I’ve been surfing the Pass the past few days – it’s the only place I can cope with in this swell! I turn my banged up red car into the road towards the beach and hope and hope and hope that I’ll be granted a parking space.
Lots of the locals are parking back down the road at another lookout. It’s a walk from the break, but it’s closer to where we’re all getting washed in. The swell is solid and the sweep is relentless and everyone has to go in and walk back around after each wave. It keeps the numbers in the water down though and it gives your shoulders a break!
The lookout carpark is easier for parking, but it’s also on a busy road, so I sometimes feel a little exposed as I change and pack up my stuff. I park down in the Pass carpark that sits in under the trees and next to the park. It’s a funny place. It’s always full and busy with people talking and yelling at each other and having post-surf chat,
Yeah, got a coupla good ones.
Oi! Have you got some wax, mate?
That last wave you got was sic! It was fully bowling up behind you. So good!
Oh my God! Did you see me take one on the head. Argh!
Fucking kooks. What the fuck are those idiots doing out there anyway? It’s too big for them, man.
This isn’t a quiet spot. It’s social. And it’s really working in this swell, so it’s even busier than usual! People are sharing wax, sharing stories, catching up on the weekend, making plans for tonight, checking out each others’ boards and checking out each other…
There’s the guy that was dropping in on everyone. There’s that chick who was shredding. There’s that dude who lost his board on the rocks. There’s that hot guy who was on the red fish. There’s my friend, Linda.
Are you going out?
Yeah, I reckon. But I only brought my mal… Is it big?
It’s pretty solid, bigger than yesterday. But it’s mellow in the water – there’s no aggro. I reckon you’ll be ok on that though. Maybe sit wide.
Yeah right? Is it cold? Do I need a wettie?
Nup. The water’s really nice. But the wind’s picking up a bit. Oh, and the sweep is BRUTAL! Oh my God, I thought my arms were going to fall off! Everyone’s getting so punished. Ha ha ha. You’ll be sweet on your mal though!
Are Pete and Angie out there?
Yeah. Pete’s smoking everyone, of course! That guy gets so many waves!
Alright, I’m gonna have a look. See you later.
You have to be careful as you drive in and out. There’s people everywhere, milling about as they chat and walking back to their cars. Families trail children, towels, boogie-boards, buckets and spades. And there’s cars waiting behind you as you change, waiting to take your spot, blocking the road and causing chaos. I love it. I really do.
I try and park near the grass, so I can chuck my board down while I change. A blue sedan cruises in and parks next to me, the driver smiling and waving,
He goes to check the water but is back within a minute, stoked! I wait to see what board he’s going to pull out of his car. He’s always surfing some different shape and in some bright rainbow colour. I honestly don’t know where he gets all these boards! Today’s board looks like a pointy banana – I don’t even ask. He runs off with his banana tucked under his arm.
Ok. I need coffee and toast so let’s move this along…
Lately, there’s a heap of campervans parked here. Backpackers spill out of them en masse and they sit and listen to music and play the part of free-spirits and hippies*. Whatever, I’ve seen it all before – Byron’s full of it. I hate parking near them because they sit there and watch while you get changed.
There’s a van parked next to me today and as I’m getting changed a dude gets out and light a ciggie. He sits and stares. I have a towel wrapped around my nakedness but I’m trying to take off my wet top and put on my bra. It feels weird. I don’t really care about people seeing my boobs, but this is blatant and it makes me feel self-conscious and I resent it. I stare back and wave at him, perched on the step of his campervan.
‘Are you right?’ I accuse him.
The guy just keeps staring, draws on his dart and flicks the ash.
Seriously, what are you looking at?
He gets up and crawls back into the van.
This is no rural or isolated surf break and it is certainly no quiet carpark. This is not the kind of surfing they sell you in the magazines. This is no ideal. This carpark is a busy place, just like the lineup a hundred metres away – busy, social, obnoxious and full of people. So what? I reckon its great.
A chick pulls up behind me and asks,
Are you going soon?
Yeah, I am. I shove my board in and slam the boot shut, brush the sand off my feet and get in the car. My hair is still dripping so I throw a towel around my shoulders to spare the seat. As I turn the key, The Cure blares out and I start singing along as I drive away…
Til the afternoon!