South Coast Christmas Classic
Story by James McCarthy-Price - KA88
Here's a really cool and well-written story by our mate James McCarthy-Price. It's about our Christmas time down South. I love it and am sure you will too.
So here it is, enjoy the read!
Pics by James McCarthy-Price KA88, Emma Severne and myself.
I’ve run out of Band-Aids. Five of them cover my feet and I’ve gotten away with just two on the bigger cuts in my damaged hands. Broken but elated I reminisce on the waves I punished and have been punished by.
Post-Uni celebrations are usually kept short and instead involve driving a well-worn track back to my home (and more specifically to the surf) which lies on the picturesque but wild Sou’ Eastern coastline of WA. I grew up here and I have always felt the gentle magnetism to return.
As I wait between sets, I recharge and muse on the outcomes of hectic months gone by. I let the all the negatives, the burdens and the sense of falseness in city life dissolve into the water around me. I am lucky to have grown up in this rural freedom; for that I am truly grateful. But I daren’t sit too long, the smell of a fresh ocean mist greets me… sailing today!
Spotty is the first to arrive, but there’ll be many more, he kindly puts in a hard morning’s work into clearing the spare block adjacent to our house with Boss-Price and I. By midday the foliage and prickle bushes are no more! Thanks so much Spotty! By nightfall the block has been transformed into a car park, packed with vans of weary travellers; Craig Spottiswood, Ben and Emma Severne, Simon Hurrey, Laure Treboux, Justin Stock, Liam Smyth and Rob Goyen all frothing over the upcoming pattern.
Warm morning light sends the nomads into the surf line-up forming an insta-crowd. The break only gains more punters, as the surf-illiterate tourists figure that the pack represents the best option for a paddle in the area. I wake to watch the spectacle of drop-ins and party-waves, holding out for a paddle until the crowd thins due to the unavoidable onset of morning hunger. As it gets sparse, I pounce… only to find that it turns onshore. Nooo!
Piercing eyes survey the whitecaps relentlessly until the faceoff is broken, with the wind filling in, the convoy ride out and rig up.
I’m stoked: my 80L NUDE Chopper is finally in my hands! Yew! But the wind is feathering and I choose my trusty 90L Chopper instead. I have neglected sailing waves this semester, opting for the easier 3 minute drive to the river to train freestyle and it shows… I suck! The learning curve is steep as I blow so many good sections remembering how to engage a rail. Felix Spencer sails laps around me and his improvement is phenomenal! I’m so stoked to see my bro ripping hard and my hunger to improve quickly intensifies. Ben and Si set the level with late hits and big aerials; it is awesome to watch. Eventually the wind turns offshore and I retire as Ben and Si chase some jumps, I am physically finished and retire to photog duties. Check the photos.
Day two is greeted by the same packed crowd, but this time I find an uncrowded wave and have a ball zigzagging on a 5’11 twin-fin vessel created from scraps by Jas Morris at the NUDE factory. It’s quick and loose and I’m ecstatic, having only daydreamt of surfing a twin before. The wind comes in earlier this time and Si and Laure swoop getting an hours sailing in before we arrive. I chuckle as I have to tell the watching eyes in the car park that the “boy” shredding the waves isn’t a boy at all, but our Laure! Laure’s sailing and confidence has improved exponentially and she is shredding as hard as the boys!
I’m stoked after the frustrating kook session the day before. The wind picks up and I’m confident on my responsive 90L and 5.0m² 2012 S1 combo. I catch a few good waves and get some decent rail turns in. My eyes light up at the sight of a rogue logo bomb and I’m quick to claim it. It jacks up solidly and I try to aerial the decent close-out but instead floater over the section, I pause as I’m racing over the barrel contemplating my option to pull off or go for it, but my confidence gets the better of me as I throw myself off the top toward the face. Alarm bells ring out as I blow it and crash into the white water. I look back in horror and frustration; this bomb wasn’t alone! The next wave rears up over the shallow bank and breaks top to bottom over me. I can do nothing but watch on as my rig sits joyfully unaware of its fate. I frantically dive under the heaving thick lipped barrel as it explodes right onto the join of my mast and I instantly hear that horrible underwater ‘click’ as the carbon shatters. I get washed into the rip and tug at the remains of my rig for 15 minutes against the relentless current before I finally make it to safety. Lunch time.
The wind picks up and the frustration of breaking my favourite sail is replaced with excitement as I pull my 80L out of the bag. It is mint and untarnished; I pause and relish a fleeting moment of gear-wankery at my virgin NUDE twin. Severne stomps a backy as I scurry down the stairs.
This is the second and smallest board I’ve owned, having previously being restricted to tentatively testing smaller boards off friends. I’m stoked as the smaller board flips fiercely from rail to rail and gives me the choice to get more vertical in the pocket, but I’m definitely not used to this sinking feeling! Felix tries a goiter on the wave in front of me and I reply with a hack and a gu-screw. The freedom of a smaller board is amazing!
The wind goes offshore and we pack up to chase a break with a better wind angle for some jumps. Ben and Si set the standard as the rest of the travellers watch on. Si stomps a mast high backy and Ben replies straight away. The brotherly competition lasts for a couple of hours with each trying to spray or out-jump the other. I rig up and join them if only to get a better view of the action! My freestyle skill doesn’t help me at all, as I throw myself of ramps chasing back loops and stall forwards only to come crashing down hard. You forget the welcome sting and concussive delirium of high stacks in the waves, each one pushes me harder to keep trying moves. The 80L and S1 combo feel light but confidence inspiring in the air. I eventually rattle myself hard enough to earn a return to the beach, and retire to the safety of photog duties as the brother’s fight it out in the air for superiority.
Si grimaces as the ex-Christmas cake is brought out, candles lit. He was already squirming with his red party hat and ‘Happy Birthday’ banner sitting behind him. Someone makes a wisecrack about the red hat matching his ginger locks and the laughter is kept alive directed at the only birthday candle on hand sitting proud on the cake which reads ‘50’. Happy 50thSi!
Morning is greeted with the familiar smell of fresh wax and the rhythm of the cold walk to the curl, but not for long! The decision is made to venture out of town to chase the wind. A pod of dolphins roll through to see us off and we head out.
The track slowly fades from tar to gravel to sand. As we stop to survey the conditions a 100m high willy-willy greets us, illuminated by a million grains of the crisp white beach sand. It dances at us with powerful charm and then evaporates into the ether, only to be replaced with the spinning 4×4 tyres as we race up the coast. The scene is set with virtually direct offshore winds buffeting corduroy lines wrapping around the point. We rig up and Felix and I dash out to be the first to hit the turquoise water. The wind angle is wild and I just manage to snag a feathering wave before bolting down the line. I rail the wave careful not to be pushed off the back before lining up a nice closeout section. It breaks in slow motion, held up by the buffeting offshore and I’m lucky to time it as I boost off the lip and come crashing down to a few victory hoots from Laure. Yeeeeeeeeew!
I change up to my 90L to help snag the rolling swells but I’m so overpowered on the wave I stick with my smaller S1. Severne is all over it boosting massive aerials with the hectic speed the offshore provides. I catch Si land a goiter off the back and Severne get worked on a failed reply goiter. I really hope I’m still pushing that hard when I’m 50! The game changes and we sail down the long wrapping bay and the waves start to break on an easier angle to the wind, the sailing is still challenging, with the eddies off the back of the waves changing direction violently, but the wave face is so rewarding with speed on tap. I foolishly try a forward off a ramp not factoring in the wind pressure off the lip and get ragdolled end-over-end nearly kissing the mast tip. Wooo! The 4×4’s chase us down the coast until the pack is ground down and eventually retire to a well-earned beverage (or four). It is not without controversy as Liam hits the beach with a very wonky mast-base. It has held on literally by a thread and we muse at the horror swim he narrowly escaped, given his far offshore downwind leg. We trickle back to town stopping off at a rural watering hole for one on the wood, enjoying the tired but accomplished feeling of a magic day.
Day breaks and an offshore zephyr grooms the lingering swell. But the block is quiet, as is the line-up, the wax sits eager and the beach is untrodden. The nomadic circus is no more as they journey north to welcome the next pattern, leaving behind only tyre-tracks and the memories of another magic Christmas.
Results for 2011 Christmas Classic: