Wipe Out


They make it look so natural. Like it’s effortless to paddle yourself into a wave at the precise moment it begins to pick up momentum; then use all of your upper body muscles to stand, whilst balancing yourself and shifting your weight to the right proportions. Include a few sharp turns, 360 degree twirls and a flip in the air to top it all off before riding face first onto the shore to greet thousands of spectators applauding you and taking your photo.

The anticipation of who would be the 2012 Quiksilver Pro champion had been circulating in conversations on the Gold Coast for weeks. Kelly Slater, 11 time world champion, and at the ripe age of 40, was sensed to be the central cause of this. I read in Tracks, the official ASP (Association of Surf Professionals) tour guide that being able to say you’ve witnessed Kelly Slater surf is on the same par with saying you saw Ali fight. I’m unsure if this actually does carry that level of weight, however, I can at least say I saw it. Guess what though, he lost!

Today was the last day of the Quiksilver Pro, stop one of the ASP World Tour, held at Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast. The past two weeks have been leading up to this day, with competitions going on between men, women (Roxy Pro) and grommets (children). The unfortunate weather of yesterday had everyone wondering if the semi-finals and finals would get pushed back, but thankfully this afternoon was full of blissful sunshine and surf.

Up until this morning the broadcasters would pepper Slater’s name into commentary, increasing the suspense amongst the crowd of when he would finally show. Loyal to their national surfers were the Aussies for big names like Taj Burrow, Joel Parkinson and Owen Wright along with Brazilians supporting Gabriel Medina and Adriano de Souza. Regardless of background though, no one would deny USA born Slater.

Brazilians

During the Pro the usually quiet beach town of Coolangatta becomes the hot ticket. Pop up stores line the beach along Snapper Rocks to include Quiksilver and Roxy merch, food stalls sell healthy snacks, and marketing sponsorships are evident in every crevice. During the evening those working behind the scenes come out to play at trendy nightspots like Komune and Neverland.

Another reason Coolly becomes a hot ticket? Because literally everyone is so damn hot! Beautiful, blond, and toned. Holy mother. Yeah, so when my feet were sinking into the sand and I wanted to rest I had plenty to rest my eyes on. Apparently surfing isn’t as effortless as I suspected. Whew.

I still refuse to go in the water past my knees, so my days of actually attempting to surf are limited. But, I would like to enviously congratulate Taj Burrow who just this afternoon received a check for $75,000 as the winner of the Quiksilver Pro.  Taj has never won a world title, however, this could be his year.

Currently Accepting Applications


I would just like to clarify one thing; I’m not on vacation. I’m unsure who I’m clarifying this for exactly, but I feel obliged to do so. Here’s the root of the problem, I want to be on vacation so badly, and I’m not, and therefore need to specify that to my readership. I guess you could say I’m now accepting applications if your interested in taking one.

One may think, but you live in Australia, it must be paradise! Is this not a semi-permanent vacation for you? And this is what I’ll tell you dear reader…I do live in Australia AND there are many a paradises. However, I personally would not classify Brisbane as a paradise. I’ll let you in a secret though; paradise is less than an hour’s drive in the directions of North and South. Hehehe (insert evil laugh to make you a tad bit jealous). Did it work?

So let’s get back to the problem, despite quote paradise unquote being a mere skip away there are still a few issues. Firstly, the heat has just sort of arrived so the weather is not quite perfectly ripe. I can’t complain about it just yet. Not till the sweat starts dripping down my face while I step on the bus, fresh from my recent shower, and step off the bus wishing the person in front of me had showered. What I’m trying to get at is that summer isn’t quite here yet.  It’s still technically spring. When it is summer I will damn sure know its summer because the heat will be unbearable and I’ll think, ahhh summer! Let your rays shine on me! I think that is also when I’ll start “feeling” like I live in Australia as opposed to just randomly really really far away from everyone and everything I know. Maybe that’s also when I stop taking notice of the differences.

Queensland is known for its sunshine and beautiful weather. The fact that winter was 60/70s, maybe 50s at night, means that I cannot even predict what true heat will feel like. I guess they compare the climate to southern Florida.

Okay, secondly I don’t have a car or drive for that matter. I know, right! Like after 5 years of not driving you’d want me to attempt to gracefully manage the other side of the road without endangering people. So this puts me in a position of relying on other people going to paradise in order for me to go there.  And add the fact that they have to actually want my company and invite me along.

Near Beautiful Snapper Rock in Coolangatta

Luckily last weekend my friend Louise was kind enough to take me to a paradise otherwise known as Coolangatta Beach. Just an hour and half south of Brisbane on the Gold Coast, we hit the open road, skipped all the touristy spots and for my first time since moving to Queensland was exposed to crystal clear blue waters to explore the surfers, the bogans (remember them?) and the seafood. I lightly dipped my ankles in the chilly saltwater, tempting those sharks I know lurk in the murky depths, and then continued on with the strenuous task of acquiring a base tan. After a full day we came back to Brissy to mingle with another class all together – the Irish for the Rugby World Cup. I was just happy to jam out to a cover band, belting the Killers at the top of my lungs and pretending it was Mr. Greengenes!

City Riots at Big Sound

Since returning from Melbourne I’ve spent the last few weekends immersed in the Brisbane music terrain. Big Sound was on a few weeks back. More or less a big industry event where music publishers, promoters, label execs etc all meet in the Valley while local and national up and coming acts play at pop up venues tucked in alleyways or at local dive bars. Pretty fun couple of nights in a music frenzy.

Spike!

I came across Spike again the other day. Spike’s the name given to the damn iguana that lives on the water next to the botanical gardens in the city. Typically this is what happens…I run along, struggle for breath here and there, and contemplate when to take my next break while trying to self-motivate then boom, ahhhh! Damn Spike is just chilling blocking my running path. And I go, “ahhhh, Spike!” He gets me every time. I then just stare at him for a while. I’m secretly a little nervous he’ll bite me or hop on and not let go.  Some people say there are really big ones that just hang out in trees, like dinosaurs.

River Fire

Brisbane Festival is happening at the moment. It’s like 3 weeks or something of art, music, theatre, culture, blah blah blah. They kick it off each year with River Fire – basically a combination of fireworks and laser shows over the river throughout the whole city. We booked a table on the water at the Bavarian Bier Café on Eagle Street Pier and watched the fireworks light up the Story Bridge. It was pretty neat, and apparently the view from Southbank is even better because you see the whole city light up. I was a bit indifferent however, perhaps due to seeing the 4th of July light up the sky every year on the beach. Tough life.

Yes, the beach, back to vacation. So I’ve got my heart set on Bali or Vanuatu but it’s not looking so good. My options of travel partners are slim. Then I was going to pop over to Thailand to visit a friend from college and do some Koh hopping but flights are outrageous. I may just have to head back over to New Zealand for a long weekend or something while I wait for the beaches to warm up on the coast. I’ve got Byron Bay and a trip back to Coolangatta up my sleeve at least!

Note to readers: This is no way was intentioned to sound like a selfish complaint. I hear fall is pretty chilly up on the Northeast coast of the USA however I did have to witness your summer from a far and it was torture. The accounts mentioned above were just literally the most interesting things that happened to me since I last wrote, a terrible internal turmoil of wanting desperately to travel and not doing much about it. Well, darn it, fine I’ll book something ASAP so I have something more inspiring to share!