Winter loomed like brooding clouds. But for a fleeting moment, the rain and cold abated. The sun shone unencumbered as the solitary article in the vast blue sky. A warming offshore breeze softly blew, and the south swells pulsed, into the metro bays.
A number of North Fremantle—a historical and industrial suburb of Perth—locals flocked to a longboarding wave just north. Photos clustered Instagram of a black horde of wetsuits grovelling among waves that looked beyond fun.
Although tempting, the inside word was that a forgotten stretch of beach was ‘sorta pumping.’
I walked from my house, across a busy highway, then a train track, following the fenceline of an industrial port. Containers, cranes and decrepit sheds beset with graffiti dotted the concrete landscape like a forgotten wasteland of some dystopia. But beyond the factory and miasma and coastal dune dust bowls laid a summer oasis where peaks broke abound.
The beach was deserted, save for local shaper Pete Dwyer and logging shredder Jack Medland, who danced along the aqua stage. The A-frames were neat and predictable, allowing the loggers to paddle on the left shoulder, behind the peak, and sharply turn right to become lodged in the pocket of barreling waist-high reelers, then be pushed to the face, which provided ample room to carve or nose-ride.
The afternoon advanced. The sun slowly dipped behind a reef of radiant and fiery coloured clouds on the horizon. Amid the tranquility of the west, mechanical whirs of cranes, horns of vessels, and screeching of trains resounded from the east. It was no tropical setting or Kelly Slater Wave Pool perfection, but some of the most memorable sessions never are. The loggers surfed till dusk, revelling in the novelty of it all and holding onto the last remnants of summer as it made its final glimpsing.