Summer approaches: small magical days in the southwest


Photograph by Tom Pearsall / Driftwood

The southwest of this great continent is known for its great waters, but at this time of year the area crew are stuck in the same mode as us. It’s small, or at least it’s not big, and it’s often a bit on the ground. In fact, not just “a little”, you’ve barely lived until you’ve experienced a week or two of the southwest sea breeze. There is a reason they call WA “Windy Always”. But on the other hand, there are the mornings at sea, the water warms up a bit, sometimes a wacky swell of WNW points its head, and above all, it’s accessible – no need for a 9 ‘pintail 6 “or a towboard to get involved. Here is Tommy’s take on the last week of recess in Wadandi Boodja’s country.

Glow in the late afternoon on the first swell of summer. “It was as flat as it gets for two weeks,” says the photographer. “It had been the rainiest winter ever, followed by the longest period of flat land. Two weeks of less than a meter. It never lasts more than maybe four days, but it was a real treat. The clarity underwater was amazing, but you couldn’t surf. Everyone was walking around talking about it. Then we had this little pulse for about a day.

Like everywhere, the small waves here mean the longboards come out to play. “There have been a lot of people here having fun. Many travelers descend from the NW after winter. Taking steps is a skill that challenges me. I longboard every now and then and just do the awkward shuffle. I see the goal but I have not succeeded. Maybe I’m turning this around to try to figure it out.

Surfing is a feeling. Left to right: Paris Hawken, Ellie McCaulay and Em Gibbs, feeling it.

Boardmaker and longboard maestro Jack Medland in cruise control. “He does Moonshine surfboards. Mals, mid-lengths. He’s really good at it.

Beau Cram, one of the emigrants from the northwest, with a freshly repaired plank. “There’s a piece of repairman’s tape on it, ‘Beau Cram $ 80’. He had a shipment of Christensons sent in and I somehow managed to slip one in. This one, he rode it in the Margaret River Classic, the waves were pretty solid too.

“Typical summer day here. There are still windows and nooks that you can find with few exits, at least before the Christmas holidays. Much of the local crew give up surfing during the peak of the vacation, instead going fishing and diving.

Signage. “This spot is a summer option in a real strong southerly wind. This is probably the work of the area carnations, 6281 appears to be Dunsborough. Territory war!

Happy homebody Taj Burrow. “It was on a new little twinnie, maybe with a stabilizer, at Injidup. Taj still rides amazingly.

Beachbreak glory, Yallingup. “It was a bigger swell onshore, maybe when the Classic was in Margaret. The wind is blowing from the south, which this place can handle. It’s an almost incredible day.

Beautiful inside. “He took very long ones, but got pissed off on the way out. This spot can withstand a little southerly wind. If he draws enough, he creates his own shape.

And he didn’t go up often enough.

Gas Bay on the same day as the headliner. “The weather is still quite cloudy. I think there was a thunderstorm that day. Make no mistake, it’s too shallow to surf. See the little bump under the right?

Alex McGuffin. “I tried to get that angle. I haven’t quite nailed it yet. This is the start of the summer afternoon air sessions. It’s horrible for eyeballs with the sun and salt. Alex is a talented youngster.

The river beach. “It’s such a center of the community there. Everyone finds their way, whether it’s swimming in the morning or walking to the afternoon team watching the sunset. But there are also those moments of contemplation.

Voltaire Takahashi, speed blur hack. Voltaire surely has the best name in the history of surfing. “He’s a calm, happy, and friendly guy, but he’s got that load switch in him.” This is also the place reserved for locals.

Local crew and Sesame the dog, sunset in Gas. “I think it was someone’s birthday, but everyone hangs out, eats and drinks and enjoys a sunset in WA. There are a lot of great sunsets.