THE CALL OF THE WILD – A DESERT TALE FEATURING JACOB WILLCOX, SHAUN MANNERS AND DINO ADRIAN – BY LUKE KENNEDY
I guess the omens are good from the outset. Midway en route from Sydney to Perth the pilot comes over the loudspeaker and announces his name is Captain Barrel – not a word of a lie.
Photographer Russell Ord is there to collect me at the airport with a ski hitched to the back of his ride. Russ’s videographer partner, quickdraw Darren McCagh, is riding shotgun and WA prodigy Jacob Willcox is in the back. Fourteen hours of long haul driving lay between us and Gnaraloo, where a six to eight foot swell is scheduled to coincide with our arrival. We are participants in the great migration north which surfers from the west make every year through autumn and winter. Once the thick Indian Ocean south swells collide with the desert-fringed waves of Ningaloo reef, the West Australians abandon their homes, their café-made coffees and regular comforts for a dusty camping ground up north – each year they answer the call of the wild.
MR. RIGHT – MEET CHRIS ROSS< THE MAN WHO MARRIED A WAVE.
We’re going, like, right now
It’ll start about seven days out. And after all these years, Paige knows exactly what’s coming next. The phone calls, the metrological talk and the goddam size. Four metres … interested; seven metres … forget dinner, we’re on standby. The bags will be packed, the car fuelled and pointed in the right direction and the sleepless nights will begin. Any minute now, a flurry of blond-headed excitement with a distinctive upwardly inflecting speech pattern will pull the trigger, whisk her into the car and the long drive south will begin.
“He used to be much worse, but he still gets so, so excited,” says Paige.
“He” is Chris Ross. The hardest charging man of mystery who ever did surf for free.
DANGEROUS IDEAS – TEN BIG IDEAS THAT ARE CHANGING SURFING FOREVER – BY KIRK OWERS
Every year a coven of academics gather beneath the clam shells of the Sydney Opera House to mull over topics that are brilliant, taboo or wildly combative. It’s called the Festival of Dangerous Ideas and it’s like a Big Day Out for thinkers (stage diving is banned – too dangerous). This year the festival tackled everything from “Corruption Makes the World Go Round” to “Cat Videos will Save Journalism”. So what makes an idea dangerous? Basically anything that challenges the mainstream; that is divisive and has the potential to alter the status quo. Surfing has had its share of dangerous ideas over the years. While we fixate on incremental hardware innovations and bold personalities, game-changing ideas tend to fly under the radar. They seem harmless enough but don’t be fooled. Ideas carry a load. Let them in and they have a habit of changing … everything.