Joe Van Dijk
Joe’s just hit 18, but he’s too busy competing to stop and get his licence. He reckons he’s doubled his 120 hours at the wheel but has forgotten to log it. A drive to Cactus might fix the situation.
The Woolamai Surf Lifesaving Club appeared in 1959, housed at what was then one of the state’s remotest beaches, in an ex-military Nissen hut. It’s an imposing sight these days, as Joe runs past it. The surf’s light offshore and blue as hell. Joe throws airs with the headland in the background, faded to lilac in the heat. Joe’s dad Robbie talks while Joe surfs: short and bearded, he’s been a commercial fisherman up the northwest coast at Exmouth. He and the family live out by the southern coast of the island now – before that he spent his summers here, and used to alternate with the northwest for surf trips.
Phillip Island can do brutal winters – it’s famous for them – but today Joe could be anywhere up the east coast. The dome-shaped banks, a righthander that races down the line. Joe’s tall and square, whip thin. He likes to scour the shorey banks, so close to the beach that he once got a salmon hook right through his big toe and had to have it cut out. His white hair stands out in the lineup – later when he surfs a righthander with the sunset behind him it’s the hair that marks him out among the silhouettes. Ed shot him 18 months ago and thinks he’s surfing far better now – and he’s grown a foot.
Main: Joe Van Dijk pulling his spider-man act above a green-lantern lip. Inset: Joe roaming his island playground.