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Surfing the Golden Gate

A Descent Into “Life”

April 14, 2008 Leave a comment

Hejsa, hoi, guten tag, kia ora, bonjour, ‘orrite, dia dhuit and g’day!

Surf trip is over. :(

The craic was mighty.

Now I’m back in Sydney. Here’s how I feel about that…

“A Very Reluctant Departure” / Day 339: Sunday April 13 2008

I actually was much better at surfing this time than the first attempt last September. I certainly found paddling to be a hell of a lot easier. I think it was because my expectations had been sufficiently adjusted as to how bloody hard surfing actually is when you’re first starting out. The ocean is a great leveller, and I spent a significant portion of the trip last September being well and truly levelled. I was also crunched, dumped, planted, slammed, smashed, belted and hammered by waves that were not that high but insisted on closing out right on top of me every 5 or so seconds. When you’re also trying to wrangle a learner’s softboard into submission, this is a lesson not easily forgotten.

I fared much better this time, however. I didn’t hang ten or catch a tube, but I did get to my feet after paddling in under my own power (a damn sight better than the last time I had a crack at it).

The weather for much of the week can only be described as “shithouse”. It started to pour with rain just before we left Sydney at 7:45 on Monday morning and followed us all the way to Crescent Head, where it settled in well and truly until Friday morning (when we departed for Byron). However, the swell was up because of this, and we were in the ocean anyhow so we couldn’t get any more wet. And besides, there is something exhilarating about surfing in the rain. All the elements coming together like that felt quite amazing.

Friday was much more clear, and it was then that I got the majority of my photos for the trip. This jaunt was always going to be more about the surfing than the photography anyhow.

I also discovered on this trip that I need a pretty decent point break to practice on, and at least a 10 foot malibu. Then I might be able to work myself up to shorter boards and beach breaks.

We landed in Byron Bay just after dark on Friday, checked in to the Arts Factory and then settled in for a few quiet ones. Then midnight ticked over into Saturday I turned another year older. The Buddha Bar closed very shortly afterwards and so we walked into town. We could not get into the Great Northern or the Beach Hotel because of what I believe to be completely ridiculous regulations that have bugger-all to go with public safety and everything to do with covering the hotel licensee’s arse. What was really making me mad was the fact that these dumb rules were preventing me from hanging out with a bunch of people I’d just spent the past 5 days travelling, eating, drinking, sleeping and surfing with.

Everywhere else had cover charges with varying degrees of severity. Duly pissed off, I wandered away to find some public facilities, and when I came back I was greeted by the sight of two of my fellow surf trip attendees, Elsa Maria and Lív, carrying a cake box. I noticed a soft orange glow coming from the open lid. Some others from the trip as well as about seven random bystanders gathered in a semi-circle and sang Happy Birthday to me in the middle of the main street. I was touched beyond words, and in all honesty had to try to fight back tears as I made my wish and blew out the candles. It was a beautiful thing and it made my annoyance dissolve instantly [photo © Lív Reynheim, 2008].

We were not awake for much longer, and the actual day of my birthday was a very low-key affair. A few of us just hung out in the beer garden at the Beach Hotel until around dinner time and then strolled on back to the Arts Factory for a couple of drinks and a bite to eat.

Three of the group were hit with a weird bug of some type which had the symptoms of food poisoning, but we’d all eaten pretty much the same things for a week.

Thanks to Benjamin, Elsa Maria, Grant, Julian, Lasse, Lív, Ludovic, Mark, Mel, Neil, Paul, Robin, Roz & Sarah for the company, the drinks, the laughs, the surfing, and cake, and for making this birthday the best one since I started high school.

Also thanks to Lester, Jack and Kyle for their hospitality and encouragement, Ross for the great food and the Wednesday night singalong (I think Kyle’s kazoo solo during Ring Of Fire has been permanently lodged into the brains of a few of us), and to Plenko for delivering us safely back to Sydney.

Now some photos. I’m still awaiting the arrival of some shots I took on Thursday with Grant’s Olympus dSLR. For some reason we had a hell of a time getting them from his MacBook Pro to a CD (I even crashed the Mac! No idea how…), so when those pics arrive I will stick them online as well.

Meanwhile…








(I want to do this trip again under my own steam and make it a primarily photographic trip, with surfing as a sideline.)

When I first moved to Sydney and went to visit Griffith, I could not wait to get back to the Big Smoke, where all the action is. But things have changed. I’ve found it increasingly hard to get back to this life, this town, especially in the last year or so when I’ve left for a short time. Maybe the city is not for me, maybe I’ve just lived here too long. Maybe I had prepared myself so comprehensively for a more quiet life somewhere in Canada that I now find a city this size grates on the fabric of my soul. Maybe I know now that it is easier for me to be true to myself when I’m away from what passes for “normality”. All I know is that I found it very hard to come back, I felt homesick for places I don’t live in and I miss people that I did not even know 8 days ago.

Gather my strength, pray to my gods & goddesses, if I have any…

dedications and vows..

.. and let all the elements combine.

(I swear I am the shortest-haired hippy in the world…)

Surf report – Miu Ne, Vietnam

January 4, 2005 Leave a comment

“Going off bigtime” is not an appropriate description. 5 inch swell, 4 second sets. The water, however, is delightfully warm and refreshing.

I landed here at just after lunchtime New Year’s Day, saw the beach lined with palm trees and the quite cheap resorts and thought, “Oh yes indeed.”

I’m off to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) in about 5 hours. That city, I’m told, makes the rest of Vietnam seem like a sleepy town. So I’m trying to prepare myself, given that I’ve found just about everywhere else to be very full-on.

I’m continuing to have a good time & meet some cool people, and drink some truly awful alcohol. This will require some elaboration when I have cheaper Internet access.

Vietnam is quite intense and I’ve felt less than good a few times. But it’s all about change, that’s why I’m here, and it’s happening.

So… I’ll head off then. :) Hope everyone is doing well/

Take care.

Peace,
Karsoe/Paul C

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