I’m glad to see that my old van is still having a great time!
You might have guessed that the trips over, and so is the blog.
I have a new blog now, Ive been putting up some photos, old and new and I will start writing again when I have a new adventure.
Follow it, why not? It will encourage me to put stuff up
Thank you to all of my friends that have made my last 9 or 10 months some of the best times that I have ever had.
Thank you for bailing me out when money got low, thank you for taking me fishing, thank you for letting me sleep on your sofa, thank you for letting me borrow your car, thank you for lending my the Dollars to buy my van, thank you for the guest list spaces, thank you for the beers, thank you for letting me party, thank you for inviting me camping with all of your friends, thank you for letting me camp in your drive, than you for showing me waves that I wouldnt have otherwise known, thank you for cooking me dinner, thank you for buying me pizza, thank you for showing me the biggest sand dune slide, thank you for camping with me, thank you for giving me waves, thank you for the rum, thank you for the sushi, thank you teaching me to play the guitar, thank you for waking up really early to pick me up, thank you for the good times.
The last 40 odd hours have been some very busy hours indeed.
After some of the best Byron surfs Ive had (especially at Tallows) me and some friends headed to the pub to drown my sorrows. After a few beers we headed back to my friends and sang badly to quite well played guitars. We drank, we sang, we laughed, we woke up with head aches.
Return to Kevin’s van, ‘…did I leave this door open all night?!’ Kevin looks at me and laughs, not in a laughing with me way, a laughing at me way.
A quick refreshment of bacon, eggs, hollandaise and a flat white with no sugar please.
Byron Easy Bus. Sleep badly, wake up with cricked neck, more of that to come.
The flight is a blurry one, Im tired and take advantage of the free drinks and peanuts whilst watching the many films and TV Programs on offer on the little screen in front of me.
Arrive in Singapore, wow its hot, I forgot about the humidity. Back to the A/C rooms. Have a free shower at the airport, much needed.
Board the 13 hour plane to Heathrow. Sweet, I think I have a row to myself! Late arrivals, dissapointment.
1 toilet break.
Watch all the films and TV programs that I have already seen on the first flight.
Arrive at Heathrow, wash in the toilets to try and rid that stench of travel and spilt curry, play the awkward waiting game with the generation game conveyor belt of prizes (all of which are suitcases), collect my over weight, over sized board bag and leave the terminal, finally setting foot over the English border (where was I when I was collecting my bags?) and find my delightful friend Lauren who has driven all the way from Bournemouth to collect me, what a star.
Phone calls, facebook comments, text messages (sorry for not replying), traffic jams, sun.
Arrive at the beach, remove foot ware and proceed to paddle. Its cold, but Im happy about it.
Arrive home, see awesome Welcome Home banner ala Mum - thanks!
Meet and greet with the family, give presents, eat more bacon and eggs (sans le hollandaise).
Pub, beer, beach, more friends, sunshine, still happy.
So, that’s it. Australia, done.
I had a really good few days in Byron, the surf was good everyday and we partied every night, I couldn’t complain.
I dont think Im ready to go home at all, I need a few more months or years…
People keep asking what the best and worst parts have been from my trip, and its hard to say, it really is. The worst part would be my friend Jonno passing last week, but the best part? There is too many! I keep forgetting that I started in Indonesia all those months a go. Maybe Ill have a think about the best parts later and put a post up when I’m waiting in Singapore…
See you soon friends
This weekend is the final of the Margaret River Drug Aware Pro, which means every man and his dog are in town to watch the last few surfers fight for the final, I can not even explain how many people are here, I had to park in town and get a shuttle bus into Prevelly because they have stopped all parking! Crazy times.
Ive had some pretty fine waves over the last few days, paddling out in the dark at 5:45 before the crowds and surfing until about 9:30-10:00 before callapsing with a cheese and tomato sandwhich…
Today I surfed Cobblestones again, it was really fun at the beginning when the stars were just fading and no one but myself getting waves. Then the crowds slowly trickled in and by 9:00am it was crowded beyond belief. I paddled back to the beach and ended up meeting some of the pro bodyboarders that I have always looked up to, Dave and Jeff Hubbard. Dave came straight up to me and said ‘Hey man, nice last wave, I’m Dave from Hawaii’ (as if I didnt know!). Nice humble folk, nothing like the majority of pro surfers and bodyboarders that I have met over the last 9 months or so. I watched them paddle out and turn average waves on a dropping swell into a skatepark. It was cool to sit about with them on the beach for a while and hear them joking about peoples styles and hooting at the good waves that came through, it was a nice after surf chill.
The final of the stand up competition is about to start, I expect last nights party will start up again very soon and there will be some very jolly people about!
On Monday the trials for the Bodyboard competion starts, but I think I will be long gone by then, the waves look pretty windy and I think that the only sheltered places will be crowded as always, the curse of good waves!
When I moved to Byron, my friend Jaybee introduced me to his Tasmanian friends who also lived in Byron Bay. One of these guys was called Jonno Howell. He was a great photographer and a great guy to hang around with. Today I received news that he suffered an allergic reaction in Byron Bay and passed away.
My thoughts to everyone that knew him, he was a super fun guy to hang around with and he will be missed by everyone, rest in peace Jonno x
On a lighter note, happy birthday mum!
Rental cars, they got not soul. However, they are good for off roading, because what I ever I do to it, as long as I get it back on the road, it will only cost me $50. So, This means that the sand trap that would have stopped me and my van from getting to waves was now just something fun to drive through (quickly, no turning and ignore the noises and spilling coffee).
I surfed a really fun wave called cobblestones yesterday. I paddled out and it was just me and two friendly bodyboarders. We traded waves for an hour over the dry reef (named ‘the cheese grater’ due to its razor sharp reputation) before a small crew of bodyboarders joined in. The vibe was good, we all traded waves, we all got grated, we all had smiles. New addition, add stand up surfers from the Drug Aware Pro (world tour event at Margaret River) who want as many waves as they can get. I see familiar faces from magazines, familiar turns and styles and watch in disgust as they paddle past everyone, drop in on anyone and snake their friends to the next wave. Is this what pro surfing is? If it is, I hate it.
I still had a solid 3 hours before it got crowded and then I stayed in for another hour or so and just waited for the gaps in the crowd.
One of the things that I love about bodyboarding is the community. I got chatting to a NZ bodyboarder in the water, it turns out he knows my good friend Rob Smith (Devon hell man come scientist) who is studying in NZ for his Phd. This was pretty random, but Rob did tell me that this guy was around WA for the competition next week at ‘The Box’, so it was likely that I would bump into him. Later on, I got a cracker of a wave, big spin out of the end bowl and landed back over the shallow reef… I notice that there is a guy filming, yes! I paddle over to ask if he shot it, he didnt. He said he had got washed in by the wave before, damn! I ask him where is from, he’s from Portugal and happens to know my friends Phil and Dave from Jersey, the two boys that made my Indonesia expedition one of the funniest trips ever.
Later in the day I was hanging around the surf competition, watching the big boys fight it out at ‘Surfers Point’. It was good to watch but I couldnt help but think about the mornings surf that got ruined by them.
In the evening I met some German people in the car park at ‘The Box’. They said they were camping on the beach and would I like to join, so I slept on the beach with the minimal camping gear that I have (a towel and a sleeping bag). It was a good night fuelled by cheap wine and swatting mosquitoes. In the morning I woke up for a surf, the wind was onshore so I thought I would just hang there with them for a bit… And then I saw him, The Ranger! Run! I cant afford the fine for sleeping on the beach and doing nothing wrong, so I ran over the sand dunes before he saw me, sleeping bag and towel packed into my bag… the only give away, my PJ trousers… Ill just pretend I’m in the Circus if he asks…
Just some more photos from the Margaret River area
My trip is coming to an end, very quickly. Obviously I cant wait to see my friends and family and Raphs wedding, but seriously, cant you all just come out here for a bit? No, really!
Anyway, Im back off south for the remainder of my trip, dodging the crowds of people and pro surfers (Kelly Slater arrived today) to get a sneaky few waves.
Ive got one little trip left after Margaret River, and thats a quick stop in Byron Bay to say good bye to my friends from all over the world (well, Australia, England and Canada pretty much).
Im looking forward to a roast dinner too, hint hint nudge nudge mother!
Since getting to WA I have been jetting between Margaret river and Perth. The weekends are super busy for surfing so I thought I’d go and visit a friend from home. Turned out my friend, Clayton, was having a party, perfect! I met some cool new people and ended up using a frying pan for a glass, that’s what happens when you have just moved in and there are not enough glasses to go round!
We headed back down south again to surf Margaret river and lucked in to some really good sessions. It was James’ birthday and he scored some good waves, what better way is there to spend your birthday?
I hooked up with a friend that I met in Sumatra too, he let us stay with him at his families holiday chalet which was much nicer than our rental car! Thanks Brett! We had a good surf with him in Gracetown the next day.
Back in Perth again now, deciding where to go, how long to hire for and what to eat for lunch.
The sun doesn’t stop shining, you actually want cloud to stop the burn.
2 weeks on Tuesday and I’ll be in England.
Me and James drove down to Margaret River and had some good waves. Nice to be back in shorts in the sea!
After a few rides on the gas guzzling global warming flight machines and some horrible fast food, I arrive in Western Australia. I had to hang out at the airport to wait for my friend James to finish work, which was no trouble as I found a pub and it was hot, really hot compared to Tasmania!
Tomorrow I’m getting a hire car so that I can head down the coast for some waves with James. All I’ve been doing is staring at photos of the waves over here, mind surfing them and imagining what it’s like, the vibe, the set up, the temperature, how shallow are the waves and are they crowded, probably yes.
Seeing the South Australian desert from above was pretty amazing. It’s so vast and dry with just a few obvious ‘roads’ visible. I couldn’t see sign of petrol stations or farms or anything for miles and miles. There were some off shore islands too, even they were desolate and dead looking, although potentially have waves….