Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Coastal Recharge

My blog and indeed my life has been heavily weight towards the “montanas” instead of the “olas” for the past two years. Growing up in Sydney, I was an incredibly keen surfer. My mate Jon and I would regularly catch an early morning bus to Maroubra Beach for a surf before school. Moving on from school, into university and ultimately into working life my keenness remained. I often found myself struggling to get out of my wetsuit and into my business suit with numb hands during cold Sydney winter mornings.

Our move to the mountains refocused my pursuits on skiing, hiking and mountain bike riding. Although, I still manage to get to the coast for a surf every couple of weeks.

Work had been pretty hectic with the onset of the winter ski season, so last week I took some overtime leave I was owed and hit the coast for a few days for a salt water fix. I spent some days north of Sydney with Holly, my sister and some good friends. We scored some nice waves, went on an awesome hike and had a few too many beers and Jagermeisters.

This really hurt the next day, cousin Pat has the moves

The beautiful Port Stephens and the delicious local drop Murray's Whale Ale

The crew

After our days north of Sydney, I was on my own and took the well worn surfers path to the coast south of Sydney. Fortunately my time off coincided with a big south swell (and also stormy weather and gusty southerly winds). I surfed a windy, rainy and wild Sandon Point first up. Having not surfed waves of consequence for months it took me awhile to get back into. In the end I got a few nice waves and then continued further south to the Shellharbour area.

Bass Point at Shellharbour is one of the few locations in the area that is offshore in a southerly wind. There were some beautiful waves around.

Pumping waves at Bass Point


Bass Point reef

I surfed a heaving lefthander called Pikers. I manage to survive a few of the steep takeoffs and got some nice waves.

Pikers doing a Cloudbreak impression

After tempting fate for an hour or so I paddled up to another wave called Shallows. Not as heavy as other waves in the area, it was pretty crowded and a little too big to be hitting the reef properly. I got some waves then paddled in just as the after-work crowd turned up. After warming up, I spent some time taking photos and videoing some of the amazing waves.

More Pikers madness

Nice stormy afternoon light at the loader

I had planned to continue south and camp at another surf spot but with the wild weather and short June days I took the easy option of the local caravan park to pitch my tent. The lovely lady at the counter couldn’t quite get her head around someone camping in wild weather in winter. She gave me the site for $15, I think she felt sorry for me.

I pitched my new Terra Rosa Gear tarp over my tent for some additional protection from the weather and to extend the vestibule. I was hoping for more natural setting for the tarp but it was good to get it up and test it out.

My great new orange tarp and a cheap tent

Camping in civilisation has its benefits, I had a delicious dinner at the local Thai restaurant which filled my hungry belly. I spent time taking some night photos then hit the tent for a few episodes of Game of Thrones. 

Work doesn't stop on the coal coast

The park sits on a point with rock ledge on each side, I slept well to the sound of rumbling waves.

I woke at sunrise and walked out to the rock shelf near the tent to check the surf. The waves had increased over night and there were some big sets exploding on the reefs around the point.

Solid waves at sunrise

Rock cracks

I was planning a quick decamp when I noticed that I had a flat tyre! My car was completely full of crap and I had to take everything out to get the spare tyre. Luckily, the fellas at the local tyre shop sorted me out and I was back on the road.

Heading south I pulled into Kiama to check out the famous blowhole and some rarely surfed ledges.

Kiama ledge

Watching the surf in Kiama I hatched a plan. A few more kilometres down the road my family owns a holiday house. In the house is one of my Dads first boards, a 1970’s McCoy. Also in the area is a rarely surfed right hand point break that is perfect for the McCoy and would be breaking with the wild southerly weather.

My Dads amazing McCoy

Sweet right handers

I had an amazing surf at the point break and even scored a few head dips on the old single fin.

Getting set for a head dip

Before my surf, picking up my Dads board, I ran into my Aunty who was holidaying at the house with friends. We had a delicious lunch at the Blue Swimmer Restaurant. I ate a massive bowl of pasta to replace some of the energy I had burned surfing over the previous few days, thanks Aunty!

It was time for my coastal sojourn to come to an end. I hit the little used country roads back to the mountains, refreshed but yearning for more.

Beautiful sunset driving back through the mountains

I did a little edit of the waves around over the few days I was on the south coast, check it out!


  1. Thanks for bringing back some fond memories of Shellharbour. I fell in love with Redsands many years ago....

    Even bought a block of land on the hill so I could wake up and check it from the balcony.....Then the wind changed....

    Great post mate.

  2. Thanks Darren, Reddies is an amazing spot. I would love to settle down there one day. Although, the whole area has changed dramatically since the first time I took the dirt road to The Farm!

  3. I shared this with the Boardworld crew here http://www.boardworld.com.au/forums/viewthread/6075/


  4. cool, thanks. I thought you skied?!

  5. I do but the tolerate me over there.

    Your a surfer so can fit right in!