This winter I packed the family into the car and the boards on top. I was done with the cold and the rain. I needed to head north…. A road trip was in order.
If you have ever ridden a surfboard in Australia then you will understand the thrill of the road trip. For decades surfers have been heading up down and sideways across Australia in search of waves (and quite often warmer waters).
The surf trip is very much a rite of passage. You get a few mates together, load the boards on top, beers inside…. pack a decent collection of boardies, cassettes and hit the road. The first few hours are full of excitement and expectation but after the three-hour mark boredom sets in as you barrel along the Hume dodging trucks and slow drivers.
Then as you approached Sydney, Newcastle, Byron Bay or Burleigh the levels of anticipation would rise again and everyone would strain their necks to catch that first glimpse of the ocean and white water. Was it offshore, could you see waves, what was the tide doing??? It was always exciting checking out some distant surf spot for the first time.
This was my first surf trip with the family but back in the eighties every winter I would gather together a group of mates and we would head north. Most of the trips were uneventful apart from a/ running out of petrol a few times b/ getting sandwiched between two cars near the Sydney Harbour bridge writing off both the car and the relationship c/ constantly being hounded by the NSW police in small country towns (don’t they have better things to do).
The best trips involved good weather and great waves. I can remember driving to Newcastle once overnight, sleeping on the beach and then surfing all the next day at main beach.
Perfect Broken Head, beautiful Byron, stinky Dee Why, and classic Curl Curl were a few of my favourite trips. Spending three days in Noosa staring at flat surf each day and hitting the pub that night before checking out perfect surf in the morning through bloodshot eyes.
An 18-hour road trip up the coast of Western Australian involving huge thunderstorms, flooded creeks, roos, sharks fantastic waves and a boat trip to a deserted island with amazing waves.
The great Australian road trip. Humming along the Hume for hours searching for that perfect wave (or at least some warmer waves in winter!)
Written by John Foss