It’s on day three that I realise what I’m doing. I’m on a surf trip with a bunch of girls. We have taken over the town (by default of large group of 8 foreigners) of Crescent Head and are now meeting the local surfers and regular surfer boy groups.
We are surfing at Big Hill, the best wave we could find in a time of little to no swell. And it seems everyone else is also. There is a big group out on the water, about 25. And the break is only a few metres wide. It’s like playing dodgeball, surfer gets the wave, and we all lean and swerve to not hit each other like pebbles rolling down a hill. I'm not used to the crowd; it’s scary, but it’s also fun. I hope I don’t get in anyone's way. And I hope I get some good waves.
We spend two hours or more in the water before the waves drop. People have gone, people have come, and more people have left again. But we are still here. It’s like a mission. We are here for surf, and we don’t want to give up. It doesn’t matter the wait or the wave height. We just want waves. Usually, there is swell at this time of year (August), but we have a feeling the blood moon has mucked with the oceans and swell. Locals have told us there has been no swell for the last few weeks. Very odd for here.
We search for waves on many breaks. We wander through the bush. We look with longing over cliff tops. We even surf the shark waters (unknowingly) for a wave. Typically early morning we find our wave. And I freeze for it. One frosty morning I lose feeling in my heels and can't stand on my board.
When we need to warm up, we head back to "camp". Our house at Crescent Head. We cook eggs on toast then head to the cafe for coffee. Our fave being Blackfish and Green Room. Again, we build on our relationship with the locals. They see us coming - probably due to our group size, and our hoodies that state ‘Surfergirls SA’. We even have one hoon on a skateboard scooting around town. Cheryl, our leader. We are no chameleons.
It’s a beautiful, tranquil spot (yes, even with us here). Seems to attract the over 40s crowd, but seriously, anyone chilled could come here. The houses line the hilltop, all overlooking the bay where little lines peel, great for longboarders. On a bigger day of swell, it’d be good for shortboarders too. I hear there is also a Shark Alert system in place, and the day we arrive the beacon has gone off to alert people that a shark is lingering in the area. Great idea, maybe. Or maybe it’s more a scare than anything else. We do know that they are there anyway. I guess I’d prefer to know if one (if not more that are not tagged) are hanging about where I want to surf. It keeps me out anyway. I mean, there’s no swell, but if there was, I’m not sure I’d go in.
If Crescent Head isn’t working - which it's not - there are plenty more breaks to explore. We head south, checking out Sunsets, Big Hill and Plumer Point. We end up at Big Hill all days… it has a small break when everywhere else is not working in these conditions. One day, I count 25 in the water, all surrounding one little wave. It seems everyone is crazy to get a wave, and this is the place. Perhaps the only place in the area.
You can also head north. We road trip up to Scotts Head for an afternoon. Another cruisy town where we spot SUP riders, little groms learning the whitewash waves and couples strolling along the beach. There’s no surf, but we keep the local coffee/takeaway shop open with coffee and juice orders. He was happy, beaming while telling us he hadn’t had a customer for over an hour. It’s common for the cafes to shut just after lunch and I’m beginning to realise why. Everyone gets their morning coffee hit then heads off - I guess after 12pm is wine time though, isn’t it?!
I caught some fun waves this week, and a nearly perfect one that I was told was ‘the wave of the week’. I was also told my face beamed after that wave. And that’s what it is all about. Catching the stoke, having fun and chilling out with friends (human or happy flipper kind).