Huey finally rose from his summer slump, providing big enough swell for a surf break two hours north of the city. Perth had been copping measly shore breakers all summer, so we decided to take the punt, committing to a mercurial day trip.
Swimmers may covet tranquil waters but surfers—who believe low pressure systems and pounding swell is the grail—dread it. I’d only surfed once in Perth during the summer months. The weekend weather report promised to bring a long-period swell from the south. I sped to the one break in the metro area that sometimes has summer banks called Trigg Point, affectionately termed Trigg Mound among those familiar with point set-ups. After a month of not surfing, I merely hoped for a few head height mushy reelers, but the waves were smaller than ripples in a lap pool. After 20 minutes of wading, one decent set came through. The youngster who was lucky enough to scrabble onto it pulled into the barrel. The wave broke fast down the line, mimicking more of a closeout. The grom nosedived and his board drove into the sand, eventually snapping, like Huey was punishing him for even trying.
The idea of a day trip sparked enthusiasm, amassing enough people to need four cars. But hastily convened Day trips have high drop-out rates, so naturally a few reneged. Some had legitimate excuses: work they couldn’t get out of, family get-togethers they’d forgotten about. Others, however, who’d been drunkenly ebullient at the pub the night before had simply slept through the alarm.
Two cars set off early the next morning. The stacks of logs and mid-lengths on top of the Land Cruiser rattled like a sail. When we arrived, the waves were small but clean and perfect. Peaks broke one after the other down the soft sand beach. We stopped at a number of potential peaks before finally settling on a deserted stretch with triangular shaped shallow sand banks , creating picturesque waist high reelers. We took the mid-lengths and logs off the roof and carefully lined them up. The quiver ranged from 7’6 mid lengths with funky hull bottoms to 9’6 longboards with experimental squared off tails, shaped locally and from around the world. The difference between logging and shortboarding, is like Yin and Yang. In Chinese Philosophy, Yin is characterised as slow, soft and poised; Yang by contrast is hard, fast and focused. It’s probably the reason why the culture of shortboarding is concerned with high performance, technology and science, and is boxed as a sport, and why logging is more concerned with artistry, craftsmanship and experimentation. A line-up full of boards over 7 feet is consequently more relaxed.
On the peak further up, a pod of dolphins rode the underwater surge of a set wave, twisting and righting. We took turns catching the set waves, bottom turning into the pocket and stepping to the nose of the board as it glided onto the open face. We surfed for hours, the sun out, the winds calm, beach deserted. Then, the wind swung to a biting southerly and a few scudding clouds dropped a mist of rain, turning the idyllic conditions into slop, right when the third car rocked up with the photographer in it. It’s still super fun, don’t you think?” one said, trying to convince himself, because to spend two hours in a hot car and arrive at onshore closeouts, denial is all you have. “Super fun,” we lied.
We prayed for the miracle late afternoon glass-off despite knowing that Wedge is one of the windiest destinations on the planet, famous among kite and wind surfers. The longer we waited, however, the more the winds abated, reviving the halcyon morning. The sun began to set behind a reef of clouds on the horizon. The waves began to once again reel down the perfect sandbanks to the shoreline. We sat on our boards amid the kind of contented silence that comes from being surfed out, of having sunburnt skin, sore joints and a parched mouth. We surfed till late. Huey was finally rewarding us for trying.