Laure Treboux has told me so much about it. It’s been on my to do list for the longest time. So as soon as I knew I would have a sabbatical year I made sure that the first trip I made, would be down to the West coast of Australia.
By the time I was on my way to Australia I was quite intimidated by all the stories of dangerous animals etc.
This however was one thing I didn’t even worry about during this trip.
One thing you won’t understand until you’re actually there, is the distances you need to drive to get from one spot to the other. Coming from a 30km island, My concept of time and distance just does not match up with the one of this country.
I bought a car with my friend and we’ve spent countless hours driving up and down the Westcoast in search for the best conditions. In the end this trip was nothing like I had expected, but exactly the adventure I had hoped for.
Besides seeing friends, the plan for Australia was to get practice in the waves and start filming for my new filmproject. One thing I’ve learned on this trip is that time is precious and that planning and checking the forecast is everything.
Once you commit to going to a spot, you’re going to be spending time there for the next week. Basically we made one trip down South to Margaret’s and Denmark, one up North to Kalbarri and Gnaraloo and twice to Geraldton. And that was 4 weeks. I know that I’ll have to go longer next time. Two months at least.
I have to agree with a lot of people that the surroundings in the South are amazing. Margaret river is such a cozy town with friendly people. The locals at the spot were giving a masterclass on how to shred this wave. I really enjoyed watching. Although it got quite crowded on the water at the main break it was still good fun. Finally after a great session coming back to the beach and sharing a sunset with everybody there, was really cool.
Another thing I wasn’t really prepared for , was the part where we’d be constantly spending time outside and on the road since the car was our house. Julian would sleep on the roof and I would sleep inside the car.
Because we had a 4×4 you don’t really have as much space to sleep in as opposed to having a van. And What !? You don’t always get a chance to shower !?- One time it took about 7 days before we finally had a proper shower. In retrospect I understand that this is actually not too bad, but at the time it was catastrophic.
Also, Nobody told me it’s actually quite cold in the South, especially if it’s windy. Luckily I had a winter jacket so I could use that. But I had to buy a wetsuit to compensate for my bikini’s.
My favourite adventure was probably down south. I’m not sure if this spot is secret but 6 of us fit into our 4×4 and we drove down to a remote bay. the sereneness of it all made it really special. Surrounded by hills, super white beach and blue water. After driving through the dunes and having to dig ourselves out of the sand we got a session in straight away until sunset. The waves were small but I was overpowered on my 4.5 and had so much fun! Only four of us out. After we had a nice campfire, the guys caught fish which we had for lunch the day after and we slept in our boardbags. Living the outdoor lifestyle!
From there our ways parted and Julian and I had to decide whether we would go down to Esperance for one day, or drive up North to catch a good forecast for the rest of the week. We decided to go up to Geraldton, freestyle there and then go up to Gnaraloo via Kalbarri. On this trip we had Marco Lufen and met a new friend Freek.
Geraldton is an incredible freestyle playground. Small waves on the inside and bigger ones as you go further out. I finally got around landing my first Pasko’s. It’s really motivating to be on the water with the likes of Tilo Eber, Dieter van der eyken and Marco Lufen. Of course you also had the local freestylers. But then the most impressive riders in the waves were the Stone family, Ben Severne and Ben Proffit. Good thing we had some ladies representing as well. Justina Sniady was busting out clean forwards and nice backies, and then Maeli –terminator- Cherel busting out crazy moves both in freestyle in waves.
Up To Gnaraloo is where our seven day non showering trip started. Also I made my acquaintance with the extreme heat that reigns in the summer. 46 degrees one day and the wind feels as if a huge hairdryer is blowing over you! Everytime we had a sandwich the wind made it crunchy and toasty within 30 seconds. I’m pretty sure we could have fried an egg on the hood of our car.
Forget going to Asia and all the zen stuff if you’re trying to find yourself. Pack a 4×4 to the brim, add 4 people and go to the Desert for 3 days.
I guarantee you, you will do plenty of self-discovery on a trip like that.
This heat combined with relentless flies and sand made it quite the grueling trip.
On the way to Gnaraloo it was actually quite okay. We didn’t know what to expect so everything was fine. I had a great session in Gnaraloo! The wave wasn’t too big and you could do countless turns on there. Watching the reef and fish right below you is also quite the experience!
It was the last day when we were planning on going back to Carnarvon that I almost (maybe I did completely) lost it. We waited at Red Bluff all day so we could catch the sunset for a shot for the movie. The heat was unbearable and just made me cranky. As loud and excited as I can be, I just went completely silent and was just counting down before we got back to civilization and shower.
Finally we also spent some time in Perth. Up in the hills in Darlington was a great view on the city, swimming at Scarborough and competing at woodman’s point with the boys. This is such a world class freestyle spot!
An unexpected fun session was at Pelican’s point. The wind came through right at the end of the day and we caught a nice session with the last hour of sunlight.
I think it was the best view you could have on the city!
Before I knew it I only had 4 days left. Honestly I was exhausted by then. So we just went for some city sightseeing and spent time with Laure and Simon and went wakeboarding at their park.
Both the fun and tougher moments made for a great trip. I met so many funny and interesting people. Sleeping under the stars was an amazing experience and I’ve seen some of the most stunning sunrises and sunsets. All of this really makes me appreciate the opportunity I have of travelling this lovely world.