An ode to an Island

Over the past few weeks the Gold Coast has been bombarded by waves. However, despite the hype, most of the sessions have been confined to a select few protected spots which can handle the size. However there’s been a few great days of waves on the beach breaks. One that sticks in my mind as probably the most fun I’ve had this year (so far!) was last Friday. I braved the paddle to the Best Beachie in the World (TM) with Pat in the cool pre-dawn to be rewarded by the sight of a perfect a-frame peeling in the gloom. There were only two other earlybirds on it, despite the school holidays, and we raced into the lineup.

Not the same day, but the shape is what defines the break...

Not the same day, but the shape is what defines the break...

It wasn’t what I’d call big – overhead, maybe slightly larger on some sets – but it was a roaring return to form for Straddie after a long period of dodgy sandbanks. I was exhausted from surfing solid Main Beach the previous two days – it had been raw, powerful and unrefined (hard going!), a dramatic contrast to the hollow, lightly-airbrushed offshore peaks spitting all the way from Kiddies as far as the eye could see north.  However, the mysterious lack of crowd and abundance of waves meant I had no choice but to compel my arms and legs into gear every time I was inside, because I knew it was a session worth milking for everything I could get.

Hollow, clean, peaky... what is it about islands?

Hollow, clean, peaky... what is it about islands?

I went back over yesterday for the tail end of the remarkable run of swell and there were still some good ones about, but the magic wasn’t there. I spent the first hour dodging bomb wash through sets, got a couple as it started to sort itself out, then spent the next hour in a ridiculously thick crowd that somehow materialised in the space of a few minutes. I could deal with the crowd and was enjoying just being out there in good waves, but the behaviour of some jet ski riders really got to me. It’s hard to imagine how there isn’t more serious injuries, judging by how dangerously these guys were behaving. At one point, before the crowd got really bad, a guy towed in his mate right where I was sitting, such that he drove within a couple of metres to my right, and the towed guy went right past me on my lef t – I felt sure I was going to get clotheslined by the tow rope or something. Later in the session, a different guy drove into the crowd, picked up his mate, and immediately towed him onto an approaching set, all within a few metres of dozens of angry punters. All it’d take is a momentary lapse of concentration, or a bad patch of glare, and there could be a tragedy. In fact, on the way back across the seaway, we saw the nearest miss I’ve witnessed to date – a ski rider belting full throttle out of the Seaway, full glare in his face, missing a paddling surfer by a matter of an arm’s length or so without slowing down until after he’d gone past.

Still… it’s not going to stop me from making the trip, because of all the memories I’ve had in Queensland, the best are dominated by mindless barrels and air bowls…

Deep Inside.

Deep Inside.

Categories: photos, Surf | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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