So we had some pretty fun waves around Noosa last week, and about time.
There were some glorious glassy mornings on the outer bays, open beachies and at the river mouth, and your geriatric columnist managed to sneak a few. But south of the border at the same time, down in locked down, depressed Sydney, OMG! A weird, erratic mega-pulse hit midweek, bringing with it big, clean waves and freezing temperatures.
I was talking to a Sydney friend on Tuesday night and he told me a six-metre swell was forecast to hit in the early hours. I told him to leave the beach and head for the hills, but of course he didn’t, and a day later he texted that in a day of high performance, the Waxhead had been a standout.
Matty “Waxhead” Chojnacki is hands down my favourite surfer du jour. I’m a bit old for a bromance but I love the guy’s style and energy. We’ve got some history, done some fun stuff over the last decade or so. Earlier this year when I was competing in a heat of an old guy division at the Noosa Logger in deplorable conditions at West Beach, a shadowy figure paddled up the line from the river mouth and plonked himself within earshot.
“Paddle 50 metres up the beach,” the Waxhead called. I did, a wave came and I was through to the next round. Thanks, buddy.
After last Wednesday’s mega-swell on Sydney’s northern beaches, Waxhead posted: “Beautiful raw energy yesterday, couple of cleanup sets caught us out every hour… my orange board is 9’6” to put it in perspective… I did catch six waves though!” He certainly did.
Primarily known as a longboarder with plenty of trophies to prove it, Matty, now 32, is really an all-boarder with a preference for the offbeat and retro, but picking the surfcraft for the job at hand. Which is why he was on a gun for Sydney’s powerful snap swell, although that didn’t stop him copping a few beatings.
I’ve had the pleasure of surfing with the Waxhead in Bali and Mexico as well as here in Noosa and in Sydney, and wherever we meet up I always appreciate his unfailing good humour and his profound knowledge of, and respect for, the surfing culture. I remember one time we filmed him in the dusty surfboard storage loft at the Barry Bennett factory in Brookvale, just around the corner from where he restores vintage cars at Taylor and Botham Body Works, and he was like a kid in a lolly shop, running his hands across the pitted decks of ancient but beautiful surfboards.
Love his spirit, his style, his go-for-it approach, as evidenced in these shots from last week.
Dad’s Day ideas
Being a father and a grandfather, an embarrassment of riches is always thrown my way on this special occasion, to the point where thinking of something new and different for the old boy has become harder and harder for my offspring. Perhaps it’s the same in your family.
Well, consider the problem solved. A thoughtful PR person sent me the skinny on the “much-loved Aussie brands The Oodie and Calming Blankets”. The Oodie, it turns out, is “Australia’s longest-lasting wearable blanket brand” and Calming Blankets are “a premium, science-driven weighted blanket, designed to assist individuals who suffer from troubled sleep, or stress or sensory conditions that impact sleep quality”.
According to the publicist, “Dads who like lounging or working in comfort will love The Oodie. Featuring a luxurious two-layered combo of flannel and sherpa fleece, dads will feel wrapped up in a cosy hug.” Well maybe, but are they cool?
Old mate Peter Townend used to wear something similar on cold mornings at Bells back in the ‘70s, and no one laughed. (At least not to his face.) And many years later, greatest of all time Kelly Slater took to wearing a black one during the autumn European tour. So the answer is still, no, not very.
Apparently you can pick up an Oodie for $109, or if you’re not sure about dad’s reaction, why not play it safe with a signed copy of Place Of Shadows, The History of Noosa, by yours truly. Just $35, and if you live in Noosa Shire, I’ll deliver it to your door in time for the big day. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
FOOTNOTE: The WSL Rip Curl finals series gets underway at Trestles, California, in just a week, with Australians Morgan Cibilic, Steph Gilmore and Sally Fitzgibbons in the running. And a couple of weeks later, the WSL longboard tour will emerge from the long shadows of Covid, with events at the Surf Ranch and Malibu, and Aussies Tully White and our own Harrison Roach listed to compete. More on that one next week.