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Smorgasboarder 50th edition

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2021<br />

#50<br />

smorgasboarder magazine<br />

th<br />

<strong>edition</strong><br />

Portugal, wave pools, wooden boards<br />

and what it feels like to be 50.


Surf Shop<br />

Gerringong<br />

90min SOUTH OF SYDNEY<br />

Celebrating<br />

45 YEARS<br />

Celebrating<br />

45 YEARS<br />

500<br />

+<br />

ONLINE & INSTORE<br />

O N L I N E S T O R E<br />

R E V I E W S<br />

Australia’s Largest<br />

IndependEnt Surf Shop<br />

FAMILY OWNED RUN<br />

&<br />

WWW.NaturalNecessity.com.au<br />

(02) 4234 1636 Open 7 days


A SPECIAL THANKS AS WELL<br />

TO NICK CONNOLLY AND SAM<br />

SWAN WHO ALSO JOINED<br />

US ON WORK EXPERIENCE<br />

FROM CHANCELLOR STATE<br />

COLLEGE.<br />

Cool graphic thanks to<br />

Laurence Souter of Sunshine<br />

Coast Grammar School who<br />

joined us the week prior to<br />

<strong>Smorgasboarder</strong> going to print<br />

on work experience.<br />

CONTENTS<br />

#50<br />

WINTER<br />

2021<br />

10<br />

48<br />

32<br />

10 ladies first<br />

12 news<br />

16 controversy<br />

18 stuff<br />

32 wave pools<br />

46 locals<br />

52 escape<br />

58 portugal<br />

86 gear<br />

98 aloha barry<br />

56<br />

smorgasboarders<br />

Editorial | Dave Swan<br />

dave@smorgasboarder.com.au<br />

0401 345 201<br />

Editorial | Geoff Crockett<br />

geoff@smorgasboarder.com.au<br />

0413 988 333<br />

Advertising | Simon Cross<br />

simon@smorgasboarder.com.au<br />

0413 698 630<br />

New Zealand | Jiff Morris<br />

jeff@smorgasboarder.co.nz<br />

0220 943 913<br />

South Australia | Jimmy Ellis<br />

james@smorgasboarder.com.au<br />

0410 175 552<br />

Design | Horse & Water Creative<br />

mark, kate, val, jimbo, helen, taylah<br />

mark@horseandwater.com.au<br />

Accounts | Louise Gough<br />

louise@smorgasboarder.com.au<br />

2021<br />

#50<br />

smorgasboarder magazine<br />

th<br />

Portugal, wave pools, wooden boards<br />

and what it feels like to be 50.<br />

<strong>edition</strong><br />

our cover<br />

Dig our new look?<br />

We’d love to hear from you!<br />

Image: Picture perfect Portugal.<br />

get involved<br />

Stories, photos, ideas, new and<br />

interesting surf-related stuff you<br />

want to share? drop us a line on<br />

editorial@smorgasboarder.com.au<br />

get your fix<br />

There’s three ways to<br />

score yourself a copy of<br />

smorgasboarder.<br />

1. Subscribe - the mag is still<br />

free - you just pay for delivery. 4<br />

<strong>edition</strong>s per year - $25 annual<br />

subscription (Aus and NZ)<br />

2. Call in to one of the businesses<br />

featured in this mag - they’ll have<br />

some free copies.<br />

3. Download or read it online at<br />

smorgasboarder.com.au<br />

<strong>Smorgasboarder</strong> is published by Huge C Media PTY LTD ABN 30944673055. All information is correct at time of going to press. The publication cannot<br />

accept responsibility for errors in articles or advertisements, or unsolicited manuscripts, photographs or illustrations. The opinions and words of the authors<br />

do not necessarily represent those of the publishers. All rights reserved. Reproduction in part or whole is strictly prohibited without prior permission.


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www.islandsurfboards.com.au


photo: lime light creative studios


photo: grommet<br />

Supplied courtesy of Eddie Wearne<br />

If there is one bloke who epitomises surf stoke,<br />

good times and a love for a multitude of surf craft,<br />

skateboards, snowboards and everything else, it is this<br />

guy – Captain Frothalot - Eddie Wearne of Shed Nine<br />

down in Rye, Victoria. Through and through, a true<br />

<strong>Smorgasboarder</strong>!<br />

(He even injures himself more than us)


Thanks<br />

Well, where do we start? Obviously, a massive thanks is in order<br />

to our readers and most notably the surfboard shapers, retailers<br />

and associated businesses who took a punt with their hardearned<br />

cash and supported two kooks who decided to write a surf<br />

mag for everyday surfers. Without them, there wouldn’t be a mag,<br />

plain and simple.<br />

And we guess that is why we possibly resonated with so many<br />

lovers of surfing. We weren’t trying to be cool. Hell, we weren’t<br />

even trying to pass ourselves off as half decent rippers or super<br />

knowledgeable surveyors of tide and ocean charts (we still don’t<br />

know how to read them). We could never pretend to be something<br />

we are not. We were, and still are, simply a couple of guys sharing<br />

their stoke about surfing. And fortunately, through the course of<br />

time, we have managed to assemble a talented team around us –<br />

that’s why the mag has improved markedly!<br />

The reason we took a different slant with our surf mag is because<br />

we felt stories on pro circuit surfers had been covered verbatim.<br />

Why do more of the same? We felt it was time for the everyday<br />

Joe or Jody to shine – the grassroots surfer. For them to tell their<br />

story of why they surf, where they surf and how surfing makes<br />

them feel.<br />

We were delighted to find out so many were keen to hear their<br />

story. We suppose for so many of us, we may like to think we<br />

surf like Kelly Slater or Steph Gilmore but the harsh reality is, we<br />

are pretty ordinary in comparison. However, that doesn’t make<br />

us love surfing any less. In fact, we could argue that means<br />

we love surfing even more. Consider Mark (the other original<br />

<strong>Smorgasboarder</strong>) for instance, he can’t surf for sh*t, all these<br />

years on, and I have got progressively worse, but we are still<br />

absolutely committed to surfing. We love it with all our heart and<br />

soul. When you really suck at something and yet continue to do it,<br />

it shows how much you must really love it.<br />

And you guys should be grateful, we have really put our bodies on<br />

the line for you through the years testing all manner of surfcraft,<br />

skateboards, freebords, wakeboards and snowboards. We have<br />

sustained so many injuries for the sake of keeping you guys<br />

entertained and informed about the latest gear.<br />

Best of all however, we have met so many salt of the earth souls<br />

we genuinely love catching up with and sharing some seriously<br />

deep, bottom of the belly kind of laughs with - the ones where you<br />

struggle to breathe in between.<br />

Ahh yes, we are a unique band of surfers us <strong>Smorgasboarder</strong>s. A<br />

beautiful family united by our love for the ocean, our love for good<br />

times with mates, our p*ss taking of each other’s surfing abilities<br />

and maybe a sneaky brown fruit juice or two.<br />

In all sincerity guys (you know that means guys and girls), thank<br />

you so much for all your support and perseverance through the<br />

years. We couldn’t have done it without you. We hope you enjoy<br />

our return and our milestone <strong>50th</strong> <strong>edition</strong> some 10 years on from<br />

when it all began. Stay stoked.<br />

The <strong>Smorgasboarder</strong>s


Ladies first<br />

If you drop by The Surf Shed in Torquay most<br />

afternoons chances are pretty high you’ll find Sarah<br />

Reid hard at work glassing the latest custom-designed<br />

creations from the mind of Darren (Dicko) Dickson.<br />

Going by the Instagram handle of<br />

@Twin_Peaks_Glassing. Sarah is a rare find in the<br />

Australian surfing world where females working in the<br />

board building industry are few and far between.<br />

For Sarah, surf is in her blood. Her father surfed back in<br />

the day. Even though she grew up inland at Teesdale,<br />

her family spent every spare minute at the beach.<br />

Sarah said her Mum had told her she used to lie on a<br />

lilo and float in and out on the tide when she was two<br />

years’ old. A sensation that morphed into a love of body<br />

boarding that saw Sarah take out the state champs for<br />

a few years.<br />

“There used to be a real possie of esky lidders around<br />

here – I was the only chick pretty much,” Sarah said.<br />

It wasn’t until she was 24 that she borrowed a surfboard<br />

from a mate’s Dad and got a taste of life on a bigger<br />

board. Then life, work and surfing took Sarah away from<br />

Jan Juc and off to Margaret River to live for more than<br />

a decade.<br />

Moving back to Victoria in about 2015, Sarah said she<br />

ran into Dicko who was drowning in repair work and<br />

asked her if she’d be interested in helping him fix the<br />

dings. One crash course in basic repairs later and she<br />

ended up helping out for the next two years before<br />

taking a break and trying out some different work.<br />

After a horror slip and fall accident that smashed her<br />

head in a bad way, killing her sense of smell and taste<br />

and forcing her to “sit on the recliner” for 12 months in<br />

recovery, Sarah said she was lucky enough to come<br />

good around the same time Dicko was looking for a new<br />

glasser.<br />

After three months tutelage on the dark art of glassing<br />

with Darren (Dibby) Milliken of Ocean Impact Board<br />

Repairs Sarah said she’d gone live with Dicko’s designs<br />

in January this year and has found her “happy” place.<br />

“Dibby’s one of the original glassers from Rip Curl.<br />

He’s been doing it for a very long time and he was kind<br />

enough to show me the ropes and get me in – and we<br />

pumped out a lot of vac fun boards for the Christmas<br />

rush,” Sarah said.<br />

Now she jokes that she’s a key part of the board making<br />

team at Dickos.<br />

“He’s shaping the useless pieces of foam that become<br />

useful when I wrap them in fibreglass and then sand<br />

them so they can be ridden,” she laughs.<br />

Sarah said she loves the process of glassing the boards,<br />

the creativity of producing new colour combinations,<br />

the chance to learn something new every day and the<br />

challenges of getting the finish just right … especially on<br />

boards with a few channels to work around.<br />

For now, Sarah said she’s tries to surf as often as<br />

possible, with favourite spots at Rincon, Haystacks and<br />

Cathedral (Rock). Otherwise she’ll be found at Dicko’s<br />

or working a shift or two at Strapper Surf helping other<br />

surfers find their next wetsuit or board.


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In this milestone <strong>edition</strong> we<br />

have a very special feature<br />

piece on Portugal. (I know,<br />

I want to get travelling again sometime soon too.) If you<br />

are planning a trip, what I must say is the good folks at<br />

Helloworld Kawana are nothing short of miracle workers.<br />

Late in 2019, before all the pandemic craziness started,<br />

my son Sam and another young footballer from the<br />

Sunshine Coast, Alec Franklin, were invited over to<br />

Belenenses Football Club in Lisbon, Portugal. It was<br />

all last minute and we consequently had to promptly<br />

book flights to get the boys there (and time off school)<br />

within the space of about 10 days. Stressed to the max,<br />

I got in touch with good mate Craig Russell who owns<br />

Helloworld Travel Kawana with his wife Gordana.<br />

I figured if anyone could help us get a last minute deal on<br />

an international flight, it would be him.<br />

Craig got straight to it but soon enquired whether the<br />

girls (my wife Katie and daughters Mikaela and Phoebe)<br />

would be joining us at the end of the two-month stint.<br />

Being brutally honest I was horrified by the thought. It<br />

was not because I didn’t want the girls to join us. It was<br />

simply the perceived cost of such a trip sent shivers<br />

down my spine. Europe is incredibly beautiful but<br />

frightfully expensive.<br />

Anyhow, after giving Craig a very meagre budget I<br />

fully expected him to tell me, “You are dreaming.”<br />

Miraculously he came back with an itinerary for the family<br />

I honestly could not believe. Craig factored in everything<br />

from realistic travel times between destinations to<br />

weighing up what was worth seeing in the timeframe<br />

we had. He also considered the need for us to be within<br />

walking distance of certain landmarks, understanding<br />

travelling with a family of five is a nightmare both<br />

logistically and cost wise. Craig also made sure to find as<br />

many properties as possible with a kitchen, saving us on<br />

the cost of dining out all the time. I can’t thank or praise<br />

him enough. We not only had the trip of a lifetime that<br />

will be ingrained in our collective memories forever, Katie<br />

and I won’t be paying the trip off for a lifetime either.<br />

Knowing our love for the snow, Craig even managed<br />

to weave his magic and swing a week at a ski resort in<br />

Switzerland just before Christmas. And don’t worry,<br />

I was thinking the same thing too, ‘how friggin’ expensive<br />

would that be?’ I don’t think I could stay at an average<br />

apartment on the Gold Coast for the price of the<br />

apartment Craig organised in Engleberg, including ski<br />

gear and lift passes! Anyhow, more on that in the next<br />

<strong>edition</strong> of <strong>Smorgasboarder</strong>.<br />

Craig and Gordana have been in the travel business their<br />

entire life and it clearly shows. Thanks guys from the<br />

bottom of my heart. You are incredible.<br />

www.helloworld.com.au/store/kawana


Win<br />

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Purchase from stockists or online:<br />

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Your chance to WIN<br />

a set of Ghost Racks!<br />

How cool are these clear surfboard racks<br />

from Ghost Racks? Super strong and<br />

near invisible. Well, you have a chance to<br />

win a set.<br />

Now, we know what you are thinking, “Hell, an awesome<br />

free surf mag AND the chance to win some free surfboard<br />

display racks as well. You guys are too good.”<br />

We know, we often say the same things ourselves. Anyhow,<br />

best of all, we want to make it super easy for you to enter.<br />

Simply tell us in one or two sentences what you<br />

missed most about <strong>Smorgasboarder</strong> and email us at<br />

competitions@smorgasboarder.com.au<br />

We will then choose a lucky winner from the entries. You<br />

never know, it could just be you staring at your favourite<br />

stick on the wall of your home in no time.<br />

Things you need to know...<br />

We’ll pick a winner on Thursday, 30 September<br />

2021, so make sure to flick us an email.<br />

Open to <strong>Smorgasboarder</strong> readers worldwide. Prize<br />

will be your choice of either a vertical or horizontal<br />

wall rack from the Ghost Racks surf range. We will<br />

even post your Ghost Racks to you at their expense!<br />

This is a game of skill - the smarter your comment,<br />

the better your chance. Dazzle us with your wit and<br />

win. RACK ‘EM UP!<br />

MORE THAN JUST A<br />

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Phone: 02 6643 5551<br />

noel@lowpressuresurfco.com.au


news<br />

Living legend<br />

Considering all that retailers have endured during this pandemic, it is an incredible feat in itself<br />

to have simply persevered during such times. You then have someone like Gail Austen who<br />

has been through it all and then some and has still managed to clock up 50 years as owner of<br />

Australia’s longest running surf shop.<br />

Our hat goes off to Gail, we absolutely love her. She truly is an incredible women, an incredible<br />

entrepreneur, one tough cookie and someone we have the upmost respect for. When we<br />

recently spoke to Gail, she had this to say about the milestone.<br />

“My brother opened the Goodtime Surfboards factory in Bolton Street, Kirra in July 1971. He<br />

had a saying about his handcrafted surfboards – ‘ A standard to judge by.’ Many of the best<br />

learnt from him and hung around the factory including the likes of Peter Townend and Michael<br />

Peterson.<br />

“I joined him not long after and then we opened our Windsor store in<br />

January 73’, Brian unfortunately passed in December ’79 at the age of<br />

49. I perservered and opened our Woolloongabba store in 1981, where<br />

we are today.<br />

“We’ve had highs, lows, been burnt down and basically been through<br />

it all but have still managed to have a goodtime – because that is what<br />

surfing is all about.<br />

“I would like to say a huge thanks to our supporters and customers<br />

through the years for their loyalty. They just keep on coming back....<br />

to what is often described as a fair dinkum surf shop by young and old<br />

surfing crew.”<br />

Take a bow Gail. You truly are a legend of the surf industry.<br />

To read more about Gail’s amazing story go back to where it all started<br />

with us – Issue 2, November 2010.<br />

www.smorgasboarder.com.au/the-library/<br />

Balsa board courses<br />

Our good mate Mark Riley, the king of all things balsa, is now<br />

offering to share his undeniable skills with those still searching for<br />

their inner shaper in a series of Balsa Board Building courses.<br />

Having branched out into the world of short courses Mark found<br />

the demand for dusty hands was so high he had to move from<br />

the original location at Jannili to a bigger space at Kurnell to fit<br />

everyone in.<br />

At the end of the latest course Mark said: “the boys had cut the<br />

balsa sticks with a bandsaw, glued them up into a blank. Cut the<br />

plan shape with a circular saw. Used an electric planer to mow<br />

the bottom and deck curves. Then they used a block plane and<br />

sanding blocks to blend all the curves and hard work into a finished<br />

board ready for glassing.<br />

“The guys even helped with the glassing of their very own board so<br />

it will last a lifetime in the water or on the wall.”<br />

Keep an eye on www.balsasurfboardsriley.com for the next course.<br />

Design with Nev<br />

Veteran surfboard shaper Nev Hyman has announced a new era of<br />

personalised service for surfers from all over the world looking for a<br />

custom design from his studio.<br />

Working via Zoom, Nev meets with customers to hear what they are<br />

after before using computer software to create a 3D model using Shape<br />

3D that can be shared with a local shaper and glasser for the creation of<br />

the final product.<br />

The idea, dubbed Mobius Surf, was about to be launched as<br />

<strong>Smorgasboarder</strong> went to print – keep an eye on www.nevhyman.com<br />

for updates.


news<br />

Under pressure<br />

There’s lots of things under the tin roof<br />

of Grafton’s Low Pressure surf shop.<br />

Styled like a classic surf shack it’s<br />

packed full of the latest surf hardware,<br />

fashion, skate, bodyboarding and<br />

more along with an absolute mint<br />

collection of vintage boards. You may<br />

even twist owner Noel Smith to parting<br />

with a few.<br />

www.lowpressuresurf.com.au<br />

Trailer trash<br />

The alchemist of resin and carbon is at<br />

it again. Our favourite mad scientist, the<br />

ever-eccentric Neal Cameron is now crafting<br />

custom guitars under the name Trailer Trash.<br />

He primarily produces two styles – solid resin<br />

body or super light hollow carbon fibre and<br />

he can custom craft them into any manner<br />

of shapes you can imagine like this one Neal<br />

created for Don from DMC Fins. Said Neal of<br />

this latest work, “Don wanted it in the shape<br />

of his best-selling surf fin.” Incredible.<br />

Storm chaser<br />

Committed surfers are often keen readers of the<br />

weather and then there are those who take it to another<br />

level. Local Sunshine Coast surfer and storm chaser Ant<br />

Lombardi, not only surfs them, he photographs them.<br />

Simply stunning are the only words that can describe<br />

his work. Check him out on Instagram @fluid_images .<br />

Think we’ll get one for the <strong>Smorgasboarder</strong> office wall.<br />

Curly one<br />

And speaking of the <strong>Smorgasboarder</strong><br />

office, we wouldn’t mind a mural<br />

adorning the hallway either. Our good<br />

mate Curl, creator of our Aloha Barry<br />

cartoon, is now doing commission<br />

pieces as well. Check out his work on<br />

Instagram @curlpi<br />

Aussie surf culture personified.<br />

Whilst we are on the topic of<br />

celebrating Aussie surf culture<br />

there is clothing brand that does it<br />

tremendously well with tees and the<br />

like adorned with handdrawn panel<br />

vans and the most famous of all<br />

Aussie sayings. www.kenoath.com.au<br />

Ken Oath!


ontroversy<br />

words: dave swan<br />

A shark incident? Is this seriously where the<br />

world is heading? I can only presume a great white<br />

shark has taken offence to his or her sensory bite<br />

being referred to as an “attack”. Why otherwise<br />

would we be avoiding use of the word “attack”<br />

when a shark bites a human.<br />

I am curious though, following such a said “incident”, would<br />

the appropriate protocol in future be for the victim to address<br />

first respondents with something along the following lines,<br />

“Excuse me dear chaps, it appears I’ve had a rather nasty<br />

incident with a shark, and it appears to have made off with<br />

my legs. If you do come across the said shark, so as not<br />

to cause any offence, don’t outrightly accuse him of such<br />

a misdemeanour, but please just kindly enquire whether he<br />

has seen my legs and if so, if he could return them to me,<br />

preferably not half digested.”<br />

Now I am not sure about you but if you have a little bingle in<br />

the car park you may refer to it as a traffic “incident”. If you are<br />

t-boned at an intersection and the front of your car is ripped off<br />

in the process and you are seriously injured, it’s not commonly<br />

referred to as an “incident”, it’s a friggin’ “accident” and a<br />

shark biting someone is usually an “attack”, not an “incident”,<br />

not a “nibble” and certainly not an amorous “love bite”. Yes, it<br />

may be a case of mistaken identity, but they are usually quite<br />

serious consequences… for the human.<br />

Nonetheless, in our increasingly politically correct world we<br />

now have two Australian states – Queensland and New South<br />

Wales – opting to refer to shark attacks in all future public<br />

communications as “incidents” or “encounters”. Apparently,<br />

the states are falling into line with scientific thinking. It appears<br />

we need to sanitise the news so as not to threaten certain<br />

protected species such as the great white shark, which<br />

incidentally brings up the matter of the abhorrent “labelling”<br />

of this poor creature. Hopefully common sense will prevail<br />

amongst the peanut brigade and they will ensure in future<br />

we refer to the great white shark as the non-size specific,<br />

Caucasian, water-dwelling sentient being.<br />

On the topic of this protected species, how did we come to<br />

determine their numbers were in decline? When Gold Coast<br />

surfer Nick Slater tragically lost his life in September 8 last<br />

year as a result of a shark attack at Snapper Rocks, local<br />

fishermen came forth to speak of a huge increase in great<br />

white numbers they were encountering. This claim however<br />

was quickly dismissed by shark expert and Associate<br />

Professor of Environmental Science at Bond University, Daryl<br />

McPhee, as he stated there was “no baseline” to compare it<br />

to. This begs the question, if there is no baseline, how did we<br />

determine their numbers were endangered? More importantly,<br />

going forward, how do ascertain whether numbers have<br />

signifcantly increased?<br />

I would also like to address those two little gems that<br />

always come up when there’s a shark “incident”: “You’re<br />

in their domain”. Well thank you Einsteins for your brilliant<br />

observation. The only issue here is that there appears to<br />

be a bit of hypocrisy at play. What of the dingoes on Fraser<br />

Island? They’re an endangered species but are immediately<br />

euthanised following an incident. Do different rules apply on<br />

land? The same goes for crocodiles in the far north of Australia.<br />

Again, on the endangered species list but are euthanised if<br />

posing a threat to human life. There is even an active culling<br />

program to keep numbers in check in the Darwin harbour. Are<br />

we not also in their domain?<br />

The second gem is that old age adage, “Oh, you have more<br />

chance of being struck by lightning.” Well I suppose its always<br />

important to run the numbers when making such a sweeping<br />

statement.<br />

For the record, there were 7 fatalities as a result of unprovoked<br />

shark attacks in Australia in 2020. Between 5-10 people die<br />

each year in Australia as a result of lightning strikes. What’s<br />

important to factor into this equation however is that great<br />

white numbers are reportedly scarce whist lightning strikes<br />

are quite common. A quick moving storm that swept over<br />

Brisbane on May 10 this year saw Energex’s lightning tracker<br />

record over 66,000 lightning strikes across the region. So, if<br />

we consider the number of people on land compared to in the<br />

water, and the number of sharks compared to the number of<br />

lightning strikes, the chances of getting attacked by a shark<br />

as opposed to being struck by lightning in percentage terms<br />

is far, far greater.<br />

Long story short, let’s cease with all the bs that comes out<br />

each time there is an attack. Let’s admit we seemingly know<br />

next to nothing about sharks or their numbers and get down<br />

to finding a way we can protect both human life and sharks.<br />

Ps. I am not calling for the indiscriminate mass culling of<br />

sharks. We all know how playing with the food chain turns<br />

things pear-shaped. It is no doubt why we are in the current<br />

predicament.<br />

SB / #50 / 16


photos: Kloe Lee Smith Photography


CRAFTY<br />

The beach, the surf, the sand, the<br />

salt, sunrises and sunsets are at<br />

the heart of life for Jon Liebetanz<br />

and Mandy Chapman of Rhema<br />

Graphics.<br />

For as long as both can remember<br />

their lives have revolved around the<br />

coastal lifestyle, in particular, around<br />

art and surfboards.<br />

For Jon, working with watercraft<br />

started when he was just 14-yearsold<br />

and picked up some work<br />

crafting boats with Ray Woosley of<br />

Pa Bendall-fame.<br />

The skills he developed working with<br />

Ray led him into the surfing industry<br />

where he rolled through the phases<br />

of glasser, sander, polisher and<br />

finish coater for nine years building<br />

boards with the likes of Bruce Greig,<br />

Neal Purchase Snr, Burford Blanks,<br />

Michael Peterson, Rob Webster and<br />

Richard Harvey.<br />

While Jon perfected the art of<br />

crafting boards, Mandy’s every<br />

waking moment was spent thinking<br />

about surfing, sculpting or drawing<br />

as she worked her way through art<br />

stuff<br />

college and beyond. Surfing runs<br />

deep in her family having grown up<br />

at Rainbow Bay with both a father<br />

and grandfather riding the waves.<br />

There’s even a photo of Mandy’s<br />

father Des on the Rhema Graphics<br />

website in 1926 as a youngster with<br />

his first board at Kirra Point.<br />

In 1984 Jon and Mandy combined<br />

their talents and bought Rhema<br />

Graphics, a graphics and screenprinting<br />

specialist service for the<br />

surfing industry, from its original<br />

founder who had started it in 1979.<br />

It’s a business they still run today<br />

from Currumbin.<br />

Jon said at the heart of everything<br />

they do is to a desire to produce<br />

amazing products. “We’re<br />

developing new products and<br />

printing processes. With the<br />

popularity of dark tints and pigments<br />

we have developed a product that<br />

laminates totally transparent and<br />

shows no ghosting at all.”<br />

Over nearly 40 years in the business<br />

Jon said they had seen plenty of<br />

changes in the art, styles, board<br />

design and materials used.<br />

A more recent development has<br />

been full wrap board silks but Jon<br />

said he and Mandy seemed to now<br />

be doing a little bit of everything<br />

from the past four decades.<br />

“We’ve got high performance<br />

production boards still in crisp<br />

black and white, to logos for retro<br />

boards and boutique boards with no<br />

expense spared, they’re beautiful!<br />

“There is a place for everyone and<br />

everything as guys will have a fish,<br />

mid-length, performance board, and<br />

even a big wave board and long<br />

board in their quiver - well at least<br />

I do.”<br />

They said another highlight of having<br />

been in the industry for so long was<br />

the hundreds of repeat customers<br />

they’d had over they years, and now<br />

being able to work with the children<br />

of the shapers they had worked with<br />

at the start.<br />

“Being a part of this wonderful<br />

industry is our whole life for Mandy<br />

and I.”<br />

Find Rhema Graphics at<br />

www.rhemagraphics.com or phone<br />

Mandy and Jon on 07 5534 1469.<br />

www.rhemagraphics.com<br />

RABBIDGE<br />

SURF<br />

DESIGNS<br />

PHONE: 02 4456 4038<br />

MOBILE: 0427 767 176<br />

EMAIL: markrab88@gmail.com<br />

mark_rabbidge_surf_design<br />

SB / #50 / 18


stuff<br />

RARE<br />

Old logos never die, they just get cooler and make a comeback.<br />

At least, that’s what seems to the case when you delve into the pages of<br />

t-shirts on offer at the website of Rare Surf Tees (www.raresurftees.com).<br />

The brainchild of surf tragic Brett Stammers the business has at its heart<br />

the desire to celebrate the history of the surf industry and the hundreds<br />

of shapers (aka foamies) who have spent their creative time and energy<br />

producing great boards and stylish art in a bid to catch the eyes of<br />

surfers everywhere.<br />

Scrolling through the pages of names and the art they created is like<br />

taking a stroll through time.<br />

The work of Bob Cooper, Nat Young, Gunther Rohn, Mike Davis, Shane<br />

Egan and many more legends of the sport has been captured on wide<br />

range of t-shirts – and Brett said there’s plenty more to come.<br />

“We’ve picked up new shaper designs from Carrabine, Nev Hyman,<br />

Phil Meyers Freeflight, Michael Anthony designs Torquay and Goodtime<br />

Surfboards in Queensland,” Brett said.<br />

“All this art is from the 70s.<br />

“One of our bigger promotions this year will be for the Nev range of<br />

t-shirts.”<br />

Brett said he was inspired to curate the collection of surf artwork and<br />

share it again via the t-shirts after meeting many great shapers as part<br />

of his own surfing journey that had taken him around Australia and the<br />

world hunting for waves.<br />

He said the shapers were at the heart of the industry with great stories<br />

to tell and for many surfers, their art was a reminder of the golden era of<br />

surfing from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s.<br />

www.raresurftees.com<br />

Old logos never<br />

die, they just get<br />

cooler and make<br />

a comeback.<br />

AUSSIE MADE<br />

AUSSIE OWNED<br />

The best Aussie Wax<br />

this side of The Sun<br />

Tested and Proven<br />

Worldwide<br />

GO GET SOME!<br />

www.hueyschoice.com<br />

@hueys_choice_surf_wax<br />

Pic _ @pointshoot808<br />

19 / #50 / SB


Philippa Anderson by @shot_by_bb_rad


stuff<br />

Origins from the factory floor<br />

3:30pm on a Wednesday afternoon in the early<br />

nineties. A young 15 year old kid walks into Pacific<br />

Dreams surfboard factory in Newcastle to start his<br />

first day of work cleaning the factory.<br />

A white haze of shaping and sanding dust fills the air<br />

mixed with a sweet strong smell of polyester resin.<br />

Planers screaming in the background cutt the skin<br />

of fresh foam blanks that will be skillfully crafted into<br />

finished custom made surfboards.<br />

He grabs a broom, puts a dust mask on and starts<br />

cleaning. A few months into the job the owner, Roy<br />

Lee asks the kid, “Hey mate, I heard you could draw,<br />

can you do a new logo for me? I want a P and a D<br />

that fits into the nose of the board.” Yep, sure. The kid<br />

replies.<br />

That night on the dining room table he starts<br />

sketching out a logo and with the help of his drafting<br />

curves from tech drawing class from school, he<br />

draws a clean interlocking PD of white text in a black<br />

triangle.<br />

This was the start of a long love affair with surf culture<br />

and design.<br />

A few years on the kid (Chris Totterman) became<br />

a professional graphic artist working in some of<br />

Australia’s largest advertising agencies and designing<br />

for some of Australia’s largest brands, but surf culture<br />

was still at the core of his dreams.<br />

Chris’s design portfolio holds work for some big<br />

names in the sport, Mark Richards (4x world champ)<br />

and a stint at Mambo as a promotional triple one<br />

artist. This became the spark to what would become<br />

Chris’s vision for a surf-wear label, Foam Local<br />

Supply Co.<br />

Dare Jennings the owner of Mambo (and then Deus)<br />

asked Chris to reproduce artwork for the original surfwear<br />

label Crystal Cylinders that was sold in General<br />

Pants stores.<br />

While Chris was working on yet another perfect barrel<br />

for Crystal Cylinders an idea sparked.<br />

“How cool would this wave look if there was a local<br />

landmark on it!” The pump house at Merewether.<br />

So scraping together a few dollars to get some shirts<br />

printed up, he thought he would give it a go.<br />

The first batch sold out in a weekend after a market<br />

stall at Surfest Newcastle’s largest surfing contest.<br />

So with the added energy, Chris’s wife Megan<br />

stepped in to help, cold calling surf shops around<br />

Australia, “Not an easy thing to but we had nothing to<br />

lose”. Megan said. “and after a few knock-backs we<br />

got some orders!<br />

“The orders were delivered as quick as we could and<br />

to our surprise we were getting calls a few days later<br />

from the shops that they had all sold out!<br />

“A huge shout out to Beach without Sand in Avalon<br />

and Wicks Surf in Collaroy for giving us a go.<br />

“The momentum kept rolling with more stores coming<br />

on board and the same thing kept happening, we<br />

were selling out as soon as they were getting them.”<br />

Image by @tomhoy_<br />

21 / #50 / SB


stuff<br />

Scraping together the profit from their sales they bought a camper<br />

van and grabbed two groms from Merewether Surfboard Club, Tim<br />

Dickson (now the owner of Slimes Board Store Newcastle and Zac<br />

Heath a talented photographer, They were off on a road trip that<br />

would last three months.<br />

Basically, they drove from Newy down past Woollongong, swung a<br />

right and then over to West OZ, up to Gnaraloo and then crawled the<br />

whole way back around the coast to Newy.<br />

Since the original road trip Foam has been doubling in growth for the<br />

past five years and now holds around 90 accounts across Australia.<br />

They also have a totally unique approach to how their apparel is<br />

produced. It has been a conscious decision to keep as much of their<br />

production in Australia.<br />

“All our gear is made from 100% Australian cotton and it is all<br />

printed right here in Australia. We believe in supporting local<br />

businesses who in turn support us”, Chris said.<br />

“We are 100% bespoke. Everything is made to order, the art we do<br />

is customised for stores and we have a flexible ordering systems.<br />

Stores buy what they need not what they have to. By being flexible<br />

and working with the stores we don’t have excess stock lying around<br />

so we never go on sale. We don’t believe in the wasteful nature of<br />

fast fashion and mass-producing offshore just to get a better margin.<br />

We are really proud to be able to print, pack and send in OZ.<br />

As the brand has grown, Foam has started to give back to their<br />

local surfing community by supporting local surfers on their quest to<br />

make the world tour. The latest <strong>edition</strong> to the Foam family is Phillipa<br />

Anderson, undoubtedly Australia’s most talented female surfer not<br />

yet to make the world tour. Foam has stepped in financially to help<br />

Philippa on her journey<br />

“I am so stoked to be part of a local business that genuinely cares<br />

for the people they work with. I am so proud to support Foam and<br />

look forward to growing the brand”, Philippa said.<br />

Foam is a real unique Australian surf-wear label built from the<br />

ground up, steeped in real beginnings from surfboard factories. They<br />

are a bunch of passionate surfers who have respect for the craft.<br />

The name Foam is a tribute to the one thing that binds all surfers<br />

together whether you are a single fin hipster or an aspiring pro, Foam<br />

and waves are the one thing that we all froth over.<br />

If you haven’t heard of Foam check out their website<br />

or drop into your local independent surf shop and have a look.<br />

They are a 100% bespoke Australian surf-wear label and they are<br />

totally unique in the surf-wear industry.<br />

Foam would personally like to thank all the shops and people who<br />

have supported Foam along their journey.<br />

www.foamriders.com<br />

Image by @livdejong.jpg<br />

“I am so stoked to be part<br />

of a local business that<br />

genuinely cares for the<br />

people they work with.<br />

I am so proud to support<br />

Foam and look forward to<br />

growing with the brand”.<br />

– Philippa Anderson<br />

SB / #50 / 22


stuff<br />

Sylvester Images by @littlerubyvisual<br />

Jake Sylvester Image by @eaduction_photography


stuff<br />

Coastal Sports Kaikoura<br />

“We’re a small shop living the dream in Kaikoura NZ, with<br />

adventures from the surf to mountains at our doorstep. Since<br />

2003, owner operated, hardware focused, passion run business.<br />

Coldwater surf specialist, adventure gear, and all the fun stuff.<br />

Shop smarter, surf more, and consume less.”<br />

+6 3319 5028<br />

www.coastalsports.co.nz<br />

Maranui Surf Life Saving Cafe<br />

“Pop out to Lyall Bay to visit the iconic Maranui Cafe. Here you<br />

can forget about the time and tuck into something scrumptious<br />

while gazing out over the beach, which is often filled with surfers<br />

attempting to master the waves. Brimming with personality,<br />

Maranui has a feel for colour and embraces all things eclectic<br />

when it comes to design. Sitting above the Maranui Surf Life<br />

Saving Club with a great coffee in hand and staring into the<br />

glistening blue distance, you’re sure to feel the holiday vibes.”<br />

+6 4387 4539 cafe@maranui.co.nz<br />

Real Surf<br />

“REAL SURF is a locally owned and operated CORE SURF<br />

STORE specialising in SURFBOARDS, WETSUITS, HARDWARE<br />

and RENTALS. Come check out our new store at 5/56 Kingsford<br />

Smith St, Lyall Bay, Wellington!! We’re open 7 days a week with<br />

a friendly and experienced team ready to help out with your next<br />

purchase. Alternatively check out our website for the latest products<br />

and deals at or social media @realsurf.co.nz”<br />

www.realsurf.co.nz<br />

PIHA SURF<br />

Located on the Wild West Coast of New Zealand, Piha Beach<br />

is a must see. And when you do come to Piha, you definitely<br />

shouldn’t miss the opportunity to visit the PIHA SURF Shop.<br />

Surfboards designed and shaped by Mike Jolly. New and used<br />

surfboards available and full repair service. Rentals, surfing gear<br />

and good advice. Onsite caravan accommodation and camping<br />

sites also available.<br />

122 Seaview Road, Piha Beach NZ.<br />

+64 9 812 8723<br />

www.pihasurf@xtra.co.nz<br />

SB / #50 / 24


stuff<br />

Controversy<br />

All decked out<br />

words: dave swan<br />

If you own a special surfboard, you want to give it pride of place<br />

in your home or workspace. Most importantly, you want the board<br />

to be on display rather than the racks themselves. You want them<br />

to disappear in effect, to become invisible. Enter Ghost Racks, a<br />

seamless and incredibly strong clear acrylic rack system.<br />

I can personally testify as to how good they are. That’s my super<br />

special 40th birthday present adorning the wall above my work<br />

desk. And thankfully the birthday message transcribed on the board<br />

wasn’t completely lost in translation. I am still offended Andrew<br />

Wells from Grown Surfboards would think my friends considered<br />

me so ugly my nickname was “SWAMPDONKEY” and not in fact<br />

“SWANDOGGY”.<br />

Jokes aside the racks displaying my beautiful wooden surfboard are<br />

very schmick. I was stoked to hear the guys at Ghost Racks had<br />

recently expanded their range to now incorporate skateboard racks<br />

as well. I mean to many of us, skateboards hold as much nostalgic<br />

value as a surfboard, particularly to those of us who collect vintage<br />

decks or ones of artistic significance.<br />

Rather than being relegated to the shed, Ghost Racks are providing<br />

a really nice, aesthetically appealing way of storing and displaying<br />

your favourite decks. Best of all, racks can display skateboards with<br />

and without wheels set up. There is horizontal and vertical wall racks<br />

plus freestanding racks with zero damage to the board itself in the<br />

setup. The decks are simply supported securely by the racks so the<br />

board can be easily accessed and used. It’s basically a very cool<br />

way to display and store your boards.<br />

www.ghostracks.com.au<br />

25 / #50 / SB


stuff<br />

SUP’S UP<br />

Located in the Auckland City suburb of Newmarket lies the<br />

SUPcentre, one of the very few SUP / Surf shops located close<br />

to the Auckland CBD, just a stones throw from bustling centre of<br />

Newmarket. It’s an ideal spot for those seeking some respite from<br />

the day to day toil of city life. It’s very accessible if you are travelling<br />

either North or South through Auckland and just minutes from the<br />

motorway.<br />

SUPcentre is home to a bunch of genuinely friendly folk who<br />

enjoy being out on the water, surfing, paddling or just going on an<br />

adventure together. The team is well versed in the products they<br />

stock and have the practical experience to answer any questions you<br />

may have.<br />

Initially the shop was set up as a SUP specific store. However more<br />

recently, with the disappearance of many surf shops within the<br />

Auckland City area, more and more folks have been searching out<br />

surfboards and associated accessories. With this in mind, the team at<br />

SUPcentre have expanded their offering to longboards, shortboards,<br />

soft tops, surf leashes, wax and other surf speciality items for any<br />

surfer requiring a quick stop before heading out of the city.<br />

The large open plan shop is well stocked with not only the key<br />

brands but also many new and exciting lines, often holding in store<br />

items that would be hard to locate elsewhere.<br />

It should definitely be on any passionate surfers or standup paddlers<br />

list to visit if passing through Auckland. There’s a range of surfboards,<br />

from brands such as Modern, Creative Army, Salt Gypsy, Elemnt and<br />

7S. As well as SUP boards from Jimmy Lewis, SIC, Naish, Adventure,<br />

Tom Carroll Paddlesurf, Deep Oceanboards, and Red Paddle Co to<br />

name a few, paddles from Quickblade, Hippostick, and Axis line the<br />

wall. With a huge line up of SUP specific accessories, a ’Tiki Bar’<br />

atmosphere, big screen TV and comfortable chairs, you can easily<br />

loose a few hours of your day.<br />

The team has even gone to the point of acquiring a few specialty<br />

longboards from the likes of Steve Morris at Morris Surfboards, as<br />

well as Mid lengths and Fishes. So if hunting down a new shape it<br />

may be worth stopping by.<br />

A broad range of wetsuits and clothing from Patagonia, O’Neill, Rip<br />

Curl and Sharkskin completes the picture for those looking to get<br />

geared up for winter or summer.<br />

Being located in Newmarket also comes with other benefits! The<br />

SUPcentre is fortunate enough to have one of New Zealand’s best<br />

Cafes right next door, Café L’afarre. Ideal to keep those not so<br />

passionate entertained while you hang out.<br />

www.supcentre.co.nz<br />

visit<br />

www.supcentre.co.nz<br />

SB / #50 / 26


stuff<br />

Explore Whangamata and the spectacular Coromandel<br />

region with courtesy vehicle pick ups and drop offs.<br />

Exstensive SUP hire range, surf or explore flatwater.<br />

Visit the now natural wonder of Whenuakura Island and<br />

its spectacular bush fringed lagoon.<br />

Have a day off the water but wish to explore the<br />

region? We have a wide range of E-Bikes available, or<br />

walk our bush and coast tracks.<br />

Pedal and Paddle is committed to<br />

sustainability both land and sea with its<br />

environmental protection policies!<br />

Full range of NZ Kayaks, and all equipment<br />

www.pedalandpaddle.co.nz<br />

What makes a great wetsuit?<br />

What really is a sustainable<br />

wetsuit that is better for the<br />

environment?<br />

Sustainability is not just what your wetsuit is<br />

constructed from, it’s also the lifespan and how<br />

often you need to replace it. A few factors you<br />

could consider when you are purchasing a new<br />

wetsuit, especially where environmental impact is<br />

concerned.<br />

What is your wetsuit constructed from and how is<br />

it constructed? The most common neoprene major<br />

brands tend to use is petroleum based, breaking<br />

down quickly with a high environmental impact. Liquid seams are a<br />

common construction method but once broken are<br />

difficult to near impossible to repair.<br />

Yamamoto Limestone Neoprene has a higher air<br />

cell construction and doesn’t break down as rapidly,<br />

which means a much smaller environmental impact.<br />

Making our wetsuits here in New Zealand means you get a product handcrafted utilising best quality<br />

hardwearing Japanese Yamamoto Limestone neoprene constructed with durable/repairable stitching.<br />

With the added bonus of the high air cell content which makes it incredibly warm as it doesn’t soak up<br />

the water (they weigh nearly the same wet as dry) and they dry superfast.<br />

Better quality = longer lasting = easier on the<br />

planet and you’ll be able to stay out longer.<br />

www.seventhwave.co.nz<br />

SB / #50 / 28


HANDMADE SURF MAPS<br />

by Guy Hastings<br />

Over 100 hours per map to create the most detailed surf charts from around the world.<br />

P : 61 422 175 706 | E : guy.hastings@hotmail.com<br />

75 Paterson Street, Byron Bay, NSW, 2481, Australia www.guyssurfarimaps.com<br />

29 / #50 / SB


stuff<br />

WHO LOVES THIS “WORST NEW SPORT”?<br />

Well, certainly not the editor or the interviewees of that 1988<br />

Time magazine article, which labelled snowboarding as a<br />

“breezy fad … a clumsy intrusion … not about grace and style,<br />

but about raging hormones.” Perhaps partly true, however a<br />

somewhat irreverent picture for a sport that is now suggested<br />

to make up more than 30% of all snow orientated recreation<br />

activities.<br />

From the earliest days of the 1920’s prototypes, where WWI<br />

soldiers stood sideways on barrel staves, through Sherman<br />

Poppen’s 60’s inspired ‘Snurfer’, to Utah based Milovich’s<br />

‘Winterstick’, and on to the metal-edged designs of Tom<br />

Sims and the godfather of it all, Jake Burton Carpenter …<br />

snowboarding has needed those hormones. As an ugly sister<br />

amongst, as Time also described it, “the sleek precision of<br />

downhill skiing”, snowboarding needed this type of nurturing.<br />

The way your older brother made you find your own way<br />

home in the dark. Despite his contempt and consistent<br />

badgering, he still required you to actually ‘get home’, to<br />

keep his own position tenurable.<br />

How things have changed …<br />

This “Worst New Sport” is now leading the movement and<br />

progression of the snow sports industry. Despite having<br />

countless acres of powder to themselves, snowboarding<br />

has pioneered the New Age development of powder<br />

skis. In fact, those ‘reckless youths’ of the 80s and 90s,<br />

with their skateboard orientated mannerisms and antiestablishment<br />

sub-cultures, were the founders of the current<br />

world of freestyle snow, with disciplines in half-pipe, terrain<br />

park and boarder-cross. And, just like that sibling rivalry, we<br />

all end up sitting around that family dinner table that is the<br />

modern world of X-Games and Winter Olympics … each sport<br />

and discipline, worthy in its own right, however also quietly<br />

respectful of the fact that they’re there because of the other.<br />

So, what’s the New “Worst New Sport”?<br />

NZSHRED has been at the forefront of snowboarding in the<br />

Southern Hemisphere since its inception in 1986. And, as we<br />

move into the 3rd decade of the new millenia, we continue this<br />

drive by championing ‘the latest new thing’. Well, not really …<br />

splitboarding has been around for quite some time. In fact, the<br />

first suggestion of an idea was an article in an Italian snow/<br />

skate magazine, with a Sims board having been backyard<br />

split. From there, two clowns named “Kowboy” and “Wally”<br />

teamed up to create a prototype and there you have it, the DIY<br />

Voile Splitboard Kit, patented in 1994. Fast-track to 2021, and<br />

despite the ravages of COVID on manufacturing and supply,<br />

we have the largest assortment of splitboard binding options,<br />

from brands such as Burton and Nitro, working off a template by<br />

design leaders Spark R’n’D. Likewise, alternatives abound with<br />

options from Karakoram, as well as those originals, Voile.<br />

Splitboards themselves, are no longer ‘solid’ boards cut in half<br />

in your mates back shed. They are now designed for specific<br />

riding styles and abilities, and with a penchant towards their<br />

dual-faceted snow engagement – not just the ride down,<br />

however also the locomotion up. Nitro have shown themselves<br />

to be not just the mainstream resort lap park-rats of old,<br />

however equally as competent in producing kit for powder<br />

hungry slack and backcountry<br />

chargers – without fracturing the<br />

essence of their ridership. A more<br />

mellow approach, has seen Arbor<br />

continue their mantra of “Mindfully<br />

Created”, which has held them in steed for<br />

some 25 years - anchoring the brand around<br />

sustainability, craftsmanship and performance.<br />

Finally, the brand of his namesake, Jeremy Jones,<br />

is leading the splitboard generation in design,<br />

application and aptitude as to why he even plays ‘this<br />

so-called sport’. Once a US racer, it’s a far cry from<br />

those heady days of asymmetric carving boards for<br />

someone who now fits just as easily into the outerwear<br />

of ‘road test’ mountaineer, as he does the suit and tie of<br />

environmental snow warrior at the White House.<br />

In fact, those ‘reckless youths’ of the 80s<br />

and 90s, with their skateboard orientated<br />

mannerisms and anti-establishment sub-cultures,<br />

were the founders of the current world of<br />

freestyle snow, with disciplines in half-pipe,<br />

terrain park and boarder-cross.<br />

Breezy? … A little!<br />

Clumsy? … Sometimes!<br />

Lacking Style and Grace? … Not in the slightest!<br />

If this is the “Worst New Sport”, then the Team at NZSHRED are<br />

super stoked to have continued to carry that mantel, through<br />

the generations to where we are today …. After all these years,<br />

we’re still just Snowboarders.<br />

www.nzshred.co.nz<br />

SB / #50 / 30


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photo: Courtesy of Surf Lakes Holdings Pty Ltd<br />

OOL<br />

SB / #50 / 32


Wave pools, surf parks, surf ranches. Call them what<br />

you will, love them or hate them - they’re a growing<br />

force in the surfing world today, and with every<br />

month the technology is getting better and better.<br />

words: geoff crockett<br />

33 / #50 / SB


photos: Courtesy of URBNSURF<br />

SB / #50 / 34


At <strong>Smorgasboarder</strong> we last took an in-depth look at the wave pool phenomenon in Spring 2014 – fair to say a lot has changed since then –<br />

although there’s still plenty of “proposed” venues that seem to be staying at “proposed” status for now.<br />

Hunt across the world wide web and it would appear there are less than a dozen wave pools in the world right now (as of July 2021) where<br />

surfers can grab their boards and head out for a feast of guaranteed wave action – and some of those, like Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch, are really<br />

only open to those with big dollars and professional skills.<br />

While there’s sure to be some parks we’ve missed, the list below is a pretty solid idea of what’s out there and where they can be found if you<br />

want to go visiting - once we’re all actually allowed to leave the country and travel again post-COVID at least!<br />

Surf parks of the world….<br />

URBNSURF (Melbourne, Australia –<br />

www.urbnsurf.com)<br />

Siam Wavepark (Tenerife, Canary Islands –<br />

www.siampark.net)<br />

The Wave (Bristol, UK – www.thewave.com)<br />

Kelly Slater Surf Ranch (Lemoore, California,<br />

US – www.kswaveco.com)<br />

BSR Cable Park (Waco, Texas, US –<br />

www.bsrcablepark.com)<br />

Surf Snowdonia (Vale of Conway, UK –<br />

www.adventureparcsnowdonia.com)<br />

Sunway Lagoon (Bandar Sunway, Selangor,<br />

Malaysia – www.sunwaylagoon.com)<br />

Typhoon Lagoon (Orlando, Florida –<br />

www.disneyworld.eu)<br />

Wadi Adventure (United Arab Emirates –<br />

www.wadiadventure.ae)<br />

Roaring Lagoon (Sun City, South Africa –<br />

www.suninternational.com)<br />

Wave Park (Siheung, South Korea –<br />

www.wavepark.co.kr)<br />

Search a bit further and different reports talk of up to 100 more surf ranches to be<br />

built worldwide that are in various states of proposal or development, including<br />

several in Australia.<br />

Most notably there’s URBNSURF’S second venue (URBNSURF Sydney) planned<br />

for Sydney’s Olympic Park, Wisemans Surf Lodge 60 minutes north of Sydney, and<br />

Surf Lakes at Yeppoon which is progressing talks with its local council to take their<br />

R&D facility and turn it into a surf destination for the paying public. Surf Lakes are<br />

also considering another venue in Brisbane – although details are scarce.<br />

For Australia’s first surf park URBNSURF, the trip to opening was a $40 million,<br />

seven-year journey that culminated with surfers taking to man made waves near<br />

the airport at Tullamarine in Victoria in October 2019, before opening to the public<br />

in January 2020. There was just enough time to stoke the flame of interest in the<br />

newest surf experience before COVID came and shut the world down in March.<br />

URBNSURF Group Brand and Marketing Manager Rupert Partridge said it had<br />

been a wild ride.<br />

“After creating first waves in late 2019, we opened URBNSURF Melbourne on<br />

January 6th, 2020,” Rupert said. “We were fortunate to enjoy a busy Summer<br />

season, before closing in late March for the first time. We re-opened briefly in June<br />

and July, but were forced to close again for another 4 months before reopening<br />

again in October due to COVID-19.<br />

“The Victorian surfing community and surfers from around Australia embraced our<br />

Intermediate and Advanced Sessions, hundreds of members got behind us, and we<br />

became the ultimate training tool for local surfers during flat spells, and a place for<br />

Melburnian surfers to sneak a few waves in before or after work, and on weekends<br />

when their schedules were stacked.<br />

Rupert said one positive to come out of the COVID challenges was the opportunity<br />

to gather customer feedback from the first 10 weeks of their operations, and use<br />

this feedback to refine the surfing and park experiences.<br />

“We made the most of the lockdown - we designed new surf sessions and lessons,<br />

created new swimming and visitor experiences, opened more of our lagoonside<br />

amenities and park features, and readied Three Blue Ducks Melbourne for launch<br />

(the park’s on-site restaurant by the Ducks opened in November 2020). We also<br />

brought forward our annual winter maintenance to avoid a planned shutdown in<br />

August, and engaged with our members and guests virtually so we could all stay<br />

sane while being confined indoors.”<br />

“Based on the demand for a playful, 1-2ft pointbreak style session that offered<br />

an easier take-off, and bridged the gap between our whitewater Play In The Bay<br />

(beginner) sessions and Intermediate Sessions, we developed our Cruiser Sessions.<br />

“Barrel pigs and bodyboarders asked for a Beast Mode-only session that offered<br />

more slabs along with less people in the lineup, so we developed our Expert<br />

Sessions.<br />

“And for guests who’d learned to surf with us, and who wanted to continue their<br />

surfing journey and improve their skills, we developed four new lesson pathways –<br />

Beginner I, Beginner II, Cruiser and Intermediate.<br />

“During the peak of COVID restrictions, we needed to make some temporary<br />

changes to our business operations for health and safety reasons, including limiting<br />

park access to surfing guests only, closing certain areas of the park, imposing<br />

capacity limits on indoor spaces, enforcing social distancing and implementing<br />

enhanced cleaning measures.<br />

“We’ve kept many of these measures in place, but thankfully the surfing and guest<br />

experience isn’t impacted.”<br />

35 / #50 / SB


photos: Courtesy of URBNSURF<br />

SB / #50 / 36


IMG_20210715_114112825.jpg<br />

The road back to business has been a little rocky – with Victoria<br />

weathering some of the toughest restrictions in the country. If<br />

anything, the lockdowns appear to have boosted enthusiasm for all<br />

things outdoor – including surfing.<br />

“In October, after four months of lockdown, the desire for<br />

Victorians to escape the city, enjoy the outdoors and reconnect<br />

with family and friends was overwhelming,” Rupert said. “Because<br />

of this, our core URBNSURF community has grown dramatically<br />

over the Spring and Summer, and we couldn’t be more thankful for<br />

their loyalty and support.”<br />

The park, which now employs about 50 people, has also attracted<br />

plenty of attention from professional and celebrity surfers lured by<br />

the chance to perfect their techniques on wave after wave without<br />

the usual challenges of wind, tide, and crowds that are part and<br />

parcel of the ocean surfing experience.<br />

“We have a great relationship with both Surfing Victoria and<br />

Surfing Australia, and through those partnerships we regularly host<br />

training sessions for Victorian juniors, aspiring CT competitors and<br />

professional athletes,” Rupert said.<br />

“We welcomed Team Australia for a full-day training session back<br />

in November 2019, which saw the likes of Julian Wilson hucking<br />

backside aerials and Sally Fitzgibbons stomping big blowtails.<br />

“Because of the mechanical perfection, frequency and<br />

predictability of the waves we produce, our lagoon’s the ultimate<br />

training tool for improving technique and perfecting manoeuvres,<br />

and to quickly dial in new equipment. I remember watching Julian<br />

(Wilson) paddle out on a new JS, surf one wave, paddle over to<br />

the pier where Luke Egan was standing with an armful of gear,<br />

swap out the fins, and paddle back to the take-off point in time for<br />

the next set, and straight after he kicked out, he paddled over to<br />

the pier to chat to Luke about the performance impact. It was like<br />

watching an F1 pitstop for surfing.”<br />

Even Thor himself, aka Chris Hemsworth, has taken a trip to<br />

URBNSURF, taking time out from life in Byron Bay to smash out a<br />

day on the waves.<br />

“His first visit was on the same day as the Team Australia training<br />

session in November 2019, and despite the media whirlwind that<br />

follows him - choppers from all the major news stations were flying<br />

over the park, in restricted airspace, trying to catch a glimpse of<br />

the big fella - he made time for everyone, and hooted approvingly<br />

when someone made a crazy pit.<br />

“He surfed for four hours straight before heading out to dinner<br />

and was back the next morning at 6am to go again. He’s a super<br />

humble guy, rips, and loves getting tubed. He came back again<br />

with his brothers and family just before Christmas 2019 and surfed<br />

again for almost 10 hours straight, except when he was pushing<br />

his kids in.<br />

“We’ve also welcomed F1 legends Lewis Hamilton and Charles<br />

Le Clerc, pretty much every AFL player that surfs - the Essendon<br />

Football Club training hangar is across the road, so they’re always<br />

popping in - and most Australian juniors, QS competitors and CT<br />

athletes (current and retired). Billy Slater and Mark Philippoussis<br />

are proud URBNSURF members.<br />

While surfers are able to drop in for a day on the waves,<br />

URBNSURF is also building a membership base, with more than<br />

700 members signed up for regular sessions and Rupert said the<br />

interest continued to grow.<br />

“We have over 700 members now, and we’re stoked that our core<br />

community continues to grow. Our members are the lifeblood<br />

of the park, they’re always in the water or sitting at the Ducks<br />

enjoying a drink. They’re incredibly passionate about what we’ve<br />

created. They’ve supported us through the thick and thin, and<br />

they provide us with invaluable feedback on a regular basis that<br />

helps us shape the URBNSURF experience. We have three tiers of<br />

membership – Foundation, Gold and Aqua – with options to suit<br />

different surfing habits and abilities.”<br />

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37 / #50 / SB


Just like anything when it comes to a day in the<br />

surf, every day is an opportunity for both the<br />

surfers and the venue to improve, and Rupert said<br />

the team was focused on continuously developing<br />

its offer and maximising the potential of the Cove<br />

technology in partnership with Wavegarden.<br />

“We’re constantly working on new wave settings<br />

and session types,” he said. “We’re planning to<br />

release a new “Advanced Turns” session in the<br />

future, along with our female-only surf session<br />

program “Surf and Sip” which also includes a postsurf<br />

drink at Three Blue Ducks.<br />

“We’ll continue to add further lessons to our<br />

surfing progression pathway, and we are looking at<br />

introducing advanced and expert coaching later in<br />

the year.<br />

For those north of Victoria, there’s good news<br />

with construction set to begin later this year on<br />

a second URBNSURF venue at Olympic Park in<br />

Sydney. First riders are expected to hit the waves<br />

there in Summer 2022/2023.<br />

“We’re also exploring locations in Brisbane and<br />

Perth, and we’re excited to take URBNSURF to<br />

Queensland and Western Australia in the near<br />

future,” Rupert said.<br />

As for the surfing itself, Rupert says he’s found EPS<br />

boards performed better in wave pools.<br />

“They’re more buoyant in freshwater, and because<br />

they sit slightly above the water line as compared<br />

with PU, they’re a little easier to paddle,” he said.<br />

“You can ride a smaller board (my usual shortboard<br />

is 6’2” but I ride 5’10” in the lagoon) but it’s best to<br />

keep similar literage, preferably a swallow tail with<br />

plenty of nose rocker. My two favourite pool boards<br />

are Will Webber’s Wing Yong model and the JS<br />

MonstaBox 2020.”<br />

It does get a little chilly in Melbourne in winter,<br />

so wetsuits are another must. Staying local,<br />

URBNSURF has partnered with Rip Curl for its<br />

wetsuits, experimenting with materials to ensure<br />

that they have suits that are “comfortable, warm,<br />

flexible and most importantly durable as our water<br />

is chlorinated”.<br />

“We’ve been working closely with their wetsuit R&D<br />

team since opening, and we’re collaborating with<br />

Rip Curl to test the longer-term impacts of chlorine<br />

and frequent use, with the goal of developing<br />

“wavepool-specific” wetsuits. It’s exciting.”<br />

As for other wave pools and how the pools<br />

themself fit in the surfing landscape, Rupert is<br />

philosophical.<br />

“Initially, I think there was a part of the surfing<br />

community that resisted surf parks and adopted a<br />

puritanical view – that paying to surf in an artificial<br />

surfing environment represents the antithesis of<br />

what surfing should be about,” he said.<br />

“I can understand this viewpoint and respect the<br />

hesitation. I don’t want surfing’s soul ripped out<br />

of it, either. But like with anything, once you try<br />

something, see the merits of it, and understand its<br />

place, your perspective starts to shift.<br />

“Surf parks will never be a substitute for ocean<br />

surfing. There’s something special and irreplicable<br />

about being out in the blue, exposed to the<br />

rawness of nature, with the wind in your hair<br />

and salt in your eyes. But as a training tool, a<br />

supplement for when the surf’s flat or the wind’s<br />

howling onshore, a place to have a blast with your<br />

mates, and as a safe, controlled environment that<br />

helps everyone progress more quickly, surf parks<br />

are incredible – and solve a massive problem for<br />

urban and non-coastal residents: where’s my next<br />

wave coming from?<br />

“As existing technologies are improved and new<br />

ones are developed, and more and more surf parks<br />

are built in Australia and around the world, this<br />

understanding and acceptance will grow. Love or<br />

photo: Courtesy of URBNSURF<br />

SB / #50 / 38


hate them, surf parks are here to stay.”<br />

When it comes to the range of technologies in use<br />

and the different styles of parks on offer Rupert said<br />

they were all worth a look.<br />

“I’d recommend all of them – each surf park offers<br />

a unique, exciting and fun experience,” he said.<br />

“It’d be hard to pass up a 20 second barrel at<br />

the Surf Ranch. I’ve been, but couldn’t afford the<br />

price tag. BSR in Waco is punchy, super rippable<br />

and currently offers the best air section, although<br />

Wavegarden’s new air wave is giving it a solid run<br />

for its money.<br />

“Wave Park in Korea boasts a heated lagoon and<br />

the world’s biggest Cove, and if you can score<br />

an invite to Palm Springs Surf Club – talk about a<br />

desert oasis. To use an analogy, even if you surf<br />

perfect Snapper every day, you still want to surf<br />

D’Bah, Burleigh, Straddie. The same surfing logic<br />

applies to surf parks.”<br />

Rupert credits 11x World Champion Kelly Slater and<br />

his Lemoore Surf Ranch as having paved the way<br />

for surf parks to be culturally acceptable and notes<br />

the industry has moved quickly since Slater’s model<br />

was released.<br />

“In a very short space of time the technology and<br />

industry has rapidly progressed to the point that<br />

now, for surfers lucky enough to have one close<br />

by, it’s possible to incorporate surf parks into their<br />

existing surfing habits and routine,” he said.<br />

When it comes to the technology of it all,<br />

URBNSURF Melbourne utilises Wavegarden Cove<br />

technology to produce its swell. The technology<br />

uses a modular system which allows the users to<br />

add or remove modules depending on the size of<br />

their pool. The wave generation comes from a series<br />

of piston-powered-paddles that push waves out<br />

either side of a pier in the centre of the pool. As the<br />

waves move from deeper to shallower water they<br />

stand up, crest and break. URBNSRF Melbourne<br />

has 46 modules – the newest Wavegarden Cove<br />

pool in Korea is larger and has 56 modules – adding<br />

about three seconds of constant height to the<br />

waves. >><br />

39 / #50 / SB


photo: Courtesy of Surf Lakes Holdings Pty Ltd<br />

Another technology being trialled in Australia is that<br />

of the “plunger” approach by the team at Surf Lakes<br />

(www.surf-lakes.com.au) in Yeppoon, about seven<br />

hours north of Brisbane in Queensland, Australia.<br />

SB / #50 / 40


41 / #50 / SB


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Another technology being trialled in Australia is that of the<br />

“plunger” approach by the team at Surf Lakes (www.surf-lakes.<br />

com.au) in Yeppoon, about seven hours north of Brisbane in<br />

Queensland, Australia.<br />

The Surf Lakes system, capable of generating about 2000 waves<br />

an hour, works by dropping a 1400 tonne plunger into the centre<br />

of a lagoon, creating waves that are then massaged into different<br />

levels of difficulty through careful adjustments to the terrain of the<br />

lagoon’s floor. Think of dropping a massive stone into the centre of<br />

a pond and then harnessing the ripples for surfing.<br />

Surf Lakes General Manager of Global Operations and International<br />

Marketing Director Wayne Dart said the Yeppoon facility was<br />

built as a research and development hub to test and perfect the<br />

wave technology that would be licensed to surf park operators<br />

throughout the world.<br />

The first waves at the 15ha Surf Lakes site rolled out in October<br />

2018 and in the 3 years since the team has been working hard to<br />

perfect their wave offering, achieving a 2.4m wave height in 2019,<br />

and in August 2020 recording CWD stroke heights of 4.48metres<br />

on sections of the Lagoon named The Island and Occy’s Peak<br />

(after brand ambassador Mark Occhilupo). Pictures of that session<br />

show a surfer standing upright with the barrel rolling over his head<br />

as he drives to the clean water.<br />

While Surf Lakes is selling licences to operate their technology<br />

around the world, in good news for local surfers they’re also<br />

keen to start their own operations and have entered into the<br />

development approval process with the local council at Yeppoon<br />

to eventually create a surf destination at their Yeppoon site.<br />

“It is still an R & D facility, but we’re getting through the process of<br />

approval so we can open to the public,” Wayne said. “It will require<br />

a massive infrastructure upgrade – we’re looking at some time in<br />

2022”.<br />

Wayne said right now the organisation was looking to buy 100<br />

acres of adjacent land with a view to creating an eco-camping<br />

experience which would require minimal infrastructure. Ultimately,<br />

stage two would be to build a hotel precinct with a bigger range of<br />

services and accommodation.<br />

He said already the site had generated considerable income for the<br />

local community with $15 million spent so far on its development<br />

and the extra flow on in terms of local accommodation, food and<br />

beverage sales from the numerous guests who had been in town<br />

to test out the facility and provide feedback.<br />

In terms of the waves Wayne said he had witnessed the ongoing<br />

development of the product over the past few years and was<br />

excited by the success of their 2020 R & D sessions where the<br />

system, working at 75% of potential had produced some really<br />

large, challenging, waves that would suit professionals, along with<br />

smoother, smaller waves for beginners.<br />

“Realistically, we’ve proven the concept and we just want to fine<br />

tune it,” he said.<br />

For Wayne, COVID19 added another dimension to his 2020<br />

experience, leading him to spend more than three months camped<br />

with his dog on the side of the surf lagoon. The time by the water<br />

came with plenty of surfing highlights.<br />

He recalls a day in September where they surfed from sunset to<br />

sunrise in perfect conditions.<br />

“We ran a morning session. We ran a few waves right on sunrise,<br />

just as the sun was coming up over the hill to the east,” Wayne<br />

said. “Volcanic plugs sticking up out of flat ground, mist rolling in<br />

over the water, oil smooth waves with fog drifting through.<br />

“Then there was some of the session at the end of the day with the<br />

sun setting over the volcanic plugs on the other side of the lagoon.<br />

It was just unreal - It was just mind blowing.”<br />

angleseasurfcentre.com.au<br />

Ph: 0352631530 @anglesea_surf_centre<br />

111 Great Ocean Road, Anglesea VIC 3230<br />

SB / #50 / 42


photos: Courtesy of Surf Lakes Holdings Pty Ltd<br />

43 / #50 / SB


Wayne said the intention for the Surf Lakes site<br />

was to create an atmosphere that was as close to<br />

the “beach lifestyle” experience as they could.<br />

He said the organisation was investigating the<br />

use of solar, wind and wave energy as a way of<br />

powering the plunger and was keen to use the<br />

strength of interest in its project to help spotlight a<br />

number of key causes including an alignment with<br />

the Great Barrier Reef Foundation and its work to<br />

protect the reef.<br />

“We want to educate people about the ocean. We<br />

have an opportunity to take the ocean message to<br />

a much bigger audience than just people living on<br />

the Coast.”<br />

In terms of the sessionable wave pools listed<br />

earlier in the story that we found, four of the<br />

11 utilise the Wavegarden technology, five<br />

make use of the Murphy’s Wave system, one<br />

is the Kelly Slater System and BSR Surf Resort<br />

uses American Wave Machines PerfectSwell<br />

Technology.<br />

Scottish company Murphy’s Waves use a<br />

hydraulic wave system where a large tank fills<br />

above the pool then drops the water, either in<br />

sequence, or all at once, to displace water and<br />

create a wave which moves from the narrow end<br />

of the pool to a wider bay, creating lefts, rights<br />

and split peaks along the way.<br />

Kelly Slater’s System is similar to the Wavegarden<br />

concept – essentially a large underwater plow that<br />

runs along a track in that was once a waterski<br />

park. The patented underwater hull displaces the<br />

water in such a way that it creates a barrelling<br />

wave and 45-second rides. A downside being<br />

it can only produce one wave every couple of<br />

minutes.<br />

PerfectSwell Technology uses air pistons along<br />

a central wall to displace the water and create<br />

a wave. It creates three-wave sets that come<br />

every 70 seconds with the technology allowing<br />

operators to create lefts and rights alternatively<br />

during a session.<br />

For wannabe wave pool resort owners, the choice<br />

of technology is sure to play a big part in how they<br />

price their sessions. The Surf Lakes technology<br />

has the potential to provide 2400 rides an hour,<br />

Wave Garden Cove hits about 1000 rides an<br />

hour, while at Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch, there’s<br />

one rider per wave and about 30 waves an hour.<br />

A full day hire at Slater’s Surf Ranch will put you<br />

back $55,000, while surfers at URBNSURF in<br />

Melbourne, using the Wave Garden Technology,<br />

are charged $79 for an hour-long session on<br />

weekends and promised 10-12 waves on a fully<br />

booked day – more if there’s less people in the<br />

pool.<br />

While this is a point-in-time look at wave pools<br />

as of 2021, it would be remiss not to mention<br />

there are other technologies out there in the<br />

development stages including Webber Wave<br />

Pools, Tom Lochtefeld’s system, Swell MFG,<br />

Surf Poel and Cheyne Magnussen’s prototype<br />

pneumatic system at Palm Springs where he<br />

hopes to be able to dial in perfect waves “like a<br />

DJ” for his surfing clientele.<br />

photo: Courtesy of Surf Lakes Holdings Pty Ltd<br />

SB / #50 / 44


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words: jase johns<br />

MMXX<br />

Everyone has a way to describe it … a pigeon-hole to put<br />

it in … a cliff to throw it off … a memory to forget!<br />

Some will be able to achieve this. However, for many, the<br />

year of 2020, will last their lifetimes, and beyond!<br />

Never before, have so many humans been impacted under<br />

such similar circumstances, by such a common adversary.<br />

The impacts have been catastrophic – loss of freedoms,<br />

loss of livelihoods, and unprecedented loss of life. Every<br />

human has felt the wrath of this invisible, nevertheless very<br />

tangible enemy.<br />

Yet, there have been positives and these have been<br />

significant. When looked at, as the Human Race,<br />

mankind’s frailties are often reduced to the mere physical<br />

– we are but skin and bone – we bend, we break, and<br />

unfortunately, we’re also susceptible to disease.<br />

However, from this personal invasion has seen a<br />

strengthening of the human nature. Sure, there is still the<br />

aura of ‘every man for himself’ and the greed and selfcentredness<br />

that associates with this. But, in amongst this<br />

cloud of mediocrity has been a definite intensification of<br />

humans-looking-after-humans.<br />

Both of our fine countries have been populations of<br />

somewhat understated vernacular … while one says<br />

“Sweet As, Bro”, the other simply says “No Wuckas”.<br />

Now, in the generation of the “C” Word (not the other one),<br />

we all live with a dream of normality. What we would give,<br />

to have our lives again? … What we would give, to be able<br />

to live as we once did? … What we all would give, to have<br />

those humans back that have left us!<br />

2020 has taught us - if nothing else – that we are infallible.<br />

Some messages have been soft and silent … in the<br />

background, and hard to hear. However, unfortunately,<br />

others have been so very close, cutting, loud and clear.<br />

Terribly, so many us have lost those so close to us. The<br />

mist of mental illness grows into a cloud that hangs so<br />

very much above the mass of Us. It’s hard to understand<br />

before, and so incredibly hard to comprehend afterwards.<br />

We cannot let this slide! This cannot be our defining<br />

moment! We are losing people, but they’re not just people<br />

… we are losing dads, wives, brothers, girlfriends, partners<br />

and significant others. In the words of ‘The Dude’, “this<br />

aggression will not stand, Man”. We need to be smarter.<br />

We need to learn. This is our chance to improve our mana<br />

… create our intellectual presence … be human and be<br />

present with those who are the most important to us.<br />

We have learned over this very short and poignant period,<br />

that Life is not just fragile – but, it is endearing, engaging<br />

and unfortunately, alienating. We have lost some of the<br />

very best of Us … and unfortunately, those tears will take<br />

a very long time to roll down our cheeks. We can but<br />

hope, that we can be just that … we can be just “human”.<br />

In memory of our very, very Best Mate,<br />

Craig “Dowza” Dow”<br />

SB / #50 / 46


words: geoff crokett<br />

It was March 2013 when we last caught up with Shed Nine’s Eddie Wearne.<br />

When we caught up for this <strong>edition</strong>, he was just going into lockdown number<br />

five as Victoria continues to battle the dreaded COVID. Fair to say<br />

plenty’s happened in Eddie’s many lives in the past eight years…<br />

photo: courtesy Eddie Wearne


1. Eddie the Businessman:<br />

Shed Nine is Eddie’s business. While it’s online<br />

too, the core store is at 362 Dundas St, on the<br />

way to Rye Ocean Beach, aka “The Caree”, in<br />

Victoria, where he sells all things surf, skate,<br />

snow, bodyboards, wetsuits, hardware and<br />

apparel.<br />

“I’m a uni drop out, who had 57 odd jobs from<br />

a paper round in primary school until I opened<br />

the shop. Once I had a licence, the bosses were<br />

always aware I’d be leaving to go for the next<br />

surf trip.<br />

“Living life on the road from a panel van was a<br />

little easier and more affordable than it is for the<br />

youth these days. Petrol was only 17 cents per<br />

litre, so you could drive to Sydney on 50 bucks.<br />

“I’ve been here, in-store at Shed Nine, for 15<br />

years this October and, despite an addiction for<br />

warm warm water holidays, I have no plan on<br />

leaving.”<br />

Packed to the brim, the shop has become as<br />

much a destination, as a retail outlet. It’s a place<br />

where customers can go for good, hands-on<br />

advice and inspiration. The shop has a huge<br />

range of surf, skate, snowboard and bodyboard<br />

gear. Every spare surface has something to<br />

look at, floor and ceiling included. Out the back,<br />

there’s an outdoor, undercover entertainment<br />

and barbecue area, complete with a grom-sized<br />

skate ramp, an art room full of vintage treasures,<br />

a shaping and ding repair bay and, in winter, a<br />

snowboard hire and tuning room.<br />

Eddie said the shop had grown a solid following<br />

online and his focus is on trying to be a positive,<br />

healthy, strong and open-minded role model to<br />

the groms coming up in the local area – many<br />

of whom the shop sponsors across a range of<br />

sports.<br />

While the shop stocks many premium labels,<br />

Eddie said their own boutique range of Shed<br />

Nine<br />

Surfboards, Skateboards, Bodyboards and<br />

Apparel were of premium quality too, and,<br />

where possible, were Australian made. “All<br />

Shed Nine apparel, is printed, embroidered and<br />

tagged locally and some of the clothing is 100%<br />

Australian-made. Something that’s hard to find<br />

these days!”<br />

2. Eddie and Lockdowns:<br />

“Times are uncertain, now more than ever and<br />

180 days of stage 4 lockdown deep, still going<br />

with no clear end in sight, but I’m also blessed<br />

to be in a surf shop on the coast, while so many<br />

shops in the city have now closed for good. I’m<br />

lucky that people have still supported us.”<br />

“As long as we have the basics like food,<br />

water, a roof over our heads, and something to<br />

stimulate us, we’re ok. In my case that’s a neverendinq<br />

quiver.<br />

“Making more money and keeping up with the<br />

Joneses, really isn’t that important. Keeping<br />

healthy and being good to your friends and your<br />

family is.<br />

“Where we are, on the Mornington Peninsula,<br />

there has been an uproar about us being<br />

deemed Melbourne Metropolitan where for<br />

example, when I look out my shop windows<br />

sipping a beer, all I can see is an empty car park<br />

and paddocks.”<br />

“We non-essential sole traders have copped<br />

it harder in “Metro Melbourne” than most of<br />

Australia but still we are blessed compared to<br />

most of the world and we’ve had time to both<br />

reflect and learn.<br />

“Looking through my folders to find these<br />

photos for your iconic <strong>Smorgasboarder</strong> <strong>50th</strong><br />

Edition brought back so many great memories<br />

and made me appreciate how lucky I have been<br />

to have lived, and still be living, my dream.<br />

“Sadly, I lost nine friends to suicide from four<br />

high schools and uni, during these lockdowns<br />

last year, mostly middle-aged men with kids.<br />

Providers. That was really tough.<br />

“Lockdowns are like hold downs. We have to<br />

keep paddling through the cold, small, grovelly<br />

days, and the chunky onshore messy days, to<br />

keep fit, to ride the solid waves of our dreams,<br />

but then, on those days we cop monster clean<br />

up sets on the head. We hold our breathe, duckdive<br />

and get held down, knocked around, time<br />

slows down, up for a breathe paddle like all hell,<br />

and the next lockdown lands on our head. We<br />

get locked down, but we get back up again.”<br />

3. Eddie the family man:<br />

Last time we talked to Eddie, his daughter<br />

Chloe had not yet arrived, but was very close to<br />

making her appearance. Now, the seven-yearold<br />

Chloe’s favourite sports are snowboarding<br />

and skateboarding and she loves the beach<br />

and playing in the surf. She’s added a spark<br />

to Eddie’s eyes and he credits family life with<br />

helping him through a few tough years.<br />

“I think being a father has been a huge step in<br />

becoming more successful and a better person,<br />

it’s like I’ve got to man up here, my daughter<br />

deserves me to be the best I can be.<br />

“Becoming a father was the greatest thing<br />

that ever happened to me although I didn’t<br />

realise it at the time. It takes time and it’s a<br />

big adjustment. The reward you get back from<br />

being a father and seeing children follow in your<br />

footsteps makes you want to be a better human.<br />

Seeing them doing better than you were doing at<br />

their age across the boards is rewarding.<br />

“She’s been to the snow every year since she<br />

was born, except last year because of COVID,<br />

been on a surfboard since she was two and a<br />

skateboard since she could walk – she drops in<br />

better on a skateboard at seven than I did when I<br />

was fourteen. Kids these days!<br />

“I’m lucky to have a wife who understands me<br />

too – she’s a great mother who understands<br />

and has been supportive of my bi-polar<br />

condition and has allowed me the freedoms to<br />

travel to Indo or up the Coast or whatever for<br />

surf trips”.<br />

4. Eddie The Musician:<br />

“I had a music scholarship as a teenager, as<br />

a clarinettist to a prestigious boy’s school but<br />

when the time came I that I had reached my<br />

potential on that instrument, I asked them to<br />

teach me singing, guitar or drums and they said<br />

no. So I kinda told ‘em to stick it and never went<br />

back.<br />

“That was Year 10 and I ended up having a few<br />

single parent family-type dramas at home, so I<br />

slept under the yacht club at Point Leo in winter<br />

and surfed every day for a few weeks.<br />

“I returned home, skipped school for six months<br />

and went surfing, mostly on a bodyboard on<br />

the bus. Things improved at home again - so,<br />

I ended up going to four high schools. I taught<br />

myself the guitar and drums and have written<br />

over 100 originals across multiple genres.<br />

“I’ve been in a few bands but mostly just for<br />

fun. I might drop a few tracks on Spotify or<br />

something but I have been talking that up for<br />

years and mostly just keep surfing ha ha ha!<br />

5. Eddie the supporter of<br />

great causes:<br />

Around 2014 Eddie and his crew launched a side<br />

project “The Vagrant Contingency” a humble<br />

label of locally made surfboards and apparel.<br />

While Shed Nine is the core store and<br />

community business and sponsors athletes, up<br />

and coming groms and the local community,<br />

Vagrant, or Vagrant Shapes is a more subtle<br />

back burner, which is more focussed on<br />

supporting issues of environmental awareness.<br />

The same range of custom boards are locally<br />

made and can be ordered under either label.<br />

“I supervise the range of boards and while I have<br />

shaped quite a few boards, these days,<br />

the reality, in most cases, is that the machine’s<br />

do most of the actual shaping.<br />

“We have access to couple of local shaping<br />

machines and factories and combining our<br />

passion and knowledge then sharing the love<br />

with a variety of local shapers and glassers<br />

embraces the local community.”<br />

For many years Eddie was also the Victorian<br />

representative of Matty Dee’s FTW Revolution<br />

movement – which was all about using<br />

money made from the sale of apparel to raise<br />

awareness for the issue of suicide and its<br />

prevention. For Eddie, who has been diagnosed<br />

with bi-polar disorder and now treats it without<br />

meds, mental health is an issue close to his<br />

heart and he’s proud to have been part of the<br />

journey and to have been able to be there for<br />

those who dropped by the shop for a chat over<br />

the years.<br />

“While I still battle the ups, the downs, and<br />

the sideways at times, the ocean and regular<br />

exercise has proven better in my case than<br />

medication,” Eddie said.<br />

The reward you get back from<br />

being a father and seeing<br />

children follow in your<br />

footsteps makes you want to be a<br />

better human. seeing them doing<br />

better than you were doing at<br />

their age across the boards is<br />

rewarding.


photo: habib<br />

photo: michael egan<br />

6. Eddie the injury prone:<br />

“So, I’ve had over 35 fractures, starting at five-yearsold<br />

when I fractured my left arm doing a double flip<br />

off a swing - when I came to, my arm was like an<br />

“m” shape.<br />

“Another wild one - I was on a surf trip with Pottz<br />

and some other mates and I broke three ribs nightsurfing<br />

at Lances left. That one was wild. I was<br />

pretty relieved to make it to the beach that night.<br />

Pottz said it was one of the gnarliest things he’d<br />

seen. You could have put your fingers through the<br />

holes in my ribs and touched my lungs. A close call<br />

for sure.<br />

“Since the last interview I’ve had a left knee surgery,<br />

right knee ACL replacement – and my right shoulder<br />

rebuilt with three screws, a hook and a plate.<br />

“With the shoulder injury, which has haunted me<br />

the most, I was working up at the snow, carrying<br />

20 kilos on my back, selling hooded jumpers. We<br />

had a great day and at the end, I fell forward and<br />

separated my shoulder.<br />

“The other surgeries were kind of a mixture – stagediving<br />

at a Bodyjar concert I tweaked my left knee,<br />

then spinning on a snowboard finished it off.<br />

“The right knee, I was dancing at a festival, I was<br />

carrying a mate who was crowd surfing, overhead<br />

when my right knee collapsed and my right foot<br />

kicked me in the right eye. I heard a popping noise<br />

and ‘bang’ - full ACL rupture. I remember surfing<br />

mate, Tasmanian charger Kyron Rathbone, helping<br />

me get back to bed at the shop then he managed<br />

the shop for a month after I had a surgery while I<br />

was unable to walk.<br />

“Out of eight years since your last interview, I’ve<br />

spent about three out of the water in recovery<br />

from injuries and surgeries. I’m the first to admit I<br />

was medicated when these injuries occurred and<br />

medication and alcohol can be a bad combination,<br />

so I left the meds behind.<br />

“I think if I had any other job, or I didn’t have the<br />

flexibility of running my own surf shop, it would have<br />

definitely been harder to keep coming back. Even<br />

sitting in the shop all day, you look at the boards<br />

and you really want to heal up and ride them again.”<br />

Proving there’s always a positive, Eddie said the<br />

shop did benefit from his injuries.<br />

“I designed websites, skate, surf, snowboard,<br />

bodyboard and clothing ranges, set up a real estate<br />

company in Indonesia, and spent plenty of long days<br />

instore during the recoveries”.<br />

“Sure, there are plenty of days where many of us<br />

struggle to find the motivation to get out of bed, or in<br />

my case being stuck in bed for a month crawling to<br />

the toilet post-surgery alone at home. At the end of<br />

the day, the show must go on and it’s not so much<br />

like work when you’re following your heart and doing<br />

what you love. At the end of the day, we all have to<br />

pay to play!”<br />

photo: grommet<br />

7. Eddie’s ever-growing quiver:<br />

If it floats, rolls, or slides there’s every chance Eddie<br />

has given it a go in the ocean, on land or in the snow.<br />

The key has been variety.<br />

“There are 15 boards in my car right now – I’ve<br />

got a transit van with 12 seats – it’s also the snow<br />

bus when we take trips to the snow. There’s a mal<br />

in the van – three fishes, two or three softboards<br />

under shoulder high with twinnies, a few different<br />

bodyboards, an alaia, a gun, a surf skate, a hydrofoil,<br />

hand-planes, the works. They say we don’t stop<br />

playing because we get old, we get old because we<br />

stop playing.”<br />

One of the newest rides in his quiver is the hydrofoil,<br />

a weapon he says has saved him during lockdown<br />

and in his return from multiple injuries, and one that<br />

he is happily taking his time to master.<br />

“I was in a bit of a bad way mentally during the onset<br />

of COVID after my life-long dreams of setting up villas<br />

in Indo were shattered and I was missing the regular<br />

trips to quality waves.<br />

“The hydro foil has been great because where we live<br />

there are so many options all around in all different<br />

swells and a whole new thrill.”<br />

Eddie’s part of a posse of 13 local surfers who hit<br />

the waves whenever they can and he said when<br />

the conditions were right, they even could be found<br />

walking to one of the many piers on Port Phillip Bay,<br />

jumping in with their foils and riding the waves back<br />

to shore.<br />

“The foiling has been really good for me mentally<br />

and physically too. I was a bit depressed after my<br />

shoulder surgery and got to 100 kgs a year ago. Now<br />

I’m 87kg – I got down to 83 by dieting and focusing<br />

on health – and foiling helped to get me back there.<br />

The pumping has strengthened my knees and helped<br />

with fitness.<br />

“I try to only go foiling if the waves are not worth<br />

surfing – if the waves are good for surfing on anything<br />

else or the slabs are good for bodyboarding, I’ll do<br />

that, because I want to ride them all for as long as<br />

possible – to shred forever.<br />

8. Eddie and his Indo adventures:<br />

“I’ve been to Indo 37 times. I’ve always been very<br />

passionate about Indo – working here to surf there.”<br />

Last time we caught up with Eddie he and his<br />

wife Claire were dreaming of setting up some<br />

accommodation for their friends to stay at in<br />

Indonesia and surf. They followed that dream and set<br />

up two villas in Bali and one in Sumbawa and had<br />

them rented out via Air BnB until COVID hit and travel<br />

stopped for everyone.<br />

Since then, they’ve had to let one of the Balinese<br />

villas go, and Eddie said the other would go when its<br />

lease ran out, though he’s locked into Sumbawa for<br />

longer.<br />

“That threw me into depression a bit, I felt like a<br />

failure, fell deeper into debt, but you’ve got to be in it<br />

to win it. No-one gets anywhere great without taking<br />

risks and following their heart!<br />

“The villas were the cream on the cake. We are lucky,<br />

we still have our shop. So many people and friends<br />

are so much worse off than us - in Indo and around<br />

the world. We really are blessed here.”<br />

SB / #50 / 50


photo: diong<br />

photo: nando<br />

photo: diong<br />

9. Eddie and the future:<br />

“I dream of great futures for the groms where<br />

I live, may they grow to make the most of the<br />

opportunities available, shred on the boards they<br />

ride and enjoy happy, fulfilled and successful lives.<br />

“I dream of charging on annual trips to Indo around<br />

Oz and the world in my 60s, hopefully with my<br />

daughter in her 20s. I’m looking forward to that<br />

chapter. I want to keep healthy and be able to surf<br />

until I’m in my 70s or 80s. I plan to be in the water<br />

most days riding something until the very end.<br />

“I think most cold-water surfers have daydreams of<br />

growing old somewhere warmer, but when I think it<br />

through, home is definitely, where the heart is.<br />

“By practicing the Wim Hoff method, rarely turning<br />

on heaters, you can adapt too and embrace the<br />

cold. Besides, these days - the wetsuits really are<br />

that good too.<br />

“The proximity to such consistently powerful surf,<br />

the snow and the city make where I live a wonderful<br />

place to be. The local community, friends and<br />

family, all over Victoria, in Melbourne and on the<br />

Mornington Peninsula are so entrenched in my<br />

heart, that I will forever call her my home.<br />

“So yeah, I guess the future is to further refine our<br />

products, embrace the culture and our community,<br />

keep the dream alive and hopefully continue to<br />

inspire my daughter to keep on the boards and in<br />

the water.<br />

“They say you’ll never work another day if you’re<br />

truly following your heart and doing what you love.<br />

“As I age, I plan to take on a little less so I can keep<br />

on paddling most days, that way, hopefully I’ll never<br />

have to really actually grow up,” he says with a<br />

laugh.<br />

Shed Nine is at 362 Dundas St, Rye. Find them<br />

online at www.shednine.com or @shednine<br />

Or @eddiewearne<br />

photo: pk<br />

photo: Matt Burgess<br />

photo: nando<br />

“There are 15 boards in my car right now – I’ve got a<br />

transit van with 12 seats – it’s also the snow bus when<br />

we take trips to the snow. There’s a mal in the van –<br />

three fishes, two or three softboards under shoulder<br />

high with twinnies, a few different bodyboards, an alaia,<br />

a gun, a surf skate, a hydrofoil, hand-planes, the works.<br />

They say we don’t stop playing because we get old, we<br />

get old because we stop playing.”<br />

51 / #50 / SB


PARADISE<br />

stuck in<br />

words: alex benaud<br />

Who are you?<br />

I’m Oliver Taylor and I grew up on the Sunshine<br />

Coast in Queensland, and my partner Alannah<br />

Sabine is from Perth, Western Australia.<br />

How did you end up sailing the ocean on<br />

your boat?<br />

We actually bought our catamaran Paradise<br />

in Darwin in October 2017 and moved onto<br />

it straight away as live aboards. We both had<br />

no sailing experience but knew that this is<br />

something we really wanted to do, so over the<br />

next 8 months we learned to sail by crewing<br />

on other people’s boats on the weekend wet<br />

season races in Darwin. After a few races<br />

crewing on other boats, Alannah and I took<br />

out Paradise on out own and finished a few<br />

races. We would take out the boat in the worst<br />

conditions when massive storms were rolling<br />

in. People used to think we were crazy but I just<br />

told them it’s better learning here how to sail<br />

in bad weather than later on when we are not<br />

ready for it. We felt we had learned enough to<br />

sail to Indonesia and left in June 2018!<br />

What was the main idea or motivation<br />

behind setting sail?<br />

My dream since I was a grom was to go to the<br />

Mentawaiis to surf some of the best waves<br />

in the world but I could never justify the price<br />

of doing a boat trip when the rest of Indo is<br />

so cheap. So I never made it up there always<br />

went to different parts of Indo. In 2015 when<br />

we were at Rote Island we met up with some<br />

friends that had a yacht that had been sailing<br />

through Indo for years telling us amazing<br />

stories of uncrowded waves. We thought this<br />

is something we could do we need to save up<br />

and buy a boat and sail to the Mentawais.<br />

Has it been as good, worse or even better<br />

than you had imagined?<br />

Sailing through Indonesia has been way better<br />

than I could have imagined, we island hopped<br />

from Rote Island East to Nusa Tengarra, west<br />

all the way to West Sumatra surfing and diving<br />

everywhere along the way. I also do a lot of<br />

spear fishing and there are so many good fish<br />

around we always manage to keep the fridge<br />

topped up!! But now that we are in the middle<br />

of the Covid-19 lockdown it has been amazing.<br />

There are no crowds or very small crowds if<br />

there are any and perfect waves.<br />

What does a day in the life of Oli and Lana<br />

consist of onboard?<br />

We usually wake up and check the wind in the<br />

morning and decide where to surf that day over<br />

a coffee and a fruit smoothie. Last year I was<br />

working as an electrician building a surf resort<br />

but because of Covid-19 I no longer have work<br />

so now I am making the most of it and living<br />

my dream!!! Alannah is helping set up a base<br />

here in the Mentawaiis for a foundation called A<br />

Liquid Future helping set up an English school<br />

and doing environmental projects with the local<br />

kids so that keeps her busy when she’s not out<br />

surfing!!<br />

Has anything scary or out of the ordinary<br />

happened?<br />

We have had a few scary moments during our<br />

time in Indo from having the props stuck in<br />

fishing nets and having to cut ourselves free at<br />

night to having lightning hitting the water about<br />

100m away watching sparks and smoke come<br />

off the water praying it doesn’t hit our mast!!!<br />

But probably the scariest thing in my life<br />

happened at the end of 2019. I was the<br />

passenger in my mates tinny travelling at night<br />

to the local village and we were hit by one of<br />

the charter boat tenders. Their boat was a lot<br />

SB / #50 / 52


We would take out the boat in the worst<br />

conditions when massive storms were<br />

rolling in. People used to think we were<br />

crazy but I just told them it’s better<br />

learning here how to sail in bad weather<br />

than later on when we are not ready for it.<br />

bigger and had no lights and hit us really hard.<br />

By the time I saw them I only had enough<br />

time to turn around and yell out to my mate<br />

driving that there’s a boat coming, I turned<br />

back around and it was right there and I put<br />

my hands in front of my face and copped the<br />

full impact of their boat with my hands and<br />

face. I managed to get a lift into town and then<br />

jumped on the back of a scooter and got to the<br />

local hospital where I had 16 stitches in my lip<br />

and xrays of my wrist and jaw. My wrist and<br />

pallet were broken and had dislodged 7 teeth<br />

into to top of my mouth. By this stage it was<br />

about 2 am and I then had to charter a wooden<br />

long boat with 2 40 hp outboards 80NM across<br />

the Chanel to Padang (about 5 hours) where<br />

we went straight to the hospital for further<br />

treatment. I spent 4 days in the hospital in<br />

Padang before flying back to Australia for<br />

further surgery!<br />

What are some moments you’ll never forget?<br />

We had one of our engines being repaired in<br />

Padang so we were stuck there waiting for<br />

parts in March 2020 right as Covid-19 was<br />

just starting to kick off. An official letter was<br />

released that the Mentawais were closed no<br />

one was allowed in and surfing was banned ! At<br />

this stage we were stuck in the Padang River<br />

tied alongside another boat with one engine<br />

out of our boat, 2 days later our engine was<br />

fixed and put back into the boat. We needed<br />

to get out so we decided to leave at 3 in the<br />

morning and sneak out and head as far south<br />

as we could where we knew no one would<br />

be to bother us. We met up with our mates<br />

on another private yacht that left Padang the<br />

night before at 2am and we anchored at a<br />

break called the hole and spent 2 months there<br />

surfing some of the most perfect uncrowded<br />

waves I have ever seen until we ran out of cash<br />

and supplies and had to head north to a major<br />

town to restock.<br />

What’s the plan if you have one?<br />

We love it here in the Mentawais. The waves<br />

are epic and you can generally find uncrowded<br />

waves even in the busiest times and there is<br />

such a great community here. We plan to stay<br />

here for as long as possible!!<br />

53 / #50 / SB


Windmills and waves<br />

words: alex benaud<br />

2020 was a disaster-ridden year with bushfires in Australia,<br />

avalanches in Europe, never seen before storms in the<br />

UK, and of course Covid-19. The positive effects of these<br />

disasters will never outweigh the negative ones in a million<br />

years but as the old cliche goes, ‘when life gives you<br />

lemons, make lemon juice’. That’s just what Remi Petersen<br />

did when Storm Ciara tracked east from the UK towards<br />

his country the Netherlands. As the West coast of the<br />

Netherlands was battered and bruised by the unforgiving<br />

force of Storm Ciara, Remi, and co decided to try their<br />

luck in no other place than the eastern facing Amsterdam<br />

Harbour. I got in contact with Remi as I was curious to<br />

know how the hell there could be waves in Amsterdam.<br />

Who are you and where do you come from?<br />

Who am I? My name is Remi Petersen, who I am though,<br />

I’m not quite sure haha. I’m a fully grown grom from J-bay<br />

who has a Dutch mom and surfs (on occasions) for and<br />

also in The Netherlands.<br />

Tell us about that session during storm Ciara?<br />

Well, storm Ciara was strong enough to produce some<br />

special back to back sessions. It’s a weird but wonderful<br />

thing to surf in NL (Netherlands), To get waves you need<br />

a storm but even with that, the geographical location in<br />

relation to the UK means one usually has to look for the<br />

exposed spots as the swell gets blocked. That day was<br />

epic cause not only did it allow enough swell, but there<br />

were certain windows where the wind would switch and<br />

come in from behind the wall allowing almost oil glass<br />

conditions when there were 120 km/h gust coming through<br />

almost giving the illusion of being in a wave garden.<br />

Did you plan to surf in the Port of Amsterdam<br />

or was it a spare of the moment thing?<br />

Well, let’s just call it the port of skiffa to pay respect haha.<br />

But yeah, I know it was way blown out everywhere else but<br />

I wanted to surf... the drive from where I was isn’t short so<br />

I almost gave up until one of the boys told me they think<br />

it could be all time. So, I jumped in the car and got there<br />

2 hours before dark and surfed all the way through. Well<br />

worth it to say the least.<br />

What is the surfing community like in general in<br />

the Netherlands?<br />

Honestly... Like everywhere else. Might sound shitty, but<br />

you have the cool cats, the kooks, the legends, the wanna<br />

be’s, the brands, the anti-brand and everything in between.<br />

Although what blows me away every time I come here and<br />

what is truly different, is that when its 5 degrees, 1 foot and<br />

gale-force winds, there will be 50-100 people in the water<br />

(guys and girls) from all different levels out there doing this<br />

sh*t... The commitment is real...<br />

Where do you guys usually surf and how often?<br />

By far the main surf scene is in Scheveningen (Den Haag).<br />

It’s the most consistent spot and when I was living here I<br />

could surf 2-4 times a week on average if I was ultra amped<br />

and would use a longboard. I have had amazing surfs at all<br />

the different spots, but Scheveningen is still my favourite to<br />

have some fun rip bowls.<br />

5 degrees, 1 foot<br />

and gale-force<br />

winds, there will<br />

be 50-100 people<br />

in the water (guys<br />

and girls) from<br />

all different levels<br />

out there doing<br />

this shit... The<br />

commitment is<br />

real...


photos: Sophia Gaugerica Steevensz<br />

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55 / #50 / SB


Sumbawa Periscopes<br />

Water baby<br />

words: jimmy ellis<br />

Looking for waves back in 1972<br />

For those of us lucky enough to live in Australia<br />

and New Zealand finding our way to the waves has<br />

always been a relatively easy affair.<br />

For surfers in other parts of the world, the same<br />

cannot be said.<br />

While surfing was blooming in Australia in the<br />

1970s, in Peru it was a different story altogether.<br />

The Peruvian surfing spirit was present – with<br />

a group of about 70 surfers riding the waves<br />

consistently, yet the economic conditions made it<br />

difficult for them to travel.<br />

In the 1980s, Peru faced one of its worst economic<br />

crises and fell into civil war. Chronic inflation driven<br />

by political change and the devastation of droughts<br />

and floods brought on by the El Niño phenomenon<br />

saw 55% of Peruvians living in poverty in 1989, and<br />

the average annual income of Peruvians falling to<br />

between AU$100-$500.<br />

In 1990, things began to change. Economic<br />

growth driven by the liberal economic reforms of<br />

a new government and an end to terrorism helped<br />

to improve employment, wages, infrastructure<br />

spending and quality of life.<br />

Along the coast of Peru, the lucky surfers who had<br />

made a life for themselves working and surfing in<br />

the 1990s had been quietly living the best years of<br />

their life. It was in these times that Chiara Guidino<br />

Bruce and her bothers Luciano, Fabio and Talia<br />

were born into a surfing family in Punta Hermosa,<br />

Peru.<br />

For Chiara, the ocean became her life, both as a<br />

passionate surfer and an academic.<br />

“My dad started surfing when he was young. He<br />

and his friends started searching for new places<br />

to surf in Peru. At that point very few waves were<br />

known in the coast of Peru,” Chiara said. “That’s<br />

how he arrived at Los Organos - an incredible place<br />

up north in Peru, where there was only sand, dust,<br />

waves and amazing biodiversity - despite being<br />

located in the middle of the desert.<br />

“I started surfing when I was 10-years-old. I was<br />

lucky that I always knew what my passion was, as I<br />

grew up close to the ocean. So, I decided to study<br />

marine biology, and my journey began.”<br />

Chiara’s passion for all things marine allowed her<br />

to craft a life of travelling, surfing, and studying.<br />

Marine Biology was a new subject of study in Peru<br />

and Chiara got in at the ground level.<br />

“I was part of the first class of marine biologists in<br />

Peru at the Universidad Cientifica del Sur, where I<br />

now work as a professor and research associate.<br />

So, I knew that I was going to have to make my<br />

path, to actually work and live as a marine biologist<br />

in Peru.<br />

“As a student in Peru I started volunteering up<br />

north for a company called Pacifico Adventures,<br />

doing research and as a guide on whale watching<br />

trips, this is when I knew about my passion for<br />

cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises).<br />

“That’s why in my university years I volunteered<br />

in a cetacean Museum in South of Argentina, in a<br />

beautiful place called Tierra del Fuego. I also spent<br />

an entire summer volunteering in the Galapagos<br />

National Park, where I had the opportunity to<br />

travel to all the islands researching cetaceans and<br />

occasionally surfing.<br />

“With all of this experience I decided to study my<br />

masters abroad,” Chiara said.<br />

Chiara went on to study for a Masters’ Degree in<br />

Marine Science and Management in Sydney, while<br />

her brother Fabio was living in Margaret River, WA.<br />

“Whist continuing my masters, I visited Australia<br />

and Indonesia and travelled around.”<br />

After an extended stay in Australia Chiara returned<br />

to Peru to try and make a living as a marine<br />

biologist in her own country. It was in Peru that<br />

she met her future husband, Raul. After they were<br />

married, and the birth of their daughter Lara (who<br />

began surfing at 2), Chiara joined a local NGO<br />

Prodelphinus, where she worked with artisanal<br />

fisheries.<br />

Chiara’s focus was on the bycatch problem of<br />

small and large cetaceans that exists in Peru. She<br />

also started working as a professor and research<br />

associate in Cientifica del Sur University where she<br />

continues to work today.<br />

Chiara said she and her family had been traveling<br />

and surfing when they can, although they were<br />

forced into a no surfing lockdown for six months<br />

during 2020.<br />

While surfing has now returned to Peruvian<br />

beaches, the political climate has become delicate<br />

and in June 2021, Peru hit the voting booths in the<br />

latest democratic election.<br />

Chiara said what came next for them was not clear:<br />

“Peru, as a nation, has been severely impacted<br />

by the Covid 19 pandemic. And now, radical<br />

communism is on the verge to take over political<br />

power in Peru. Therefore, the economic situation in<br />

Peru is very unstable.<br />

“The rural population in Peru is tired of corrupt<br />

politicians stealing the government money. So,<br />

half of the country is voting for communism, as<br />

they want change. But communism hasn’t worked<br />

economically speaking, in any of other Latin<br />

American countries.<br />

“Community sentiment is agreeable that in Latin<br />

American countries, communism puts people’s<br />

dreams into the shadows and blurs the line of<br />

governance to feel like the community is being<br />

controlled. These clouds are looming in over<br />

our freedom.” Chiara said she and Raul are now<br />

seriously considering their options around where<br />

best to settle and raise their two young girls – with<br />

a possible move to Canada high on the list.<br />

Stay tuned.<br />

SB / #50 / 56


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SB / #50 / 58


picture<br />

Por<br />

perfect<br />

ugal<br />

words: dave swan<br />

800km of coastline, incredible surf breaks of all descriptions, beautiful sandy<br />

beaches and whitewashed villages with cobblestone streets perched atop dramatic<br />

end-of-the-world cliffs. There are not enough superlatives to describe Portugal. Ohh,<br />

and then there’s craggy mountaintop castles set amidst misty woodlands, stunningly<br />

preserved palaces and magnificent monasteries that rise above quaint medieval towns.<br />

That should start to paint the picture now.<br />

To put it in simple terms, your eyes and mouth will be agape with astonishment at the sheer beauty of Portugal.<br />

There’s so much history, so much culture and oh so much surf, you simply have to make it your next surf trip<br />

destination when all this COVID 19 bullsh*t subsides.<br />

I often use introductory paragraphs such as this to set the scene for the story to unfold - to paint a picture and<br />

describe a destination we have visited in all its glory. In this case however, all I could do is list some of the sights<br />

we saw. I was lost for words, and I am never lost for words. I can crap on about almost anything, but I had<br />

severe writer’s block approaching this story. The reason for my trepidation was that so much to say about the<br />

country. I didn’t know where to start and I was ever mindful of leaving something out.<br />

No matter where I go, or whatever corners of the globe I traverse, nothing diminishes my love for Australia. If<br />

there was one place however, that I could consider living outside of Australia, it would be Portugal. No wonder<br />

the locals cry, “Esta é a ditosa Pátria minha amada” (This is my blissful beloved homeland).<br />

Esta é a ditosa Pátria<br />

minha amada<br />

59 / #50 / SB


Esta é a ditosa Pátria minha amada<br />

Nazare in all her glory<br />

Those fortunate enough to visit Europe are fully<br />

aware there is so much history, so many historical<br />

monuments, so much beautiful scenery, and equally<br />

beautiful people, along with delicious food and<br />

wine. The only problem is, in the main, it is frightfully<br />

expensive.<br />

When I visited Europe in my early twenties, I pretty<br />

much kissed goodbye to ever returning unless I<br />

became a millionaire. I just couldn’t envisage ever<br />

going back with several kids in tow. I mean, mine<br />

is a family of five – that’s two rooms wherever you<br />

go. You do the maths - even in Australia it costs a<br />

fortune to travel with our crew.<br />

Well, all those thoughts went out the window in<br />

October 2019 when my son Sam and good mate<br />

Alec Franklin were invited over to one of the most<br />

renowned football clubs in Portugal.<br />

I mean what’s money anyhow? I was confident I<br />

could get a good price for my kidney… maybe not<br />

so much for my liver but my kidney was definitely<br />

worth a dollar. Anyhow, where there is a will, there<br />

is a way, and like or not my wife Katie and I were<br />

coming up with the money. Anyhow I digress, back<br />

to Portugal.<br />

The boys were basically given a couple of weeks<br />

notice to get their asses over to OS Belenenses<br />

in Lisbon (what a football club!). It wasn’t until the<br />

death knell I was informed I needed to chaperone<br />

them.<br />

With so much work on, I couldn’t conceive how I<br />

could do it. Thanks to Mark (my mate and Horse &<br />

Water / <strong>Smorgasboarder</strong> business partner) and the<br />

team however, I was told I couldn’t pass up such an<br />

opportunity and was promptly pushed out the door.<br />

I am so grateful they did. You have to take the time,<br />

and make sacrifices, to experience life, and looking<br />

back, I was so very lucky to do so.<br />

With such short notice, and the fact I wasn’t<br />

initially going with Sam and Alec, I didn’t have<br />

time to read up on Portugal. And that just added<br />

to the adventure! Indeed, every time I HAVEN’T<br />

researched a place, I have enjoyed it so much more.<br />

I guess there is no expectation.<br />

SB / #50 / 60


61 / #50 / SB


You owe it<br />

to your eyes.<br />

Barz Optics developed their initial surfing<br />

sunglass / goggle in the mid 90’s — since then<br />

they have developed a further six eyewear styles<br />

for surfing.<br />

Barz latest model the Kiama has a convertible<br />

frame so it can be worn as normal sunglasses<br />

without the back strap or when the strap is added<br />

it’s ideal for surfing, jet skiing, ocean paddling,<br />

SUP paddling and sailing.<br />

The Kiama frame is fitted with a polarised amber<br />

lens which heightens the wearers vision in both<br />

bright and low light while offering the eyes<br />

maximum protection.<br />

Ideal for protecting the eyes from glare, salt and<br />

spray while surfing and the protecting the eyes<br />

from pterigium growth.<br />

The Kiama can also be fitted with prescription<br />

lenses for those who are optically challenged.<br />

The frame is built in three parts to firstly create air<br />

cells within the frame temples and nose piece —<br />

this allows the glasses to float in both fresh and<br />

salt water.<br />

The nose piece and temple tips are non slip.<br />

Each pair is supplied with a leash that keeps the<br />

glasses close to the chest if the frame has been<br />

ripped off the wearer head in the surf.<br />

lay<br />

of the land<br />

Portugal is basically a big rectangle. The longest<br />

north-south distance is 561 km and widest eastwest<br />

distance 218 km.<br />

To travel from one end of the country to the<br />

other, north to south, takes around 6 hours. East<br />

to west is just under two hours. So, traversing<br />

the country by car is relatively easy. The longest<br />

trip is the equivalent of driving from Caloundra<br />

down to Crescent Head - easy peasy! On my<br />

regular <strong>Smorgasboarder</strong> road trips down I<br />

considered this stretch to be “just around the<br />

corner from home”.<br />

Do not let this fool you however. Driving on the<br />

other side of the road (particularly in a manual),<br />

at their speed limits, with so much scenery to<br />

take in and so many places to stop, it is quite<br />

exhausting. I thought I would cover any trip<br />

within Portugal with ease but I struggled at<br />

times. Maybe it’s because I am getting old but<br />

driving for more than two-three hours over there<br />

really hit me.<br />

With that said, the major highways and roads in<br />

Portugal are absolutely top notch. 20 years ago<br />

the roads were reportedly some of the worst in<br />

Europe but now, thanks to their inclusion in the<br />

European Union, they are said to be among the<br />

best on the continent.<br />

But enough of the roads, what of the beaches<br />

and the surf? Well, we will get into this in more<br />

detail a little later on but let’s just say the amount<br />

of waves, and the variety of waves is immense.<br />

Portugal is divided into regions, each offering<br />

unique features, scenery, history and cuisine.<br />

From south to north they are: Algarve, Alentejo,<br />

Lisbon and Lisbon Coast, Estremadura and<br />

Ribatejo, the Beiras, Douro and Tras-os-Montes<br />

and the Minho.<br />

Portugal also includes two island groups: the<br />

Azores (800 miles southwest of Lisbon) and<br />

Madeira (600 miles south of Lisbon).<br />

We were fortunate enough to explore five of<br />

these regions this time around (note – we plan to<br />

return!)<br />

Available at good surf shops or at<br />

www.barzoptics.com<br />

11/4 Leda Drive Burleigh Heads Qld 4220.<br />

Phone +61 755764365<br />

SB / #50 / 62


where<br />

is it exactly?<br />

MINHO<br />

SPAIN<br />

TRAS-OS-MONTES<br />

Portugal is located on the western end of the<br />

Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. Its<br />

bordered to the west and south by the Atlantic<br />

Ocean and to the north and east by Spain.<br />

Its territories also include the volcanic island<br />

archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira in the<br />

Macaronesia region of the North Atlantic Ocean.<br />

In total, the country occupies an area of 92,090<br />

square kilometres - an area slightly larger than<br />

Tasmania but smaller than the North Island of<br />

New Zealand.<br />

Interestingly, its border with Spain is still in<br />

dispute to this day. Portugal does not recognise<br />

the border between the Caia and Riberia de<br />

Cuncos River deltas. This territory, including<br />

the town of Olivenza, though under de facto<br />

Spanish occupation, remains a de jure (legally<br />

recognised) part of Portugal.<br />

NAZARE<br />

PENICHE<br />

ERICEIRA<br />

PORTO<br />

ESTREMADURA<br />

DOURO<br />

PORTUGAL<br />

BEIRAS<br />

CASCAIS<br />

RIBATEJO<br />

SPAIN<br />

PORTUGAL<br />

LISBON<br />

ALTO<br />

ALENTEJO<br />

ATLANTIC<br />

OCEAN<br />

BAIXO<br />

ALENTEJO<br />

EUROPE<br />

ALGARVE<br />

AFRICA<br />

FARO<br />

63 / #50 / SB


With so much history, where do you start?<br />

Portugal is the oldest nation state on the Iberian<br />

Peninsula and one of the oldest in Europe. Indeed,<br />

the oldest human fossil is the skull of Homo<br />

heidelbergensis discovered in the Cave of Aroeira in<br />

Almonda in central Portugal.<br />

Portugal’s territory has been continuously settled,<br />

invaded and fought over since prehistoric times.<br />

So, with so much ground to cover, consider the<br />

following akin to a speed dating rundown of<br />

Portuguese history.<br />

During the first millennium BC, various waves of<br />

Celts from central Europe invaded and interbred<br />

with the various ethnic groups that inhabited<br />

the area, such as the Lusitanians, Turduli,<br />

Oestriminis and Cynetes. Phoenicians and<br />

Carthaginians would later visit the area, along<br />

with the Ancient Greeks and set up small trading<br />

settlements on the southern coast of the Algarve.<br />

In 219 BC, the Romans attacked the Iberian<br />

Peninsula and for the next 200 years the region<br />

was annexed to the Roman Empire. The Romans<br />

were responsible for building many of the bridges,<br />

temples, roads and public baths, which are still<br />

visible to this day.<br />

Following the fall of Rome at the start of the 5th<br />

century, Germanic tribes such as the Suebi and<br />

most notably the Visigoths came onto the scene.<br />

Under the Visigoths a new class emerged, namely<br />

a nobility, which played a tremendous social and<br />

political role. As the Visigoths did not speak Latin,<br />

the Catholic Bishops also held sway and it was up to<br />

them to continue the Roman system of governance.<br />

It was there and then the clergy started to emerge as<br />

a high-ranking class.<br />

In 711, the Visigoths were vanquished by the Islamic<br />

Moors comprising of Berbers from North Africa and<br />

Arabs from the Middle East. The Moors advanced<br />

right through Iberia (present day Portugal and<br />

Spain) and into France. The territory was renamed<br />

Al-Andalus. The Moors reigned supreme with the<br />

region under Islamic rule for the next 500 years.<br />

Portugal as a country, was established during the<br />

early Reconquista. The Reconquista in effect was<br />

the taking back of these lands by the Christian<br />

Visigoths from the Islamic Moors.<br />

some<br />

history<br />

Vasco da Gama<br />

The County of Portugal, containing present day<br />

Porto, was founded in 868. It was established under<br />

King Alfonso 111 of Asturias. This region however,<br />

in turn, became part of the Kingdom of Leon. Then,<br />

even though it was a vassal of the Kingdom of Leon,<br />

Portugal grew in power and territory to such an extent<br />

that they eventually broke away when a Burgundian<br />

knight called Henry became count of Portugal and<br />

defended its independence, merging the County of<br />

Portugal with the County of Coimbra. Henry’s son<br />

Afonso Henriques went on to be crowned the first<br />

King of Portugal in 1139.<br />

The Algarve, in Portugal’s south, was the last<br />

remaining region still held by the Moors. It too was<br />

taken back in 1249. Portugal’s land boundaries have<br />

remained unchanged since. In 1255, Lisbon became<br />

the nation’s capital.<br />

In the 15th and 16th centuries, a period known as<br />

the Middle Ages, Portugal established the first global<br />

maritime and commercial empire. It became one of<br />

the world’s major economic, political and military<br />

powers.<br />

Portugal ascended to the status of a world power<br />

in this period coined ‘Europe’s Age of Discovery’<br />

building up a vast empire by way of its seafaring<br />

prowess (think of names like Ferdinand Magellan<br />

and Vasco da Gama). The Portugese empire<br />

comprised of lands in South America, Africa, Asia,<br />

and the Oceania region. Indeed, Portugese is<br />

still the official language of ten countries to this<br />

very day: Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, Guinea-<br />

Bissau, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Macau,<br />

Cape Verde, Sao Tome and Principe.<br />

Over the following two centuries Portugal lost<br />

most of its wealth thanks to the Dutch, English<br />

and French who took an increasing share of the<br />

spice and slave trades. A massive earthquake in<br />

1755, that destroyed most of Lisbon, along with<br />

occupation during the Napoleonic Wars and the<br />

loss of its largest colony Brazil, who proclaimed<br />

independence in 1822, erased Portugal’s prior<br />

opulence to a great extent.<br />

Then a mass exodus from the mid 19th century<br />

through to the 1950s saw nearly two million<br />

Portuguese leave the country to take up residence in<br />

Brazil and the United States.<br />

In 1910, a revolution deposed the monarchy<br />

followed by a military coup in 1926, installing a<br />

dictatorship that remained in place until 1974. A new<br />

government ensued which introduced sweeping<br />

democratic reforms that also granted independence<br />

to all of Portugal’s African colonies in 1975. In 1999,<br />

Portugal’s handover of Macau to China marked the<br />

end to one of the longest-lived colonial empires.<br />

Today Portugal is a member of the United Nations<br />

and the European Union. It is ranked amongst the<br />

top 20 countries in the world for democracy, moral<br />

freedom, peacefulness, stability and social progress.<br />

The country has had a profound cultural, architectural<br />

and linguistic influence across the world with over<br />

250 million people speaking Portuguese.<br />

SB / #50 / 64


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what’s<br />

good about the place<br />

People<br />

Let’s face it, scenery is important but if the people<br />

who reside there are tossers, you soon grow pretty<br />

tired of a place. I loved the people.<br />

Portugal is beautiful, the people are beautiful and<br />

most importantly, their demeanour is beautiful.<br />

Outside of perhaps the Kiwis and Canadians, the<br />

Portugese are not dissimilar to Aussies. They are<br />

down to earth, easy going, easy to talk to and helpful<br />

- nothing ever seemed too much trouble.<br />

Proximity<br />

Like I said in the Lay of the Land, everything is so<br />

close and easy to get to. You can near explore the<br />

whole country in a series of day trips, although to do<br />

it justice I would recommend it best to base yourself<br />

in the Algarve for a little while (south), Lisbon for a<br />

little while (central) and then Porto (north).<br />

Climate<br />

Portugal’s climate is mainly Mediterranean. The<br />

southern regions are dry and sunny with warm/hot<br />

summers and mild/rainy winters. Traveling north, the<br />

weather certainly becomes a little cooler, windier,<br />

wilder and wetter, especially in winter. Think of<br />

Nazare and you get the picture. Snow is possible in<br />

the mountains of the northeast.<br />

Overall, Portugal enjoys an enviable climate which<br />

explains why it’s so popular with northern Europeans.<br />

It reportedly has the highest amount of sunshine in<br />

Europe.<br />

Surf<br />

There really are waves of all descriptions for surfers<br />

of all abilities from nice little sliders through to the<br />

vertically insane – the world’s biggest wave was<br />

recorded at Nazare in Portugal’s North – 100ft!<br />

SB / #50 / 66


Ponte 25 de Abril (Bridge), Lisbon<br />

Porto<br />

Joao, Carlos, Alec and Sam<br />

pastel de nata<br />

Food, wine and beer… of course!<br />

With a coastline of 943 kms, it’s not surprising<br />

seafood is front and center in Portuguese cuisine.<br />

It’s said that there is a cod dish, dried and fresh,<br />

for each day of the year.<br />

Other than seafood expect beautiful freshly<br />

baked bread, olives, cheese, red wine or crisp<br />

vinho verde (young wine) and loads of smoked<br />

meats. The ultimate however are their pastel de<br />

nata (custard tarts) with the recipe to the delicacy<br />

dating back some 300 years. And don’t think any<br />

old custard tart – these things are friggin amazing!<br />

I have always had a soft spot for a good tart!<br />

As for the wine, Portugese varietals are now<br />

considered some of the best quality and value in<br />

the whole of Europe, if not the world. Grapes<br />

of many varieties are grown throughout<br />

Portugal. The wines from the Dao region are<br />

among the finest reds. The white wines of the<br />

region north of Porto feature the delightful<br />

Vinho Verde I mentioned earlier - a light,<br />

refreshing and slightly effervescent tipple.<br />

And then there is of course their port, for<br />

which they are famous and the town of Porto<br />

is where this style of fortified wine originated.<br />

In the 17th century British merchants added<br />

brandy to wine to prevent it from souring in<br />

transit. Port was born.<br />

Imagine what<br />

I could find<br />

if I actually<br />

knew what<br />

I was doing<br />

or where I<br />

needed to<br />

go.<br />

And now for my favourite, beer! The two main<br />

stream beers are close to 100 years old with<br />

Super Bock and Sagres founded in 1927 and 1934<br />

respectively. I liked them both, particularly in their<br />

throw-down style mini bottles that fit into the palm<br />

of your hand.<br />

The craft beer scene has also been steadily<br />

growing since around 2013. I encountered some<br />

crackers at my local Pingo Doce supermarket (akin<br />

to a Coles or Woolies). Imagine what I could find if<br />

I actually knew what I was doing or where I needed<br />

to go. I have since read that Mafra is the place<br />

to go for craft beers, so I will be most certainly<br />

visiting there next time.<br />

Football<br />

That’s what we were there for and the Portugese<br />

youth development programs are some of the best<br />

in the world with the discipline instilled exceptional.<br />

OS Belenenses, where the boys trained for close to<br />

two months, is the oldest club in Portugal founded<br />

on the 23rd of September, 1919. The experience<br />

was unforgettable.<br />

Alec and Sam arrive at OS Belenenses<br />

67 / #50 / SB


waves<br />

Where do you start?<br />

BOM!<br />

I didn’t get a chance to fully research Portugal<br />

before we left so I knew there was surf, I just didn’t<br />

know there was the variety, quantity and quality that<br />

there was. The area enjoys strong Atlantic swells<br />

that zero in on right-hand point breaks along with<br />

punchy, predominantly left-hand beach breaks. The<br />

lack of continental shelf accentuates the power of<br />

the waves. Water temps range from 15-18 degrees.<br />

69 / #50 / SB


caravelos<br />

A number of points in this stretch of craggy<br />

coastline hold waves perfect for stand up<br />

paddleboarders through to longboarders and<br />

shortboarders. The main break is a righthander that<br />

can hold a big swell on its day – up to 10ft.<br />

Best conditions are the same as Caravelos<br />

essentially with it being the same stretch of<br />

coastline.<br />

size<br />

Up to 10ft<br />

best waves<br />

Sept-Nov<br />

estoril<br />

SB / #50 / 70


This was my home break just down the road from where we stayed at the Wanderlust Hostel. It<br />

was around a 20 minute scenic drive along the coast from the Belenenses Football Club in Belem.<br />

Carcavelos essentially is a fun little beach break that on its day can pack some punch, and I mean<br />

PUNCH! It was great for boards of all descriptions – smaller days suited to a midlength, egg or<br />

longboard, and on the punchy days my personal board of choice would be a mini-simmons – plenty<br />

of float and paddle power to get on a wave with the shortness of the board allowing you to tuck in<br />

when you need to.<br />

Waves range in height 2-8ft. All tides. A straight southwest swell usually delivers the most favourable<br />

conditions. Sept-Nov best waves.<br />

Incidentally, there were a number of unnamed breaks between Carcavelos and Belem that in the right<br />

conditions held cracking little right-hand peelers.<br />

size<br />

Range in height 2-8ft<br />

best waves Sept-Nov<br />

A number of points in this stretch of craggy<br />

coastline hold waves perfect for stand up<br />

paddleboarders through to longboarders<br />

and shortboarders. The main break is a<br />

righthander that can hold a big swell on its<br />

day – up to 10ft.<br />

Best conditions are the same as Caravelos<br />

essentially with it being the same stretch of<br />

coastline.<br />

ascais<br />

Considered the Portugese Riviera and just west of<br />

the Portugese capital Lisbon, Cascais is known for<br />

its sandy beaches, bustling shops and cafes and<br />

busy marina. The marina and surrounding waters<br />

have played host to numerous qualifying series for<br />

the America’s Cup Yacht Race. Another interesting<br />

fact is the Casino Estoril in Cascais inspired Ian<br />

Fleming’s first James Bond novel Casino Royale.<br />

Praia do Guincho, just around the corner from the<br />

village of Cascais is a stunning kilometre long beach<br />

that holds quality beachies and a nice right that<br />

peels off the nearby cliffs. It is best in the mornings<br />

before the wind gets into it. Mellow in summer it can<br />

get damn right nasty in winter and holds some size.<br />

size<br />

Range in height 2-8ft<br />

best waves<br />

For Praia do Guincho Apr-Sept<br />

(pictured)<br />

71 / #50 / SB


ericeira<br />

size<br />

2-12ft<br />

best waves<br />

Dec-Feb<br />

Ribeira d’Ilhas<br />

Ericeira is a cool little surf town along the Atlantic<br />

Coast. It’s home to Coxos and Ribeira d’Ilhas,<br />

which are absolutely wicked right hand breaks with<br />

the later resembling Bells Beach.<br />

Coxos is considered the best wave in Portugal and<br />

can hold quality up to 12ft, just be careful of the<br />

sharp rock ledge it breaks onto full of those spikey<br />

little sea urchins.<br />

Ribeira is very consistent, much like Bells, and<br />

has rideable surf under a range of swell and wind<br />

conditions when the various other breaks in the<br />

area aren’t on.<br />

Waves range in height 2-12ft. A northwest her is<br />

best during Dec-Feb.<br />

There are so many cool surf shops in town most<br />

notably 58 Surf who partnered with Billabong to<br />

open its flagship store. It’s around 1,000 square<br />

meters in total and used environmentally friendly<br />

materials such as cork and wood in the build. It is<br />

not only a massive retail space there is also a guest<br />

shaping bay in the centre of the store, a Nixon<br />

Custom Bar, where one can customise their watch,<br />

there’s an awesome cafe inside as well as a micro<br />

brewery Tails. Needless to say, I was in heaven.<br />

SB / #50 / 72


73 / #50 / SB


peniche<br />

size<br />

Range in height 2-8ft<br />

best waves<br />

Dec-Feb<br />

Is home to Supertubos, a powerful, hollow, predominantly left-hand barrel that is<br />

considered one of the best beach breaks in Europe on its day. The further north<br />

along the coast you go, the colder the water gets.<br />

Waves range in height 2-8ft. Low to mid tide is best. A southwest swell delivers<br />

the most favourable conditions. Dec-Feb best waves.<br />

SB / #50 / 74


Gabriel Medina at Peniche<br />

Surfs like Gabriel Medina, Dave, Alec and Sam<br />

75 / #50 / SB


n a z<br />

SB / #50 / 76


77 / #50 / SB<br />

a r e


nazare<br />

Vantage point - Fortress Sao Miguel Arcanjo<br />

Oh my goodness, this place just scares the crap out<br />

of me. Good to see but I have absolutey no intention<br />

of surfing it though because I am not keen to die.<br />

The dark, deep, cold water and the friggin’ insanely<br />

massive walls of water fill my pants just looking at it.<br />

Nazare and more specifically Praia do Norte (North<br />

Beach), is home to the biggest surfable waves on<br />

the planet. Indeed, the biggest wave ever ridden<br />

was by Garrett McNamara here at Nazare on the<br />

28th January, 2013. The wave measured 100ft from<br />

trough to peak.<br />

As to how Nazare delivers waves of such size, it<br />

is thanks to a 230km long underwater canyon that<br />

runs near all the way to the lighthouse the sits atop<br />

the steep cliff overlooking the break. It essentially<br />

acts like a funnel. The cold North Atlantic swell<br />

surges along the canyon from a depth of up to<br />

5000m and then instantly doubles the wave above<br />

as it nears the coastline, displacing a phenomenal<br />

body of water.<br />

You can surf on the southern side of the Farol de<br />

Nazaré (red lighthouse) at the Praia de Nazaré - a<br />

long sandy beach that skirts the edge of the town. It<br />

too scared the crap out of me when I saw it. I mean<br />

how many nice little peaky beach breaks do you<br />

know that can hold swell ranging from 3-20ft.<br />

SB / #50 / 78


Farol da Nazare (red lighthouse)<br />

sits 164ft above sea level.<br />

160ft<br />

120ft<br />

80ft<br />

40ft<br />

Surf Museum<br />

Veado Statue<br />

size<br />

Ridiculous.<br />

Often 56ft (20m), up to 100ft (30m)<br />

best waves<br />

Dec - Feb<br />

79 / #50 / SB


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SB / #50 / 80


more<br />

places to see<br />

Other than surf spots, there’s a host of medieval villages<br />

and the like to visit. The following are the best parts we have<br />

soon so far (Note again – we plan to return).<br />

Lisbon City<br />

(Chiado, Baixa, Alfama)<br />

The picturesque labyrinth of narrow streets, small<br />

squares and ornate buildings in Alfama somehow<br />

avoided the massive earthquake in 1755 and are<br />

some of the oldest in Lisbon. Landmarks include<br />

the medieval Castle of Sao Jorge, the royal<br />

residence until the early 16th century, the Lisbon<br />

Cathedral (12-14th centuries) and the baroque<br />

Church of Santa Engrácia (17th century). Baixa on<br />

the other hand features neoclassical architecture,<br />

built after the 1755 earthquake, such as that<br />

surrounding Commerce and Rossio squares.<br />

Baixa is Lisbon’s commercial center and bustling<br />

pedestrianized streets are lined with traditional<br />

seafood restaurants and souvenir shops. And<br />

Chiado too has many important cultural landsmarks<br />

and is also renowned for its luxury shopping. All are<br />

a must see.<br />

81 / #50 / SB


Belem Tower<br />

Sintra<br />

Belem<br />

Famed as a museum district and the<br />

home of many of the most notable<br />

monuments in Portugal such as the<br />

Belém Tower, the Jerónimos Monastery,<br />

the Padrão dos Descobrimentos, and<br />

Belém Palace (official residence of the<br />

President of Portugal). It also happens<br />

to be where the boys played football at<br />

Os Belenenses. The name of the club<br />

translates in English to the “The ones<br />

from Belém”.<br />

Cristo Rei<br />

Standing at 110m and overlooking the<br />

city of Lisbon from a clifftop, it is hard<br />

not to be impressed by this statue of<br />

Christ which was inspired by the Christ<br />

the Redeemer statue of Rio de Janeiro,<br />

in Brazil. Work commenced on the Cristo<br />

Rei in December 1949 in reverence for<br />

Portugal avoiding the horrors of World<br />

War 2.<br />

Sintra<br />

What is it about medieval towns atop<br />

mountain ranges shrouded in mist? The<br />

historic center called the Vila de Sintra is<br />

famous for its 19th-century Romanticist<br />

architecture, historic estates, gardens,<br />

royal palaces and castles. It’s landmarks<br />

include the mediaeval Castelo dos<br />

Mouros (Castle of the Moors), one of the<br />

most awe inspiring castles I have ever<br />

seen, and Pena Palace.<br />

Cabo da Roca<br />

Also known as Cape Roca, it forms the<br />

westernmost point of the Sintra Mountain<br />

Range, of mainland Portugal, and of<br />

continental Europe. The cliff elevation is<br />

140m at its maximum and you have to<br />

love the guard rails which prescribe to<br />

the d*ckhead rule, which I have come to<br />

love. Basically it is a single post and rail<br />

pine fence. You go under the rail to take<br />

a selfie and the wind sweeps you off the<br />

cliff, you’re a d*ckhead. Your safety is<br />

your own responsibility and your stupidity<br />

is your own too.<br />

Porto<br />

The capital of the north, the home of<br />

port fortified wine and a city that in<br />

winter resembles a set from Pirates of<br />

the Carribean. I absolutely loved this<br />

place. Narrow cobbled streets in the<br />

medieval Ribeira (riverside) district wind<br />

past merchants’ houses and cafes. It is<br />

one of the oldest European centres and<br />

was proclaimed a World Heritage Site<br />

by UNESCO in 1996. The Ponte de Dom<br />

Luis I is the most famous of the several<br />

bridges that span the Duoro River in<br />

the centre of town. Built in 1886, it was<br />

designed by Téophile Seyrig, an engineer<br />

who worked with Gustave Eiffel.<br />

Benfica Stadium<br />

The Estádio da Luz in the heart of Lisbon<br />

is the home of premier Portuguese<br />

football club S.L. Benfica. It has a<br />

capacity of just over 64,000 and you<br />

simply have to witness a game here when<br />

in Portugal.<br />

SB / #50 / 82


Moorish Castle, Sintra<br />

Porto<br />

Cabo da Roca<br />

Porto<br />

Jeronimos Monastery, Belem<br />

83 / #50 / SB


where’s<br />

good to stay<br />

There are three places I can definitely recommend. They are where we stayed, each<br />

with different budgets and travelling party sizes in mind.<br />

Wanderlust House/<br />

Hostel Carcavelos<br />

It’s appeal can be summed up in four short<br />

words is, ‘It felt like home’. Indeed, it was Sam,<br />

Alec and my home for the first six weeks of our<br />

stay in Portugal. Huge fully equipped kitchen,<br />

dining room, living room, outdoor terrace,<br />

plenty of parking, 5 minutes drive down to the<br />

beach, comfortable bedrooms, shared bathroom<br />

(although some apartments come with their own)<br />

and at less than $50 a night it was incredible<br />

value. Best of all the owner David Costa, was<br />

as accommodating as one could be. Always so<br />

welcoming, helpful and up for a chat or to share<br />

some useful information about where to go and<br />

how to find our way around the area. I could not<br />

recommend this property more highly.<br />

Main appeal? Its comfortable, affordable<br />

and grocery stores, laundromats, cafes and<br />

restaurants are all within walking distance. It was<br />

a fantastic base for an extended stay in Portugal.<br />

Lisbon Serviced<br />

Apartments Baixa<br />

Chiado<br />

These contemporary, fully furnished apartments<br />

with up-to-date self-catering facilities are smack<br />

bang in the centre of the city. Baixa is considered<br />

the central, downtown area of Lisbon. The district<br />

is situated between the two hills of the Alfama<br />

and Chiado districts.<br />

We had a three-bedroom unit, each room with<br />

its own ensuite, along with a full size kitchen,<br />

refrigerator, dishwasher, washing machine etc.<br />

How on earth we could afford such a place was<br />

thanks to whatever magic Craig at Helloworld<br />

Kawana weaved.<br />

The apartments main appeal was its proximity.<br />

Everything was within walking distance, which<br />

was a bonus because car parking spaces were<br />

at a premium. The apartment was also just so<br />

friggin’ amazing.<br />

SB / #50 / 84


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these apartments are modern and comfortable with<br />

a fully equipped kitchen. The apartment comfortably<br />

accommodated all 5 of us with 2 bedrooms and a<br />

large double bed sofa in the living room.<br />

The apartments’ main appeal is its modern<br />

furnishings, cleanliness and proximity to Porto’s<br />

main attractions. Everything is within walking<br />

distance. We paid around $200 per night, which was<br />

incredible.<br />

85 / #50 / SB


gear<br />

50<br />

Neil oke<br />

Mitchell Rae<br />

50 <strong>edition</strong>s of <strong>Smorgasboarder</strong><br />

is not a bad achievement. to<br />

shape surfboards for over 50<br />

years however, that’s another<br />

level altogether. So, in this<br />

milestone <strong>edition</strong> of our mag,<br />

we thought it fitting to shine<br />

a light on four guys who have<br />

been an integral part of our<br />

mag through the last 10 years.<br />

All have clocked up 50 years<br />

on the planer, each with a<br />

slightly different approach to<br />

their profession.<br />

Jack Knight today plies his trade on the Gold<br />

Coast first learnt his craft watching the likes of Neil<br />

Purchase, Peter Cornish and Bob McTavish whilst<br />

working for famous Northern Beaches surf brands<br />

such as Keyo, Shane and Bennett Surfboards. It was<br />

an era of experimental designs but namely single fins<br />

and it would appear his shaping journey has now<br />

come full circle.<br />

Jack still crafts a mean performance shortboard<br />

under his label Jack Knight Surfboards, skills he<br />

honed shaping boards for 10 years under the feet<br />

of pro surfer Glen Winton, but it is the Harvest<br />

label he formed with son Aaron that is increasingly<br />

taking centre stage. Harvest’s focus is on beautifully<br />

handcrafted, bespoke, vintage-inspired boards.<br />

Single fins, twin fins, mid-lengths and logs are the<br />

order of the day and are tailored to suit a more<br />

graceful style of surfing with long drawn out carves.<br />

Harvest’s hallmark shape without doubt however is<br />

a channel bottom single fin that Jack learnt to craft<br />

in the 1970s from Jim Pollard, the board’s original<br />

inventor. Said Jack of the design, “The channelled<br />

bottom acts as an accelerator to give you speed and<br />

lift and acts like a hydrofoil to pull you through turns.<br />

It is a design that must be handshaped and can’t be<br />

replicated by a machine.”<br />

With everything handmade, Jack’s focus is on<br />

quality over quantity. He is a perfectionist at heart.<br />

Mitchell Rae of Outer Island Surfboards also hails<br />

from Sydney’s Northern Beaches, and like Jack,<br />

is firmly fixated on quality over quantity too. He is<br />

an artisan of the highest order creating boards that<br />

literally come alive like a living object by virtue of<br />

controlled flex. Mitchell explains his pursuit.<br />

“Living creatures change their shape and body<br />

position to perform different tasks. Fish can change<br />

SB / #50 / 86


cu<br />

gear<br />

l b<br />

Mark Rabbidge<br />

Jack Knight<br />

the shape of their fins in motion, altering aspect and<br />

shape while hunting prey, extending fins to change<br />

direction at high speed, flattening them down to<br />

reduce drag. Sea birds will extend their wings to<br />

soar, tuck them in to dive, extend them to perform<br />

a high-speed turn. I considered why a surfboard<br />

shouldn’t do the same? To me flex is the simplest<br />

way to give an inanimate object life.”<br />

Mitchell explains most surfboards have an amount of<br />

flex but it’s just not necessarily in the right place.<br />

“I’m looking to control the flex, put it where it<br />

belongs. A standard surfboard is based on a set<br />

of curves that remain constant, such as rocker,<br />

concave and vee. You can only surf what is possible<br />

with that fixed set of curves. That is the limitation of<br />

that design.<br />

“To me there are two distinct aspects I felt were<br />

integral to flex design: Variable curve and Reflex,<br />

or ‘spring back’. My boards are flexible forms that<br />

change shape whilst in motion, melding to the shape<br />

of the wave then releasing generating propulsion and<br />

drive. The acceleration generated is addictive.”<br />

Flextails, triple stringers, chambered balsa boards -<br />

the craft Mitchell creates are true works of art.<br />

Good friend Mark Rabbidge is another who hails<br />

from the Northern Beaches and is no stranger to<br />

the world of high-performance surfboards either.<br />

Through the years Mark has shaped boards for<br />

the likes Tom Curren and former world champ<br />

Pam Burridge, now his wife. His approach today<br />

is on crafting boards that are fun, that deliver that<br />

euphoric feeling of truly riding a wave.<br />

“I have been riding waves for over 60 years. I have<br />

spent about two years riding surfboards and the rest<br />

of the time riding waves.<br />

“Surfing to me is about feelings. It’s about that<br />

moment when you pull off the wave and go, ‘F*#k<br />

that felt unreal. That is what surfing is all about to<br />

me. So I create boards that emulate that feeling. And<br />

given that conditions vary from day to day, break<br />

to break, and ability from surfer to surfer, I craft<br />

boards to suit, and that means everything from 12ft<br />

gliders to shortboards, finless, asymmetricals and<br />

everything in between.<br />

“Many surfers who come to me say, ‘I want to feel<br />

a certain glide or I want to feel a rush.’ They want to<br />

feel something. And that’s what I strive to deliver.”<br />

Again, his board shaping skills are next level. He’s a<br />

freak and we love him.<br />

For Neil Oke of Oke Surfboards down in the southeastern<br />

Melbourne suburb of Braeside, the board<br />

building game has always been about family. Neil<br />

joined his brother Alan in his surfboard business at<br />

age 16. Not too many years later Neil lost his brother<br />

through the most tragic of circumstances. Despite<br />

the grief he soldiered on with the business. Through<br />

the course of time Neil’s sons have stepped into<br />

the business and have more or less taken over the<br />

reigns - Dan a deft glasser and Rory as head shaper.<br />

Neil or “Chok” as he is affectionately known takes<br />

more of a back seat. Says Rory (laughing), “Yeah, he<br />

just basically gets in the way nowadays.”<br />

That’s the Oke family for you. Constantly taking the<br />

piss out of one another, laughing, having fun and<br />

spreading the stoke for all and sundry who come into<br />

the factory. It’s why so many of their loyal customers<br />

consider themselves extended family.<br />

Despite the wry humour you can tell Neil is as proud<br />

as punch of his sons.<br />

“The boys get on really well and I am so proud of<br />

what they’re doing and how they are carrying the<br />

business forward. Rory has developed all these new<br />

shapes and Dan’s resin work is amazing.<br />

“As for the boards we make, well, we really do make<br />

everything. People rely on our expertise and we’re<br />

happy to be charged with that responsibility. We love<br />

them and want them to have a nice board.”<br />

As for us here at <strong>Smorgasboarder</strong>, we certainly love<br />

these four guys more than words. We can’t thank<br />

them enough for all their support of our humble little<br />

surf mag through the years.<br />

87 / #50 / SB


gear<br />

5’7” FISHY FISH 2.0<br />

5’7” x 20 1/2” x 2 5/8”<br />

Many years riding and shaping fishes to<br />

reach this model – one versatile enough<br />

to surf beaches as well as pointbreaks.<br />

More curve in the tail outline plus increased<br />

nose rocker incorporated with venturi<br />

style channels and a single to double<br />

concave make this board do just that and<br />

more. 100% hand crafted and glassed<br />

in flax + basalt with bio epoxy resins. 7<br />

years experience using these materials<br />

has resulted in the creation of my own<br />

techniques resulting in an extremely light<br />

and durable board that’s eco-friendly and<br />

registered with Sustainable Surf Project Eco<br />

Board. Custom and stock boards available.<br />

ROCKET ACE ECO-SURFBOARDS<br />

“The Happy Planet Surf Project”<br />

4/1 United Road, Ashmore, QLD<br />

E: rocketaceecosurfboards@gmail.com<br />

M: 0415 727 670<br />

Blue resin tint board<br />

7’2” x 22” x 3”<br />

single fin plus 2 side fins<br />

Rasta board<br />

8’2” x 23” x 3 1/4”<br />

thruster fins<br />

QUARRY BEACH<br />

SURFBOARDS<br />

75 David Street, Caversham,<br />

Dunedin, NZ<br />

P: +64 3 455 7414<br />

M: +64 27 518 8678<br />

E: grahamcarse@xtra.co.nz<br />

W: www.qbsurfboards.com<br />

6’6” x 20 1/2” x 2 5/8”<br />

1970’s curved channel bottom<br />

inspired by Jim Pollard designed<br />

to generate more speed without<br />

tracking.<br />

Classic Single Fin feel jazzed up<br />

with some more functional presentday<br />

elements.<br />

All boards are completely handshaped<br />

and customised to suit<br />

surfer ability and wave condition.<br />

5’10” x 20 7/8” x 2 3/4”<br />

36.3lts<br />

Retro twin. Heavy vee bottom with full<br />

rail edges, flyer n flutes<br />

She goes like a rocket!<br />

HARVEST SURFBOARDS<br />

2/24 Christine Ave, Miami, QLD<br />

P: (07) 5576 5914<br />

E: hello@harvestsurfboards.com<br />

M: harvestsurfboards.com<br />

THE DING KING /<br />

CLARK SURFBOARDS<br />

Units 7 & 8, 9 Chapman Road,<br />

Hackham, SA<br />

E: leightonclark01@yahoo.com.au<br />

M: 0422 443 789<br />

SB / #50 / 88


2021surf is free<br />

#50<br />

th<br />

<strong>edition</strong><br />

#50<br />

Wear it proud!<br />

Celebrate with us and show your support for the longest<br />

running little free surf mag in Australia and New Zealand.<br />

Order your merchandise online at<br />

www.smorgasboarder.com.au/shop<br />

SB / #50 / 90


gear<br />

1. LUXE<br />

A high performance twin fin with a<br />

flat deck... don’t be misled... these<br />

things are your new go to board<br />

and tweaked to suit your individual<br />

needs.<br />

2. GOGO FISH<br />

Once again... flat decked, high<br />

performance with all the go fast<br />

gear on board... turns the slop into<br />

a fun park or the good stuff up a<br />

notch.<br />

The Ultimate<br />

10’ x 24” x 3 3/8<br />

Ten foot of performance heaven.<br />

10’ x 24” x 3 3/8 built for tail surfing and<br />

endless noserides.<br />

Triple cedar with turquoise cutlaps<br />

Blank by Burford.<br />

Custom made surfboards Australia wide.<br />

NMC SURFBOARDS<br />

98-80 Sheepwash Rd,<br />

Barwon Heads, VIC<br />

M: 0438 800 539<br />

E: nmcsurf@bigpond.com<br />

3. SCHNAVALER<br />

My take on what you need to be a<br />

dynamo and compete against the<br />

rip or crowd. When you need that<br />

mid length to get in early but still<br />

want to surf tight in the pocket.<br />

The new pest in the line up that’ll<br />

get your stoke on... but don’t be<br />

greedy... caring is sharing.<br />

CHRIS GARRETT SHAPES<br />

/ PHANTOM SURFBOARDS<br />

M: 0424 450 690<br />

E: phantomsurfboards@gmail.com<br />

W: chrisgarrettshapes.com.au<br />

...custom is where it’s at and personal service is what I<br />

do best... I’ve plenty of skill to take you where you want<br />

to go... and beyond... you’ll give up your day job in no<br />

time... keep smiling and stay stoked.<br />

91 / #50 / SB


gear<br />

Open for fun, frivolity and a fair<br />

bit of boardmaking. The Surfer’s<br />

Shed is where Darren ‘Dicko’<br />

Dickson plies his trade. Tow<br />

boards, longboards, shortboards,<br />

old school, new school... You name<br />

it, we do it, along with some of the<br />

sweetest resin work and sprays<br />

you’ve seen.<br />

PINTAIL<br />

9’8” x 22 1/2”x 2 3/4”<br />

56 lts<br />

Built with styrofoam and epoxy<br />

resin.<br />

Light? It’s only 5.6 kg.<br />

Everybody is getting really heavy<br />

boards nowadays.<br />

I’m in to travelling light!<br />

DARREN DICKSON<br />

SURFBOARDS<br />

Shed 4, 10 Baines Cr, Torquay, VIC<br />

M: 0437 246 848<br />

E: dickosurf@gmail.com<br />

SHEELY CUSTOM MADE<br />

SURFBOARDS<br />

M: 0417 264 739<br />

DARKSIDE TWIN<br />

6’2” x 21 1/2” x 2 3’4”<br />

42 lts<br />

The darkside twin is designed for<br />

local conditions with speed and<br />

paddle power combined. Features<br />

are a flat rocker slight single to<br />

double concave to vee with the<br />

channels for a bit more grip and<br />

hold. Ride 3 to 4 inches smaller than<br />

your short board and add 15 %<br />

more volume.<br />

Super sweet strong custom<br />

surfboards for you.<br />

#sunset<br />

#tequilasunrise<br />

#custommade<br />

#faded<br />

#surfboard<br />

MR DAMAGE SURFBOARDS<br />

Shed 2, 44 Hill Street, Port Elliot, SA<br />

MARK BENSON SHAPES<br />

M: 0416 199 764<br />

E: nxtsurf@hotmail.com<br />

DIVERSE SURFBOARDS<br />

AUSTRALIA +61 419 246595<br />

BALI +62 812 37368771<br />

E: dave.verrall@gmail.com<br />

W: www.diversesurf.com.au


WORLD CLASS AUSTRALIAN MADE<br />

SURFBOARDS AT AFFORDABLE PRICES<br />

surfer_ Matt Mcleod<br />

pic by_ M Lester<br />

shaper_ D Burge<br />

Custom Shortboards<br />

Hybrid & Fishes<br />

Mals and Logs<br />

Factory 3/6 Kerta Rd, Kincumber NSW 2251<br />

M: 0415 577 085


F<br />

L<br />

A<br />

T<br />

H<br />

E<br />

A<br />

D<br />

the<br />

the<br />

Well it just could well be, in my humble<br />

opinion, the most revolutionary<br />

surfboard design to have ever graced the<br />

earth. This is a craft that paddles like a<br />

longboard, turns like a shortboard and<br />

doubles as a bulldozer. Its snub nose is<br />

able to clear any pesky bodyboarders or<br />

drop-ins with ease. Behold the mighty<br />

Flathead.<br />

Lovingly crafted from paulownia timber by the artisan hands of<br />

yours truly, it’s been many years in the making. Admittedly those<br />

‘many years’ have not necessarily been devoted to research and<br />

development, more so procrastination and consternation. My cause<br />

for concern was how I could improve something so perfect in the<br />

first place. I admit making it waterproof was a start and somewhat<br />

essential but there was no point being caught up with specifics.<br />

It all started back in 2015. I attended a wooden surfboard<br />

workshop held by the good folks at Tree to Sea down in Mt Eliza,<br />

Victoria. I said it then and I will say it again, it was one of the most<br />

special experiences I have ever undertaken. To make something<br />

from your own hands is such an unbelievably gratifying experience,<br />

let alone when you discover the innate board building skills that I<br />

quite clearly possess.<br />

Back then Rob, Gary and Darren taught you how to make<br />

boards by way of a hollow wooden construction similar to boat<br />

building techniques (nowadays their focus is still on building an<br />

environmentally friendly surfboard, it is just a little more high tech<br />

and involves vacuum bagging a paulownia timber skin to a recycled<br />

EPS foam blank). I enlisted in a three-day course and undertook it<br />

with seven other wooden surfboard enthusiasts. The friendly banter<br />

we shared and the comradery is something that will forever be<br />

etched in my memory.<br />

After the course is complete you essentially have a surfboard that<br />

is 95% complete. All you have to do when on your return home is<br />

apply a few coats of marine varnish, sand between each coat, stick<br />

in your Gore-Tex air vent and slot in your fin. Voila, she is ready to<br />

surf.<br />

SB / #50 / 94


95 / #50 / SB


That’s where it went pear-shaped for me. Enter three kids, lots of<br />

work and good old life in general. I did manage to carve a mighty<br />

Flathead onto its belly and applied a white limestone paint wash<br />

when I returned from the workshop but that was it. The board<br />

then sat in my storage racks for the next 5 years until Covid rolled<br />

around.<br />

I pulled it out on the first weekend of lockdown, looked it over<br />

and stood distraught. I thought she was destroyed. The Flathead<br />

was covered in mould and the limestone wash had hardened to<br />

resemble cement.<br />

I took to it with 80 grit sandpaper for next to no result. I committed<br />

to hitting it a few more times before expectantly facing the<br />

reality the Flathead would need to be filleted and tossed. Then it<br />

happened. It was like brushing away dirt from a golden nugget.<br />

The Flathead was indeed a gem. For the next 7 days I slaved away<br />

sanding with 40 grit, 80 grit, 120 grit, 240 grit. I was restoring my<br />

‘precious’ to its former glory.<br />

The true magic didn’t happen however until I took to her with<br />

some marine grade varnish. It was then the white limestone wash<br />

seemed to react with the varnish creating a shimmering gold finish.<br />

A smirk appeared on my face. My Flathead was adorned with<br />

golden scales. I pondered unto myself if this board could become<br />

any more impressive? Sh*t I hope it floats.<br />

I applied another four coats of varnish sanding with 240 grit in<br />

between each one. I then screwed in the Gore-Tex vent plug that<br />

allows the board to breathe and adjust to changes in temperature<br />

– necessary in boards like this – otherwise they can inflate (and<br />

split) like one of those blowfish you find on the beach. I inserted<br />

a pineapple in The Flathead’s bum – my fin was adorned with a<br />

pineapple design. Unbelievably, The Flathead was finally complete.<br />

It was then the moment of truth – the time had come to immerse<br />

The Flathead. The conditions weren’t ideal and there was some<br />

trepidation entering the water. Ohh crap I hope it floats. Bugger off<br />

my other inner voice replied.<br />

It was then the moment of<br />

truth – the time had come to<br />

immerse The Flathead. The<br />

conditions weren’t ideal and<br />

there was some trepidation<br />

entering the water. Ohh crap<br />

I hope it floats. Bugger off my<br />

other inner voice replied.<br />

SB / #50 / 96


97 / #50 / SB<br />

The Flathead paddled ok, but she was less buoyant than a normal<br />

board. It was way easier to duck dive however. When I turned for<br />

my first wave though, and felt the momentum of the board as it<br />

picked up the energy of the wave, it was a euphoric sensation. The<br />

delight of surfing your own creation is something else.<br />

Moving at what I could only imagine was near light speed caused<br />

me some concern however. How on earth could I turn it given<br />

the speed I was travelling and its weight? It was here the Swan<br />

Flathead design came to the fore. The round tail and snub nose<br />

enabled me to whip it around like a chameleon swatting a fly with<br />

its tongue. Alas, The Flathead was a cracker. It did take a little<br />

more paddle power to get onto the wave but once on, the boards<br />

momentum carried it as far as any of the 10-footers in my quiver.<br />

I must have resembled a ninja warrior on each wave, flicking my<br />

samurai sword here and there, slashing at will.<br />

The best part of it all however was the fact the board didn’t sink.<br />

Once again I had created something that floats.

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