It is very hard to put into words an experience that you have dreamt about or given a lot of prior thought to. For me this was surfing at ‘The Pass’ in Byron Bay and I was lucky enough to fulfil my dream.
We walked down the beach to the famous surf spot the previous morning, to see it in person was amazing. The surf was good but it was slightly too windy. I sat and watched how the wave broke for quite a while, this would help prepare me for when my opportunity arose.
On our fourth day of being in Byron everything seemed to align and it was the moment to realise my dream. The conditions were better, with a light offshore wind and plenty of swell, my hopes were high that the wave would be working well.
We hunted around town for the cheapest board hire. Eventually I found my chariot, a slightly battered longboard, and we eagerly headed to the beach.
When stepping onto the sand and looking to the right I could see small black figures riding long peeling waves on the horizon. The wave was working well and I could barely contain my excitement. I felt nervous, but once in the water and paddling out this feeling evaporated.
There were 50 or more surfers on the main peak, all bobbing up and down as the swell passed beneath them. Perfect right hand 4-5ft waves peeled off the headland, it was an amazing sight. After the long paddle out I sat on my board for a while, partly to catch my breathe but mostly to watch as surfers danced down the face of the waves.
After a few minutes I felt ready and I made my way over to the take off point. A wave rolled in and I paddled, the board cruising nicely as the swell took me. I checked left and no one else was on it, this was my moment. I popped to my feet as the wave built in size. As I looked down I could see the turquoise water bending up in front of me and Mount Warning in the distance. I turned the board at the top of the wave then headed for the bottom and turned back to the top, repeating this a few times. All the time the wave maintaining a perfect clean shape in front of me.
I’d heard it was a long ride at this spot, and it felt like hours had passed as I snaked my way to shore. I tried to absorb the moment as fully as I could. The combination of the wave, the setting and the journey here made me realise this was the best wave of my life.
As the wave finally faded, I was stunned and filled with pure joy, I whooped with a huge grin on my face. I looked back at where I had come from and couldn’t believe the distance I had travelled, easily the longest ocean wave I had ever caught.
I spent the next 2 and a half hours catching waves, paddling back from the monster rides and chatting to others out there, all until arms felt like noddles. It was one of the best afternoons of my life.