Somewhere special

Not long ago I packed my bag, took a punt on which board could be right, locked my bike as best I could and set forth on a 30km hike.  A hike that had to be timed with the tides if you wanted to make it without being smashed into sheer cliffs or dragged out to sea.   DSC02682 DSC02676   I’d arrived late and solo, initially starting the hike in the middle of the night, only to realise that it was a little foolish considering I didn’t know where I was going, I was alone, it was dark, and I was late for the tides.   So decided to wait it out for the morning.   After being told off by the ranger for my not-so-stealth camping efforts, I had a chat with new friend Aloe, who’d also arrived solo with the same idea.   Embarking on all day hike with someone you don’t know is a bit of an awkward gamble, but the conversation came easily and we were soon passing the time with stories, laughs and many tucker breaks.   The packs though, were probably the heaviest we’d ever hiked with.   DSC02700 DSC02696   We hiked all day and arrived at night, just in time to find a couple of prime spots, get the tents up and cook some well needed dinner.  Exhausted.   DSC03232   In the morning we woke to some little peelers – the swell predicted to grow throughout the next few days.   And what a few days it was…   Perfect on so many fronts.  Classic Oregonian fall – beautiful weather, people and waves…   DSC03716 DSC02913 DSC02944 DSC03155 DSC03159 DSC03167   I’d only brought out my 5’10, deciding that I had too much gear already to try and lug the 7’2” with me also.   DSC03134   As the swell kept increasing, I wasn’t sure how the 5’10” would handle, but Corey Graham had the foresight when shaping it to leave a little extra volume, push the mid point forward slightly, and liked the idea of a multi fin set up.   At the peak of swell I swapped the quad out for a two-up fin setup.  The difference it made was huge, that big centre fin feeling like it drew out the bottom turns as if I was on a gun, and yet with that much power in the waves, felt like it turned on a dime.   DSC03528 DSC03067 DSC03181DSC03055   The days were beautiful.   DSC03419 DSC03436   And so were the nights.  Essentially alone in the wilderness, aside from the distant campfires of the few fellow surf-trekkers.   About as good as the surfing lifestyle gets I think…   Surfing is more than a sport.   Sometimes I feel the million dollar sporting competitions cheapen it.   Don’t get me wrong, the pros are unbelievable and inspirational to me.  But all that marketing?  All those rules?  All those clocks...?   There’s not much of that here.   No scores, no uniforms, no winners, no losers, no whistles or half time – just you, your own slightly weird style of surfing - along with the universe and choices to be made in life.   DSC03252 DSC03524
The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time. - Jack London
DSC03511 DSC03394 DSC03316 DSC03293   Unfortunately, after dreaming at the stars for too long, i’d mistakenly ignored The Howling Sea and wind, and upon returning to my campsite tired and ready for bed, discovered I no longer had a tent.   Strange feeling.  Was someone playing a trick on me?  Weird joke to play on a tired fellah…   I scoured the beach (cursing myself) for 20 minutes before finding her bedraggled, torn to shreds and soaking wet - with all my sleeping stuff and clothes inside.   She lay in the rocky foreshore at least 300m away, sandblasted and being pounded by a large and building swell.   DSC03344   After getting some help to move the bloody thing, I piled her with rocks to counter the wind.   Luckily I’d made a couple of friends who really helped me out – Nick, Aaron, Mike and Aloe.  Mike even gave me his amazing furry onesie and a boardbag to sleep in for the night.   Why did Mike have a furry onesie on a 30km hike?  Don’t ask me.  But thanks a lot mate, it was incredible…   DSC03412   In the morning I did my best to fix her with some duct tape (flying-pig decorated duct tape no less) that Michelle had given me.  I think there were about 30-40 tears in it, some about 30cm long.   She’s still holding up though.  I’m gonna see how long I can make her last.   Love that tent.   In the last 4.5 months I’ve probably camped about 120 or more of the nights – the other 15 or so spent at gracious friend’s homes.   I reckon she’ll make it to South America.

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