February 23: Welcome to the first installment of the Down Under Diaries! On a daily basis, we’ll be reporting on and updating you as to what’s happening down here. I’ve been here for a few days already, the rest of the crew gets here soon—something about wives, kids, mortgages, etc. slowed them down so I’m solo. Well, not exactly, it’s the most crowded surf destination in the world hands down, yet when there’s surf, endless lines of short interval swell (read: wave after wave) can appease thousands of frothers.—Justin Cote
Here are a few notes I’ve made in the last couple days…
Mick Fanning this morning at Duranbah. Photo: Spencer/Stryker
Welcome to D-Bah
Paddling out this morning at 5:45 am at Duranbah—an ultra high performance beach break just over the hill from Snapper Rocks—some dipshit wearing not one, but two rashguards, webbed gloves, and booties just mowed me down. Not a rare occurrence in these parts, but c’mon, there was nobody even near the two of us! Anyway, his fin or board hit my foot underwater and I told him “Open your fucking eyes!” in a not so nice manner (for the record we don’t endorse cursing at people in foreign countries but sometimes you gotta do it). The over-accessorized kook just gave me this clueless, blank stare that highlighted his incompetency. Shaking it off, I paddled well away from dufus and recounted my story to the first person that asked me “How ya goin’ mate?” “Pretty well except for getting run over before even catching a wave,” I told the friendly bloke. “Yep, welcome to D-Bah. mate” he replied. Screw it, I’ll gladly take getting run over for some fun waves at D-Bah as it turned out to be really fun and not too crowded.
Snapper Rocks with the Quiksilver/Roxy Pro set up at the top of the point.
The Beet Incident
While they speak English down here, there is still a bit of a language barrier. Yesterday, I was ordering a sandwich and as she was making it, the girl behind the counter said “Would you like me to throw a beet on your sandwich?” I was like, “You know what, I’ll do that myself later, no thanks.”
Aussie photog Spencer Hornby isn’t afraid of a beet or two…
The pros are starting to show up for the season-opening Quiksilver and Roxy Pro events, and I’ve seen Alana Blanchard every single time I’ve paddled out. No, I’m not stalking her, (although don’t rule it out just yet) we’re just on the same surf schedule apparently. By the way, Alana, you can drop in on me anytime—I’ll just sit back and enjoy the view. Yesterday at D-Bah I chatted with Damien Hobgood who was with his wife and daughter, Michel Bourez (who told me about the 1,200 kilo Tiger Shark that was just caught at Teahupo’o), Kekoa Bacalso, and Jeremy Flores. The Klinger (Gabe Kling) and Zander Morton were also ripping Snapper midday with yours truly—thanks for not dropping in on the one good wave I got, Gabe! The weirdest spotting yet though is that of San Diego legend Colin Smith who is here with his wife and two kids touring the coast in a camper van. I grew up idolizing Colin—never see him at home anymore—but have been surfing with him and talking story the whole time here, thousands of miles away from Suckouts and Muffs. Go figure…
Greenmount in the foreground and Kirra down the way.