Saturday, October 13, 2012

Tasmanian Tripping

   It's funny when you just think of a place because of one thing and you don't know anything else about it. Tasmania has so much more to offer than just Shipstern, the people are as friendly as the Irish and have big hearts welcoming you anywhere you went. On a trip recently there for other reasons than surf I was also pleasantly suprised by the beauty of the surroundings as I was tripping around. From classic stone buildings restored to their original state to the eucalyptus soaked hill sides and the stunning east coast beaches it's certainly a place to return to.
   Not really expecting Shipstern to break I was more driven to see the sights and the first, well you could say delivered. Driving around Hobart in the evening of the first day looking for a nice bar for a pint I kept going pass a Hotel and for some reason it was tempting me to go in. Within 5mins of being in there I found myself in the barmaid's car playing with a baby Wallaby she had saved. Stef did say she had a boyfriend straight away, but I respect bar staff and never have, never will hit on bar staff so she had nothing to worry about, besides I had this a cute baby Wallaby in my hands and it was frign soo cool to hold him. It was so fragile but Stef said Wally was getting stronger every day, she had saved it from the mom which had been mowed down by a car, so sad. Back in the bar I got to know the 2 barmaids better over a few of the best Guinness I've had since leaving Ireland. What a brilliant start to me trip. I got to know them a little more during my stay, really nice young ladies that made what could've been some dull nites so frign halarious that I got sore stomach muscles from laughing so much.
   Oh and by the way if you sit in the corner of a bar and want a drink feckn ask nicely and respect the hard working barmaids, don't just sit their gawking at them and throw sexual verbal abuse at them expecting to still be served. They're their to serve you drinks, not to take crap that they don't need to hear, if i'm in the vicinity of your bullshit I will say something and believe me I feel strongly about respecting bar staff. Sure have a laugh with them but don't cross the line, I told an older guy off at this bar, Stef said to me he's done that for years and thanked me for standing up for them, apparently he's come in since as he's a regular but now is really nice to them. Happy days aye...respect.

Stef & Wally
 The next day was the business part of the trip with a bit of a sore head, so I got what i had to do out of the way quickly and proceeded down to Shipstern. I didn't really know how I'd handle the walk in, with the van parked up at the end of the road I started on me trek in. Oh shit my legs burned so hard, I'm not exactly made for hills but with the thought of Shipstern breaking I pushed on through the bush and got to the lookout eventually. Sitting down catching me breath I saw my first set hitting the reef, holy shit it's truly a scary looking beast but so perectly mutated that you can't look anywhere else. The crack and boom as it unleashed on the reef was easily heard from my vantage point. Considering I didn't even expect to see it break while in Tasmania I just sat there thinking how frign lucky I am, life is great. Having not seen anything remotely like this since Ireland I ended up walking in 3 times over the next 5 days.

The walk in

   The second day I was lucky enough to meet Marti and Mikey, they were walking in to paddle it, fair balls to them because it was big enough and blowing a side shore gale producing over a 1m chop out there. They paddled into a few but it was just too bumpy, stuffed if I know how they didn't get mowed down by the rogue sets. It was a pretty heavy session to watch, I know it wasn't perfect by any means but I was stoked to the eyeballs to see it bigger and gnarlier than the first day. Because the wave breaks over reef the colours that saturate the wave as it breaks is this beautiful teal green, every photogs dream. There were alot of waves unridden as there wasn't anyone towing really but the boys were their to push themselves in the paddle zone, some waves are more stunning with no one on them and that lets your imagination run wild.

Marti & Mikey sitting on the edge

Every beach should have 1 of these

   I also had the honor of meeting the legend Wizz, the brains behind Harddartz surfboards. Not just surfboards thou, he also does wooden carvings. Each piece he brings out is as impressive as the first, a bulldogs head larger than life carved out of a solid piece of fallen tree, so much here so much to see. You know, I went to the world respected "Mona" gallery in Hobart and personally I think some of his work should be in there, one piece in particular of a hand that is just freaky with long gangly fingers and protrudent knuckles simply carved out of a branch. But what really caught my eye was the timber surfbaord hanging on the wall waiting for another day to be ridden. It looked like nothing I had ever seen with it's water channelling system and beautiful grain. I heard that it rode like no other board gliding across the water with ease, balanced to perfection. I heard you needn't force a turn, the natural wieght and grain in the board along with it's unique finless design and channels it does everything for you, I heard that this was possibly the perfect board...

The legend and the future
  Driving back to Hobart along the coast their's some impressive scenery, one of which looked like a scene out of Lord of the Rings with a city of towering pinnacles of stone.
   Hobart is a bustling little city, easy to get around without getting lost. Cafe's, galleries and trendy little shops line the yatch soaked harbour. The surrounding headland's a combination of bush and houses precariously hanging on the edge watching over Hobart. I did not expect to get anything from this trip, it was a trip for other reasons so you could say I was pleasantly suprised. I fell in love with Tasmania and the people and I will be definatley returning.
   I'd just like to say thanks to the friendly people I met along the way especially Marti and Mikey for urging me to head back into shipstern even thou my legs were fecked and cheers for helping me out. Last but not least a huge thanks to Stef and Sarah, I didn't expect to make such awesome friends as you 2, your gorgeous smiles and wicked humour made my trip.
Cheers Tasmania

Best mates Stef & Sarah

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