The Furthest I've Ever Traveled for Waves...
First, let me tell you about the furthest I have ever traveled to get to a wave.
When I turned 25, I took a two-week solo trip to Australia to meet up with a few friends who lived down there. (Simon Perini, Keiron Lewis, Simon Patchett, and more...)
Upon landing in Sydney, I immediately caught a domestic flight to Brisbane—as it was March and the Noosa Festival of Longboarding was going on.
Patchy and his cousin Andy Gough scooped me up from the airport in a rad little truck—the kind we don't have in the States, but they seem to have everywhere else in the world.
A bunch of the Americans were also in town for the Noosa Festival, so we settled in and found some familiar faces (Cyrus Sutton, Kameron Brown, and Christian Wach).
That next morning we wanted to surf, but the waves were SMALL.
Like real small.
Perini suggested we try a point break that was a few headlands over from Noosa, in the National Forest, called Granites.
Big, heavy log in tow, I was ready for anything... I was just excited to surf.
We started hiking the trail toward our destination, and we just kept going, and going. The air was humid and the board was getting heavy.
When we reached Tea Tree, Perini offered an alternative course—I could keep walking, lugging this board around, or I could hop in the water, paddle out at Tea Tree, continue around the headland, and Granites would be "just on the other side."
Sufficiently sweaty, I opted for the paddling option.
Little did I realize "just around that headland" is a generous description of the path ahead.
I knee paddled my longboard out past the few surfers who were surfing tiny right-handers at Tea Tree and headed for the top of the point, which I was to round and head toward the next point break down the coast.
I got this sinking feeling in my stomach as I rounded the headland and got my first glimpse of our destination. Separating me from the tiny specs that were two or three other surfers was a massive bay stretched out before me.
I just measured it on Google maps, and it's about a 0.6 mile paddle.
My arms were already feeling pretty cooked from paddling out around the point, and there was no other option than to set my course for the waves breaking in the distance and just keep paddling.
Perini snapped this photo of me—midway through that paddle. You can't see it from the vantage up on the trail, but I'm SWEATING.
When I finally arrived at the surf break, I was greeted by two familiar faces. The only two surfers in the water were Matty Chojnacki and Ellis Erickson—two guys who surf with precision, speed, and grace.
I had met Matt the year before in California. I was happy to share a few waves with these guys, even if I'm not deserving of sharing waves with that class of surfer—even on my best day.
We took turns picking off right-handers, and I was regularly awed at the speed these guys could generate, even in small waves.
This was me, doing my best to keep up, with Chonjacki paddling back out on the inside.
I can't for the life of me remember the walk back to the car, but I know for sure I didn't repeat that paddle again. Heavy longboard or not, I opted for the hike.
It was one of the most memorable surfs of my life, both because of the journey to get there and the pristine little setup that we enjoyed that day.
Not sure I'm quite ready to tackle two flights, a drive, a hike, and a long-distance paddle to get there again, but I'm thankful for the memory and the photos Simon Perini snapped that day.
How early should you start planning your next surf trip?
If your surf trip involves an airplane and a passport, start planning one year in advance. Especially if you plan to order a new surfboard for an upcoming surf trip, order it a year before you plan to go.
This might sound extreme, but you want to give yourself plenty of time to familiarize yourself with your equipment before you go on your dream surf trip where perfect waves and empty beaches await.
You do not want to be monkeying around with fin placement midway through a trip.
The time for dialing in your equipment, building your paddling strength, and planning your best window for the conditions to align is months before you ever stuff a surfboard into a board bag and venture off for crystal blue waters.
I can't tell you how many times we have received panicked phone calls from customers who need their board shipped post haste because they have a surf trip coming up on Friday, and the board needs to arrive before then.
Of course, we'll make every effort to get their board to them in time, but man-oh-man, it would eliminate a whole lot of all-hands-on-deck emergencies if a little more planning went in earlier.
The surf experience is based heavily on a series of feelings that are clumsy to articulate, but have the power to keep bringing us back again and again.
The best stories that come out of a surf trip are usually around the drama of trying to get to the spot, or the funny things that happen in the evenings when everyone's arms feel like they're made of wet noodles.
But the best memories are the deeply personal ones that happen in the water.
- That vantage from the shoulder of your friend's best wave.
- That wave that seemed to swing wide and come straight to you.
- The feeling of kicking out at the end of a leg-burner, looking back out to the lineup to see if your buddies were watching from out the back.
So, my advice to you is this...
Dial in your equipment early, plan your accommodations, pack your board bag really well (no dings in transit), and bring your best friends along with you.
Enjoy the anticipation, mind-surf the wave long before you ever arrive, and start planning your next surf trip before the first one ends.
But for our sanity and yours... order your new surfboard EARLY and we'll do our best to build you the best board for maximizing those rare and special opportunities to surf unfamiliar waves with familiar faces.