TRACKS Ride Guide

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Tracks - - Contents - COMPILED BY ALEX WORKMAN ALL PHO­TOS BY SWILLY, EX­CEPT WHERE NOTED. - Alex Workman

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!

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