The Holy Land Nobody Fights Over.

Contrary to atheists everywhere, heaven does exist. It's about four hours south of Perth, Western Australia, and it's called Margaret River. There're no housing tracts, traffic jams, or angry people–the only thing in your way might be a giant rodent with a pouch.

Some say the area's like pre-mega-development California–still gorgeous. Not untouched, but relatively unspoiled. Upper-class Australia seems to think so as well–there're about 80 wineries in the area, and BMWs are becoming more common than Holdens. But the bourgeoise don't surf (that doesn't include Ben). If one thing overrides all, it's the fact that you can still surf a perfect wave–alone (well, if sharks aren't included).


When God created West Oz, he created a geographical personal ad that indulges all tastes–combining scenery with an incredible watercolor blue your pool would be jealous of. For two weeks in early April, a steady invasion of creepy photographers, journalists, industry reps, and surfers invaded God's Country with the intent of surfing a contest and shooting as many photos as humanly possible.

As our brave troops risked their lives in Iraq, the human circus known as “The Tour” brought its giant party out west and indulged on spring breakers and the West Australian nectar known as Emu Bitter. Somehow work got done–no, really. The results are 26 pages of some of the best photos we'll get from anywhere. It's that good. In fact, it's so good it's hard to believe everyone came home. So the next time anyone says heaven doesn't exist, open this magazine to page 78 and show them the holy land.–Father Checkwood