Tag Archives: byron bay


Sunday morning at BR. Finally, a break in the “devil wind.” I manage to drag myself out of bed before dead high, even though I worked until a few hours ago. Every other stir-crazy surfer in the vicinity has the same idea. Some of them wear spring suits and tops, but they seem superfluous. (As usual.) Knee-high and pretty clean. We’ll take it.

Sunday morning at BR. Another lull in the horrendous wind that’s been blowing without fail for days. It pushes with such mighty force that it creates a wind swell on the creek. This morning, it is still. I manage to drag myself out of bed before dead high, even though I watched tele until a few hours ago. At first the sun seems benevolent, but after an hour, we realize that it’s got bite. Tan lines appear on already tanned, sunscreened skin. In 60 minutes or less. The water is cool and green. Which is better than cold and brown. Last week, the water was so brown, you couldn’t see your feet dangling below you. In an area that MSW calls “lonely and sharky,” this was not comforting. It didn’t help that sharks were apparently snapping birds from the sea’s surface in Byron. Today, thankfully, I can see my feet. There is a mini swell. Four foot. The sand’s not perfect. The crowd’s not perfect. Not perfect. But close. There are about 20 guys (and girls) in the lineup, which feels like a lot at a spot I’ve heard described as “still relatively undiscovered.” They’re all clumped at the one peak. I have much better luck down the beach with the other people who aren’t really interested in fighting over waves. I inevitably kook out once or twice: blow a takeoff, botch a turn. Fouls aside, I get some of the better waves I’ve had in a while. It’s amazing what surfing more months of the year does for your surfing. Anyway, clear-ish water, fun-sized waves, like-minded people.

Where would you rather be on a Sunday morning?

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Circumnavigating Part 3: Byron Bay to Cairns

“The itinerary” for this trip has been a little on the dodgy side. When it exists, it does so only in weekly increments and only once I have made a reservation for something. Typically, it materializes as vague notations in my planner.

In the middle of the week, in the middle of February, I am considering a modified itinerary. The current version puts me in Byron Bay next week. I’ve already booked a place to stay, already reserved a bus seat. But the thing is, I met this guy.

But the other thing is, I want to spend a week in everyone’s favorite Aussie beach town before I have to be on the Goldie for the Quik Pro. Logic prevails and some uncivilized hour finds me stretching my legs in a gas station parking lot, after deciding that an oversized candy bar will make a fine substitute for actual food.

Twelve and a half hours is a very long time to spend on a bus–even when fortified by Milo bars. At least they showed a film on that bus. Do you know what it was? The First Wives’ Club.

Paddy, the genial proprietor of Byron Haven, has given me what I believe is an okay rate for a week in a studio in Byron: $650. He has also offered to fetch me and my many belongings (still no baggage charge!) from the bus along with his morning paper.

It’s still early and the room isn’t ready yet, so I walk into town and end up finding this great café. The waitress happens to be from Seattle. She’s living in a tent at one of the hostels. I feel like a yuppie, so I don’t tell her where I’m staying. She suggests I try BBQ sauce on my bacon, egg, and cheese. I must look skeptical because she says, “No, really, it’s delicious. Their BBQ sauce is different than ours and besides, it’s a very Australian thing to eat–you have to try it.” I’m surprised to discover that it’s scrumptious. She also tells me that I can pick up “wireless internet” (“Wifi” is met almost unanimously with “Ehh?”) at the Beach Hotel across the street. Thank you, Michelle!

When I get back to my pricey digs, I feel like even more of a snob and even less sorry for it. The studio is gigantic: Two king-sized beds, kitchen, flat screen… no roommates. Paddy asks if I need help with anything else. “Will you take a nap?” Half an inquiry, half a suggestion.

It is 80 degrees and sunny, and the waves are small but clean.

“Can you please tell me how to get to the beach?”

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