Simply put, it took two days for the Salomon crew to leave West Oz and get to our new home base for the next week or so--Yamba. Our crew now consists of Jason Weatherley, Nick “Da Wrench Jiampa, Nick Wallace, Dan Ross, Navrin Fox, and me (the creepy photographer). In case you’re wondering who the hell these people are, well, they’re all great surfers in their own right. You probably know who Jason is and he’s now the Salomon team manager for America. Da Wrench is Jason’s protégé from San Diego who pulled in on his first wave Wednesday at Angourie and topped it with a big layback carve. He can also suck down Toohey’s New beer like ants to an anteater--get that man a straw. Nick Wallace is a former World Junior Champ from Oz who now specializes in airs. Nick’s a funny c--t who has big sideburns, rolled up jeans, greased-back black hair, a chain attached to his wallet, and an old Ford at home. Dan Ross is a Salomon team rider who last year won the prestigious Australian junior series and recently made the semis at Margaret River. Rossy is a sort of manchild who surfs with the power of a weightlifter and the grace of a swan--I mean, he rips. If you ever saw the waves video Doped Youth with Ozzie Wright and Kelly Slater, Navrin Fox was the one called Slinky Fox. It’s a very appropriate name because that’s kind of the way he surfs--he’s also the Salomon team manager for Oz. “Trippy crew, man.
With boards “loosely stacked in coffins on the roof, we hightailed out of Margaret River in West Oz at 7:30 in the morning to take the four-hour drive to Perth. It’s weird when you’re part of the huge exodus that leaves small towns like Margarets after a contest. They pump for a week with surfers crawling over them like rats, drinking their alcohol, molesting their daughters, and then all of a sudden they’re gone and life goes back to normal. Locals at WQS locales around the world must wake up every Monday after and go, “What the hell just hit us?
Anyway, after the long drive (and barely, barely making it), it’s about a five-hour flight to Sydney followed by another hour and a half to the Gold Coast followed by another four-hour drive south to Yamba. Before heading to Yamba we stayed a night on the Gold Coast and took a tour of one of the Salomon factories where the S-core’s are produced.
S-Core’s are Salomon’s new surfboard technology that are characterized by the baby blue color and are starting to be seen under the feet of the world’s best surfers. If you watch Kelly Slater’s part in Campaign, you’ll notice he’s riding one. S-Core’s are a modern-day technology combining airplane wing structures in the core with lightweight materials. Salomon has an R and D factory and engineers that combine for a program second to none anywhere in the world. They literally have a facility in France where quirky French guys in thick eyeglasses test materials and structures for new ideas. A common misconception is that the boards are popped out of molds in some factory line in China--not true. At the Gold Coast factory, the process includes the creation of the inner airplane-wing core, the finishing touches of the shaper, and the glassing. Speaking of shapers, Salomon’s stable--and I mean stable of studs--includes legends such as Greg Webber, Eric Arakawa, Rodney Dahlberg, and Al Merrick and many others. It makes you wonder why the world’s best shapers are involved in the program--something good must be going on.
Following the Goldy, we finally got to Yamba--home to one of the world’s most famous points at Angourie. What’s rad about this place is the fact there’re other points as well right next to it. Angourie’s a long right that has a slabbing ledge at the very top for those courageous enough to try to make the drop. We surfed it and witnessed the kind of waves that have lips thick as tree trunks or they just kind of turn into walls of water over six inches of water on a large, flat rock. As Navrin put it, “Ohh, it’s angry today.
It’s actually not part of the overall scheme of the wave--it’s like an appetizer on the way to paddling to the real point where a barrel can be followed up by a clean wrapping face all the way in. Angourie’s actually a small headland with the right on one side, a hit and miss left on the other, and a punchy breach break that we happened to catch Wednesday. Jason said it reminded him of a small Black’s Beach (in San Diego).
Points rule the roost here, but there’re other beach breaks as well as some jetty rebound-style waves that are just as fun. As for extra-curricular activities, well, let’s just say you’re somewhat in the country and there ain’t too much to do around here except write--that’s why this damn report’s extra long. Until next time.--Checkwhat? Checkwho?