It’s hard to imagine we are finally in Torquay, only 103 kilometres (64 miles) south-west of Melbourne at the gateway to the Great Ocean Road, and nestled between the townships of Torquay and Anglesea lies Bells Beach, home of the Rip Curl Pro held in April each year and event number two on the Men’s Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour.
When you’re married to a surfer you learn these things, and others.
(Like) When it comes to surfboards, I know the difference between a fish and a blob, and how the number of fins are adjusted to control speed through the waves.
I’ve learnt how to read the waves and spot the lines and tell the difference between a left-hand break and a right-hand break. (To be honest, there’s no rocket science involved there.)
I know what a ‘goofy footer’ is, and what surfer’s mean when they say “It’s really gnarly man!”
I’ve learnt ‘out the back’ is not the same as ‘the outback’ and when surfers mention the washing machine they’re not talking about doing the laundry.
I know who the WSL are, how FCS works, and exactly what MF stands for.*
And I’ve even learnt that when Dean says “Look at that smooth face!” he’s not talking about my daily Olay routine fighting the seven signs of aging. (And I think I’m ok with that.)
Surfing is not only a culture, it’s also a way of life for many, including Dean who loves nothing more than being in the water and at one with Mother Nature. Sure, sometimes Mother Nature says “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”, but more often than not, she’s compliant, sending him a sufficient supply of rideable waves.
Right now, Dean is like a kid in a candy store. Bells Beach is only a short drive away and there are so many other (equally as great) surf breaks nearby include Southside, Centreside, Winkipop, and Steps, just to name a few. I found a great map here that shows all the surf spots on offer. Add to that the plethora of surf shops on offer, including every big brand you can think of and the many, many little independent owners, and everyone here eats, breaths and sleeps surfing.
. . .
Today I went with Dean to Bells and tried so hard to get some photos of him surfing the waves, but I failed miserably. It was only 10°C (50°F), the wind was nasty, and I easily lost him once he got out there with all the other surfers.
Perhaps tomorrow morning I might get lucky with my camera. Just one really great photo of him surfing Bells would be awesome.
* WSL – World Surf League; FCS – Fin Control System; MF – Mick Fanning (and not . . .)
You can find a great list of surfing terms here: Surfing Waves