In 2013/2014 kreeg ik de mogelijkheid om weer terug te gaan naar Oz en 7 weken met 2 vrienden en een 4WD van Tasmanie naar de Westkust van Australie te gaan, waarbij surf, bbq en avontuur centraal stonden. Tijdens die trip heb ik voor Peter Lynn de nieuwe golfsurfkites gefotografeerd en na deze geweldige trip is “ons” verhaal is gepubliceerd in een Kite magazine. Hier lees je de engelstalige versie van onze magische roadtrip.
Our plane crosses the Australian border and looking down at the coastline brings back good memories. It was in 1999, while traveling the magical West coast of Australia, that I fell in love with kitesurfing. Never would I have thought that meeting a bloke in a place called Little Lagoon would have such an impact on my life. That bloke turned out to be a testrider for Peter Lynn, testing new prototypes and after a little chat I found myself hanging behind a kite, body dragging in the water of “Shark Bay”. Back in those days, the kites had no safety or proper depower system and I almost ended up being killed halfway across the bay. After some serious pounding I swam back with a big smile knowing this was gonna be golden.
Now 15 years later, we’re heading back to where it all started. Australia became my home away from home and this time would prove no different. We’re heading to Tasmania, where we’ll start a fantastic roadtrip full of great surf. I’m traveling together with Erik and the both of us know that this trip is gonna be different to all the other kite trips we have been doing so far in the past years. We’re on our way to do an 9000km adventure, using a 4WD that will take us from Tasmania to Western Australia. Our 4WD will be so well-equipped that we might as well take part of the Paris-Dakar rally. Instead, we will use it in search for the best unknown kitespots of the southern coastline of Australia.
After our arrival in Tasmania, we prepare our car and the the first couple of days we spend some quality time on Bruny Island. The island is located on the southeastern coast of Tassie and home to the beautiful South Bruny National Park. From the first day it provided us with the ultimate Tasmanian wilderness experience. We camped on the beach and come across fur seals, fairy penguins, eels, wallabies and white bellied sea eagles that wheeled under the clouds.
The first kite sessions were a bit adventurous, the western shores are sheltered by the D’Entrecasteaux Channel and the wind is far from steady. We never ever experienced these strange wind-conditions before and the wind went from 8kn to 40kn and back within a minute and changed 180 degrees while kiting. The good news is that we took the brand new Swells with us on this trip, a new wave kite designed by Peter Lynn and oohh what a beaut they are! They have an On-Off switch like no other kites have and even in these odd conditions we felt very comfortable and the kites proved to be exceptionally steady.
The best spots during our stay in Tasmania are on Bruny’s east and south coastline, where the Antarctic swells (and water temperatures) offer us world class surf breaks, steady winds and uncrowded white sandy beaches. One of the best spots of the island’s southern breaks is Cloudy Bay. It’s Australia’s southernmost surf beach and you need to cross a beautiful lagoon in order to get to the waves. Just be aware of the big shadows below you, but the trip alone and getting there there is worthwhile.
On the occasional windless days we enjoyed passing time catching fish, doing sunset SUP sessions, discovering new 4wd tracks, drinking a beer or two and teasing a bird called a “kookaburra”. By mimicking its sound, you’ll get answered by a laughing kookaburra, which sounds like human laughter. Gold. After two weeks we pickedup Erik’s wife Ilse and soon afterwards we took the boat to the mainland and swapped our wetsuits for shorts.
White Pointers and flying carpets.
“…Ya love ya sheila on that board mate..?” Erik looks up and meets the eyes of a local that just stared toward the ocean. Ilse is enjoying a sunset session on her SUP and the local gray nomad continues “ yeah mate, just to let you know its feeding time for White Pointers…”.
Coming to Australia and surfing in shark infested waters inevitably will start a discussion with the locals about sharks. Since the beginning of this year the Western Australian government changed its laws in order to hunt (protected) sharks that are bigger than 3m due to some fatal shark attacks over the past years. There has been a lot of controversy about the new law and to our experience, most people (that surf and swim in the ocean) are against the culling of sharks. Like many others I believe its not ethical to kill a beautiful animal in order to make the natural environment a safer playground for humans. When we enter the water, we do it because we like to surf and take the “ risks” for granted. Fact is that getting a serious sunburn is probably the only risk you have when you’re out there.
Having said that, kiting at places where the warning signs warn you for sharks does add a bit extra dimension to our sessions. Even after weeks of surfing we can’t get really used to the big black shadows that swim under you every now and then. Sometimes you see big rays the size of carpets that majestically “fly” away from you. Most of the time its your own imagination that tricks your brain to abnormal stress levels. During our roadtrip we never saw a single shark and the truth is, most times you scare the living daylight out yourself is when you turn your kite overhead to the other side and the shade of the kite passes you in the water to the other side.
In the weeks that followed we saw many beautiful spots. Our 4WD took us to the most remote and almost inaccessible places and just before we were to cross the Nullabor plain, we started to have some issues with the alternator of our car. We camped in the bush and were lucky enough to give it a jumpstart by pushing it down a little hill. On days like that you realise you’re in the middle of nowhere without any help or contact to the rest of the world. Luckily we managed to get our car to a garage in Ceduna and after a quick fix we decided to wait for spare parts before we could cross the desert and head to Western Australia.
It turned out that our unplanned stop had a little bit of magic waiting for us. Close to Ceduna was one of the best unknown kitespots we have seen in our lives. In order to get there we had to cross massive sand dunes and got stuck several times but in the end of the day we set up our camp 40m of the beach. The days that followed where truly amazing. Wind picked up to a steady 25kn and we had the Swells out there for the next 5 solid days. The kind of days when you want to have complete confidence in your gear and these kites didn’t disappoint us a single time.
Cape Le Grand National Park
One of the best memories we had was during the last week, when we camped in Cape Le Grand National Park. This part of Australia’s southwest coast is characterized by perfectly warm weather systems, steady winds and easy accessible uncrowded beaches with azure blue waters. But with honeypots such as Lucky Bay, this part of the state can sometimes feel like a tourist merry-go-round. After the first day in Lucky Bay we decided to leave the crowded campgrounds, taking our 4WD for a spin and drove 3 hours to the east. We ended up at the best kitespot we’ve found to date, ever.