Good Vibe - Issue 9 - 22nd March 2019
MARCH 22, 2019 GOOD VIBE
Noosa and an ode to Van Camping
Although it feels a lifetime it was less than two weeks that we cruising up and down the coast between Noosa and Byron Bay. The trip East was inspired by the Noosa Surfing Festival and Stop No.1 on the revamped WSL Longboard World Tour. A great time of year with the weather a little less spicy than mid-summer and the potential for cyclone season waves we didn't need any more excuses to hit the road.
Whenever we go east or anywhere for that matter it’s a whirlwind tour and mobility is key. Hiring a van seems to be the best option we’ve come up with so far and piling one with surfboards and Surf Bars and putting rubber to the road is always fun. Finding a trusty stead for the journey is important and can be make or break the adventure. Weighing up the obvious cost vs comfort options we knew that for a good part of the trip we would be staying with friends so there was need to hire a ‘Winnebago’ (that said a ‘Wicked Van’ was also out of the question!).
Flying into Brisbane we soon picked up our Toyota Hiace with 'basic package' and hit the road in our ‘Milk Carton’ on wheels. Heading straight to Noosa, our first stop was to check in with Team Rider Josh Constable as he makes his comeback to professional surfing at the ripe young age of 38. Noosa, such an idyllic place with the town and people wrapping themselves around the headland, surfboards everywhere, it's easy to see why this surf town is so popular. Josh and his family soak it up better than anyone, blessed with huge smiles (it’s easy to see why) that got even bigger when Josh progressed through the rounds and finished with a very solid 5th place. The final day of competition wound up at Castaway Beach, an uncrowded and peaceful bay south of Noosa. Being a one minute stroll from the Constable house, I'm pretty sure Josh felt at home in the jersey. Meanwhile with all the competition action going on we helped ourselves to empty 2-3ft foot glassy peaks for a few hours just down the beach.
Back to the van. Half the adventure of living out of a van is finding places to park overnight. In places like Noosa, where there is no shortage of back packers living in vans and authorities keen to move them on, you have to develop a certain knack for the local conditions. We bumped into WA long-boarders Jack Medlam and Anthony Spencer who were competing and generally surfing their brains out, who informed us of a special car park manoeuvre they had learnt. Called the ‘Carousel’, this move when employed correctly can give you whole day parking access to Noosa's series of point breaks.
Avoiding the four hour parking limits, fines and getting your wheels chalked has become an art form and
accomplishing the 'Carousel' it is no mean feat. The move itself starts when upon reaching your car after a few hours in the water you lock eyes with someone else in the carpark who understands the situation. Confirming the telepathic signal with a shout of ‘Carousel’ or various hand signals, the two begin the carpark dance. Swapping places may seem pretty straight forward but throw into that tranquil scene about 50 cars circling like starving vultures squawking at anyone walking past “You Leaving!?” People stuck in the circle of death are ready to wedge
themselves into any space resembling a car park and grow more furious with every lap because each one is another ten waves not surfed. To combat this element of complexity a third person or 'blocker' is required. Either another party to the carousel making for a three-way swap (only for the very experienced) or a good Samaritan excited to be participant in some carpark choreography. The 'blocker' essentially sacrifices themselves to ‘vultures’, and momentarily cuts off the stream of circling cars, remaining steadfast as a chorus of horns and verbal abuse reign down upon them. This sacrifice creates free passage for the others to swap places in the car park. Move completed the original two are now safe from any fines for another day and can now set up a more permanent camp. Interestingly, the ‘vultures’ do not turn upon people completing the 'carousel' acknowledging that they would do the same. In fact, the move when conducted smoothly and in a timely manner is likely to receive a 'tip of the hat'.
Likewise, once the ‘vultures’ themselves finally gets a car park, they are so relieved that the entire ‘vulture’ persona melts away and the free spirited Noosa Longboarding Hipster bursts forth once more and they run to the surf smiling and throwing shakas. If you’re thinking it all sounds too much; consider this, if you don’t enter the circle of death you may end up parking kilometres away. Also, sometimes you just luck out. As you enter for the first lap someone else leaves at that exact point and you are now front row, beachside, no waiting, no circle of death, no vultures, just Hollywood. That or humping to the beach with everything and everyone you need and don’t need, you announce knowingly that ‘you don’t waste your time with the circle of death' as you are pretty sure its 'quicker to park on the other the world and walk’, only to see on arrival that the entire carpark is empty! It takes only one 200m long Noosa point break beauty and all those thoughts of ‘Is it worth it?’ are soon replaced with ‘How early can I get down here tomorrow?’.
Fortunately we didn’t have to master the art of the ‘carousel’ as we had many different places to be and people to see. One of those was the crew at “White Horses” Magazine, they had a stall in Noosa for the festival and were running a promotion and we were helping out with some Surf Bars. Surf Magazines in general have taken a hit since we entered the ‘Internet Age’ but ones like White Horses that are more art than magazine are still a coffee table favourites. The Surf Bars were also received into two new homes whilst in Noosa, Underground Surf and Noosa Juicer completing a neat trifecta of stockists with the impressive Bioshop just out of town a long time partner.
Returning to the van.
On any adventure every hour of sleep in worth two at home. We have no aversion to ‘roughing it’ should it enhance the experience so sleeping in a van sounds like relative luxury. However in reality, a van can sometimes offer an awkward in-between solution, particularly in semi-tropical conditions. The ‘Milk Carton’ on wheels had exactly the same number of opening windows as its namesake. While the two front door windows could be opened any cross breeze created never reaches the dark depths of the van where you sleep. In the hot humid climate of QLD this time of year the sleeping situation can soon turns sour. The long days starting with an early surf followed by meetings and greetings, sight-seeing and more surfing would normally be a one way ticket to ‘snoozeville’. And it is… for about 30 mins until you wake up soaking wet with sweat as milk carton turns hot box.
Flinging all doors open to find relief the breeze offers just enough to send your head back to the pillow. Then you are reminded why you shut the doors in the first place. That familiar and dreaded high pitched whine. The one that makes you swat your own face in attempt to kill that annoying mosquito. Only that singular high pitched whine is replaced by the ‘mozzie’ version of Wagner’s ‘Flight of the Valkyrie’s’. A battalion of blood suckers surge forth adopting a scorched earth policy on any naked skin stopping just short of actually carrying you away to the mothership. Wrapping yourself up in a sheet you begin to overheat again and your hours in the sun don't help your comfort nor does all the sand that despite best efforts, has now found itself absolutely everywhere. Wrapping yourself up in a wet sandy sheet you sacrifice a leg to the winged devils, open all doors and cross fingers that no-one or no-thing plans on visiting tonight, you finally go to sleep.
It's not over yet. As the clock strikes three (3am) you are greeted by the well planned arrival of the carpark cleaning machine. A series of rotating lights and sweeping brushes combine with beeps, horns, hydraulic squeals and clattering metal to make you wonder if the Mothership has decided to visit you instead. Any hope that this visit will be a quick one disappears, as now being fully awake, you track the progress of the machine and it's very slow going. Shutting all the doors again so that dust isn’t blown all over you once again begin to sweat profusely. Trapped in the hotbox with your new mosquito friends you cover your eyes with a towel to block out the laser beam light the machine’s operator has fixed on you for good measure. It’s hard to tell whether any sleep is achieved thereon, but the sun soon begins to rise and you decide that at least you can be first in the line-up. Seemingly a heavy price, a few solo waves at Tea Tree’s leaves you grinning and wondering if it was all just a dream. A few more and you start to acknowledge that ‘it wasn’t that bad’ and that it's part of the adventure and it might make a good story one day.
Recipe of the Issue
1 Scoop Carving Choc Surf Protein
2x Bananas (1 Frozen)
1/2 Cup of Almond Milk
1 Shot Coffee
1 Cup Granola Mix
3x Ice Cubes