Arriving back in Cornwall after a long trip like the one I’ve just completed can mean different things to different people.
It can mean the end of an amazing adventure, the end of spending each day in a different place or the joy of being home with loved ones and sharing tales. To me it means all of the above but more importantly the end of lugging a 9’2” bright red 2 tonne long board around the world.
Arriving at Heathrow to see my family greet me at the gate meant I need not worry about the prospect of negotiating a First Great Western train and a Black Taxi.
Now I’m sure I’m not the first person and definitely not the last to decide to travel with a long board, but it will be the last time I decide to cart a traditional log through several continents.
Having past safely through Japan and China simply borrowing boards and wetsuits, we arrived in Australia and was successfully convinced that a long board would allow me more waves, especially while the long term forecast held little hope of any decent swell. In Australia this advice paid off very well and like many Ozzy surfers I found the temptation of long point breaks to much to pass.
Some of the worlds best long board waves dot the East coast and my campervan meant no hassle on public transport.
My next few destinations made life slightly more difficult.
Like most, arriving in the Cook islands means relaxing and a week or two lounging on a beach under tropical palms, sipping coconut juice through a straw. My recollection was slightly different as most mornings, in fact most hours were spent circling the island on a moped on possibly the most unsuccessful surf trip of all time.
Day one: Perfect!, and I mean perfect waves. The kind that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. The kind that your favourite surf film might have -and definitely the kind I should have surfed.
Still fighting jet lag and having witnessed the most incredible waves here the last time I visited I decided to wait until tomorrow.
Tomorrow brought heavy wind that lasted a few days and before I knew it the longest flat spell Rarotonga had seen that year decided to seal my fate. It was in fact 2 days before we were scheduled to leave that the swell arrived and when it did, it came in the form of 15ft Southern Pacific monsters. No, I wont pretend I was tempted but the long board didn’t help!
Despite the fact many thought I was crazy to take a long board to the North Shore of Oahu, I couldn’t see the problem but regretted this while queuing for my first flight from Los Angeles. Ironically the waves wern't the problem.
Up until now I had been allowed to carry ‘Big Red’ free of charge on all my previous flights, however, domestic flights that didn’t feature on a world ticket meant paying, and paying big bucks! I could have actually bought a new board for the price of the following four flights but it was to pay dividend once we arrived on the North Shore and the home of surfing.
There was the small matter of the ‘Da Hui’ (Hawaiian Mafia) but that’s another story and one I’d rather share over a ‘properly’ poured Guinness.