Dbah was the only wave on the Gold Coast that was working the first three weeks I was there, so that’s all that I surfed.
From my house on Binya Avenue in Coolangatta, Kirra was a 2 minute bike ride from my front door. Snapper was probably about 8 minutes, and D-bah was probably 10.
Currumbin Alley was about a 35 minute bike ride if I rode fast, Burleigh was about an hour and fifteen, and Straddie was about a 2 hour trek. I never got to surf Straddie though unfortunately.
For the first month that I was there, there wasn’t enough swell for the machine-like points that the Gold Coast is known for to start working, so I surfed the only place within biking distance that had any solid swell – Duranbah.
Life was good. I would wake up every day and check the forecast. If it was good, I would surf. If it was pumping, within 5 minutes of checking the cam on Swellnet, I would have all of my beach supplies packed into my backpack, my board strapped onto my bike rack, and I’d be walking out the door on my way to the beach.
Aside from feeding myself, I literally had no other responsibilities. For the first time in my entire life I was able to pass endless hours at the beach with absolutely no one waiting on me for weeks on end. It’s a really special feeling being able to sit out in the lineup with absolutely no pressure to leave perfect waves in order to go to work. Even when I was surf guiding in Nicaragua, spending 10 hour days in the ocean, I was still waiting on the guests. We still had to surf the breaks that they wanted to. Oz was the first time that I had complete freedom. If the surf was pumping, I’d be pulling six hour sessions, surfing until the point that I felt that if I kept surfing any longer, I would definitely tear or pull a muscle. I would hilariously surf through multiple tides swings on some days. It was epic.
I was there in the late summer, early fall. The days were bright and sunny, the water was still warm, its color a magically beautiful aqua, and the underwater visibility was unreal. Almost every single day, you could see the sand on the bottom of any beach, 6, 10, even 15 feet below you. On the Gold Coast, even with a population of a half a million, both the land and the ocean seemed virgin.
The first month was very peaceful. It was simple, and nice. Living without any obligations or responsibilities was incredible. I had many beautiful days shoulder to head-high days at D-bah. The wave was the most special beach break I had ever surfed, by far. It is the definition of a bowly, A-frame. It’s a tricky wave, as the wave often comes in at a strange angle, and then wraps when it hits the sandbar. Every wave you think is going to be a left, becomes a right, and vice versa. At first, your intuition tells you the wave is going to break in one spot, but then at the last second it backs off, wraps, and then the A frame peak forms just 10 feet away from you and starts to break perfectly as long, aqua walls with a hint of green peel away on both sides.
For days on end I would surf there in the late morning and afternoon, sharing fun, head high swell with the local rippers, Brazilian “students”, underground Japanese ex pat shredders, and the occasional Kiwi. It would definitely get crowded at times, but not having the pressure of having to catch X number of waves before work kind of mellows you out when in the lineup, and there were always enough waves for everyone if you had patience.
For a time, it was good. But, after a while, I began to get restless. Paradise can become monotonous.
The waves were fun, but eventually they got boring. After surfing on the North Shore in Hawaii, the waves in Australia seemed small. Don’t get me wrong, I love surfing perfect head high beachies with no consequences, but it felt like something was missing. I hadn’t come halfway across the world to surf a beach break, even if it was one of best ones on the planet.
Sometime during the blissful carefree weeks of surfing D-bah I had reunited with my little ex jungle explorer. Every doubt I had of coming to Australia was erased when I hugged her again for the first time, but as the dust settled, I realized that things now were going to be different. I remember watching her car drive away after that first time we hung out and I realized that it was going to take a long time to work things out between us. I was going to have to remain in Australia for a lot longer than I had expected.
Whether it was waiting for waves, or waiting for a woman, the most difficult challenge of living on the Gold Coast, was the waiting.
Luckily, I didn’t have to wait for long….
[to be continued]