shit, I did too. This was the first time I had been able to surgically remove myself from my fiancé and 9-monthold son since he was in her womb. This trip wasn’t pretty, but the silver lining was that I got to see the true meaning of how to turn lemons into lemonade.
Wade and Chippa are two of the most easy-going professional surfers I’ve ever had the pleasure of sharing company with. Despite the grind, they remained upbeat and saw everything through rose coloured glasses. We fished, we drank, we laughed and we drank and fished some more. We squeezed out good times despite everything seemingly not going to plan. Take for instance the four flat tires, shark sightings every (yes every!) surf, snagged lures and the surf not getting over 3 foot. Yes, the conditions paled in comparison to an Indo boat trip, but the boys still ripped the bag. Watching them fly down the line on a 2-foot wave and manufacture an air out of a nothing section is an impressive sight to behold. It makes you question your entire surfing relationship, but most importantly it’s a testament to the calibre of two of the best free surfers in the world. Their experience and ability to tease out the nuances of each shape will give you a sound idea of how each board performed and why it might be the perfect addition to your quiver. And while conditions may not have been ideal, they did reflect the reality of what summer surfing is like on much of the Australian coast. Thus the boards were subjected to evaluation in the types of waves they are likely to be ridden in by the average surfer, making it an honest and authentic test of their relative performance.
A huge thanks to Moby’s Beachside Retreat for putting us up and making our stay comfortable. I’m still hearing the cackle of the Kookaburra’s that echoed through the yard every morning. Maybe they were just mocking our calamitous misfortune, but somehow the sound of laughter helped.
Finally, this trip would have really hit a snag if it wasn’t for Ceiron, the man with the magic rattle gun, and owner of Kembali café, who came to our rescue throughout our misadventure. Thanks for the hospitality and tasty grinds you bloody legend!