BLUE AR­CA­DIA

CHIPPA WIL­SON AND DION AGIUS RIDE HEAV­ENLY WEDGES ON A FRIGID, IS­LAND PAR­ADISE. ALL PHO­TOS BY JOHN RE­SPON­DEK. CAP­TIONS BY CHIPPA WIL­SON (PIC­TURED RIGHT)

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Chippa Wil­son was driv­ing around run­ning er­rands when the call came through from Dion Agius. “If Dion calls it’s nor­mally about a surf trip within the next 24 hours,” ex­plains Chippa. While Chippa loves his re-vamped 1970s Ford Econo­line van, the racket it makes en­sures phone con­ver­sa­tions are im­pos­si­ble, so he pulled over and promptly called Dion back. His hunch proved right and an up­beat Dion urged him to get on a plane to King Is­land the next morn­ing. Chippa had spent a decade por­ing over pho­tos and dream­ing of KI’s blue­but­ter A-frames, but never quite hit the trig­ger on a trip. When Dion reached out, the North­ern NSW Coast, where Chip re­sides, was awash with rank brown river wa­ter – suit­able for lit­tle but the cul­ti­va­tion of bull sharks. Cerulean wedges on a wild coast seemed even more ap­peal­ing than ever. By dusk the fol­low­ing day he was stand­ing on a windswept Bass Strait knoll, along­side Dion, watch­ing a new swell fill in. Fresh lines wrap­ping into a hal­lowed stretch and be­ing bro­ken up like new rain hit­ting a cracked gully – all trans­lat­ing into curl­ing peaks of sand­bot­tom bliss for surfers. For four straight days Chippa and Dion were like lucky pil­grims who had stum­bled upon Ar­ca­dia – rid­ing their first waves at dawn, camp­ing out all day on the beach, and then phon­ing in their food or­ders to the pub as they trudged through the dunes on dark – wind­burnt and weary but with minds aglow as they tried to sep­a­rate the syrupy bar­rels which had merged into one eu­phoric blur of blue.

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