Living a Pipe Dream
Writer – Rob MacFarlane
My dad bought me my first surfboard when I was 8. It was a “Pipedream Thruster” bought from the MadDog surf shop in Byron Bay. We spent both summer and winter holidays camping at Broken Head Caravan Park. The change in seasons meant different things in surfing. Summer tended to deliver the smaller swells, but often meant surfing early in the morning, anywhere from 6am to well past 7pm in the evening. It was boardies, bucket load of suncream and a face full of brown or white zinc. Winter tended to deliver the bigger swells, but the days were much shorter. I was wrapped in a wettie and the exhilaration of crashing under your first crisply chilled wave paddling out, helped you realise how alive you really were.
One thing in common across all seasons was the benefit of being fit. In summer, it was constantly chasing the smaller waves and fighting hard amongst the crowds to get one more wave than my brother or mate. In winter it was the aggressive paddling to clear the bigger swells paddling out, or holding your position in the line-up as the southerly swell swept along the coast. I was lucky that my parents kept me swimming throughout the year. I grew up in Rockhampton (long way from the surf I hear you say) where it wasn’t as challenging dealing with the colder months, but this said, I didn’t have the benefit of year round indoor heated facilities to help encourage me with my year round swimming regularity. I am really glad my parents kept me in the pool doing what I enjoyed as it made my surfing, both in winter and summer, that much more enjoyable. I was fitter, stronger, and had more endurance. I loved my parents giving me access to the ocean both in the winter and in the summer.
After leaving home and growing up, I was fortunate enough of living one of my dreams, being 5 minutes to the beach. I lived between Coogee and Maroubra and surfed regularly at Maroubra beach with my mate Cozo. Winter was often epic, and I miss those days of diving head first into the very chilled southern waters. My swimming has helped me surf in some amazing locations around the world, including the famed Mentawai islands in Indonesia. I’ve not been as active in the surf as of late (busy lives with children), but have remained active with my swimming. I love that by doing so when I jump back into the surf this winter down the coast, I’ll be ready for it….