Thursday, April 8, 2010
Oneill's website from last years event made the contest venue in Tasmania look amazing, sick waves, good food, cool wildlife, really inviting. Needless to say I was super pumped to get down there. After the nearly 20 hours it takes to get from MCO to the airport in Tasmania, you are greeted with a 5 and a half hour drive to the coast where the event is being held. I had booked ahead and had a rental car payed in full for the week, $350, but upon arrival they hit me with the underage charge, and additional insurance, so I was looking at paying more than $600. I was definitely not into that, so I hitched a ride with two of the coolest Aussies on tour, Adam Robertson and Nic Muscroft. Luckily for me they were also staying in the same place I was! The scenery was much different than I expected, It was super lush and green, tons of farmland everywhere you looked, and very few houses or people. I don't know if it was the old Looney Tunes cartoons or what, but for some reason I was expecting it to be very dry and barren like a desert. It seemed as the drive continued that we were getting further and further from any signs of civilation. The ASP actually recommended we stop at one of the stores on the way in (about 2 hours from the comp site) to stock up on food and drinks for the week, because there is not much for stores or restraunts where we were staying. When we arrived at the camp site we were staying I told the boys how much I appreciated the lift and checked into the room that I was going to be sharing with Eric Geiselman and Pete Friedan. I passed out and those guys showed up later that night. In the morning we woke up ready to surf, so we headed down to the comp site for the day (it was a mobile event, being held at different locations depending on the surf). To our surprise the comp site looked more like a local ESA event than a prestigious 6* WQS event. The waves were actually pretty similar as well. Picture the biggest surf you have ever seen at Bethune beach on low tide. You could barely see the surfers they were so far out, but somehow the judges could properly score them. I ended up going down in my heat. I actually felt like I surfed good, but everyone I spoke with mentioned that I just looked soft from that far away, and the other guys who had probably 50 pounds on me were throwing more water. Either way I was trying to stay positive, because I really felt like there was not much more I could have down. I actually would have changed to my step up board if I could do it over, just because there was so much water moving and the paddle was crazy long. I ended up staying another week (thanks to hopeless attempts at catching a ride to the airport) and trying to surf as much as possible and just enjoy the opportunity I have been given. Check out some of the lifestyle shots and clips Eric and I got on our handhelds, Friedan is holding the surf stuff for a possible story about the trip..