The 21st Whalebone Longboard Classic 2018
The Whalebone would have to be one of my favourite...
...surf comp/festivals. Held at Isolators in Cottesloe Western Australia, the competition was started by the enigmatic Pete Dunn (visit him at Fun’s Back) 21 years ago. It has a storied past which many of the elder statesmen than that litter the arena will be more than happy to share with you.
Last year was the first time The Surf Meal Co. got involved with the event and I vowed that this year I would enter the competition because it looked so fun - I wasn’t going to sit down behind a stall all weekend while the waves are on the pump! This year we were treated with great waves and light off shores for the entire three days of competition so the froth levels were high.
A few months prior I had lined up an old wooden MacTavish with trim channels to use for the weekend. I entered the Open Men’s Logger division and it was only until the night before when I was speaking with Justin Majeks of Surfing WA at the registration night that my board was illegal! The logger division requires that the board can’t even have provisions for three fins. Luckily I was able to borrow Ross from Soul Surfboards personal board for the day, another reason why it is good to build a solid relationship with your local shaper. Turning up mid-morning, the waves were chest high and the water was oil. I took Ross’ 10ft beast out for a spin just north of Isolators and got a couple a nice rights at The Cove and sweet head dip at Seconds. This little session was highlighted by getting to share the waves with eternal frothers Archie Le Grice and his Dad, Pedro. Archie is Moses’ younger brother and has been getting come good results on the state Longboard scene. The Le Grice family is awesome, Belinda and Pedro and the boys all rip and they park at the beach and make a day of it whenever the surf is on.
Archie and I paddled in and walked south pretty much straight to our heat. A couple of happy snaps and high fives we were in the water with a couple of other lads. Paddling out to the line-up as the previous heat wound down I realised that I would be surfing a wave for the first time on a board I’d never really ridden in a competition – the thought made me laugh out loud. Perry Hatchett, Former Head Judge of the World Surfing Tour, Waterman and all around legend was providing safety out there on the jet ski. Frothing out I was waving and throwing shakas to him – to which he replied “you’re heats started Steele go surf!!” Needless to say I got knocked out of the competition early on but I can’t wait to be back again next year. One thing I would like to see next year is more younger people getting involved, numerous divisions for people over 40 where stacked but there was only three junior female competitors!
More than just your average surfing competition The Whalebone is total good vibe, complete with its own revered Whalebone division reserved longboards made before 1968. There you’ll witness a ukulele band and enjoy a wide range of stalls enjoy plus The Surf Meal Co. will always be around.