The call for a trip down the coast to find uncrowded waves is always heralded with excitement, no matter your age, skill level or inclination towards early morning starts. The promise of finding that perfect bank to surf with no one around to intrude on your salty sanctuary is bound to trigger memories of timeless sessions with mates in places like Ulladulla, Bawley Point, Wairo Beach and all the rest.
If the call is made early in the week, every workday feels like it’s building towards the moment you fuel up the ute, bundle in a couple of boards and gun it down south before the suns even had time to spill over the horizon. As you cruise down the highway under the cover of darkness, it’s impossible not to speculate with friends on the conditions and best spots to check, which will invariably fill you with the bowel-loosening hum of nervous anticipation that only the thought of pumping waves can bring on.
The truth is though, that the nature of surfing means you can’t plan on behalf of Mother Nature, and more often then not, a surf safari down south doesn’t produce the goods. It’s a hard reality that you come to understand from an early age, and many restless nights have been spent amping up for an expedition at first light, only to be let down come daybreak by howling onshore winds, lack of swell, or a completely wrong tide.
It’s a tough facet of surfing to choke down, and all well-intentioned enthusiasm in the world can be quickly stomped out by below average waves that don’t meet the previous nights expectations. Hell hath no fury like a surfer scorned.
But a sojourn down the coast brings with it other benefits, especially when you reside in a town where you can’t escape your communitarian responsibilities. A quick 5-minute drive to check the surf often becomes a full blown societal obstacle course. A few friendly waves to people you only know by face; a couple of conversations with salty old locals; and of course, the cold realisation that the little surf town you grew up in has become some kind of unofficial meeting spot for swivel hipped surfers from Sydney boasting all the gear and zero idea.
Aptly named – Guillotines
Weekends at Werri these days look more like a yuppie surf mecca, with plenty of pundits proving that even if you’ve got the best board and wetsuit money can buy, it’s still possible to surf with a style that resembles an epileptic at a strobe light convention. Getting out of this bubble at least once a month is necessary, and the further away you get, the easier it is to embrace the best part of surfing – which is enjoying uncrowded waves with your best mates.
I guess ‘cleansing’ is the word that comes to mind after a weekend of surfing, or even a quick strike mission to any of the named and nameless spots south of Mollymook. It’s a chance to reset the mind and immerse yourself in the simplicity of sitting by a fire, enjoying the silence and having a few beers with friends after a day spent chasing and riding epic waves. The fact is that the stresses of everyday life don’t have a seat at the table when it comes to South Coast surf trips, and letting your obligations fall by the wayside is just as important as finding the best place to paddle out.