Erebus Wetsuits visit King island.

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Erebus Wetsuits visit King island.

Back in August the crew at Erebus Wetsuits gave us a call looking to photoshoot their new range of wetsuits on King Island. Like most groups do, the guys at Erebus asked “When is the surf going to be pumping at Martha? we’ll book it then…”  As I say to most people, “Just lock in a date now we will find you some good waves somewhere on the island.” So they did, and low and behold it coincided with a good size swell.

I meet up with the local team (Lachie Kerney, Darcy Day, Jonny Teague and Ed Sloane the photog) at  Barwon Heads Airport, the guys were super stoked to be going over, a couple of the lads had already visited King Island many years ago so they were excited to go back. 

 Style master Darcy Day with Jonny T watching on the shoulder and Ed Sloane getting the in water shot.

Style master Darcy Day with Jonny T watching on the shoulder and Ed Sloane getting the in water shot.

The guys planned to have 3 days shooting at a few different locations exploring around the island. Flying over to King Island late afternoon we coped a fairly nasty cold front that hit us mid flight but we could see the swell was building quickly, landing and unloading the boards at the airport was typical KI style cold, wet and windy style - Welcome to King Island guys! 

A lot of photoshoots I've been part of there is normally a lot preparing, setting up, waiting around, and bossy creative / photographer types than there is actually surfing. But thankfully the Erebus team were far less fussy and more keen of getting some good waves and having a great time than they were about getting the perfectly constructed shot. Schedule out the window we first set off to try and score one of the islands rarest and best kept secret waves and instead managed to get ourselves bogged for 3 hours on the way. We finally got the 4WD out of the muddy bog with 10 minutes left of daylight, no time to suit up we could only watch through the 3ft barrels draining along the sand with the high beams on our 4WD. The next day the winds shifted NW so we headed down south to Red Hut beach track and Ed got some great shots of the lads surfing from in the water with some beautiful afternoon light shots. 

Day 3 we got some mix surfing and lifestyle shots around Phoques beach and other parts of the island but unfortunately the surf was slightly onshore and didn’t cooperate for great surfing photos.

Kicking back that evening frothing on some of Ed’s shots we checked the swell and wind forecast… a big swell with SW winds due to hit the day after we were leaving. All the boys were keen to stay on the extra day so they rang their bosses and girlfriends to extend their leave passes by a day. Darcy had a pile of surfboard shaping orders mounting up so he couldn’t stay on unfortunately, Ed had to go back for a wedding shoot, fortunately we had a plane flying back over early the next morning so Ed could jump onboard and fly to Barwon Heads, shoot the wedding that night, jump back on the plane first thing in the morning and make it back to shoot pumping Martha the next day - Sorted.

As we waved farewell to Ed and Darcy. Jonny, Lachie and I were looking forward to scoring Martha’s the next morning. Waking up at dawn we headed up North Road straight to Martha, it wasn’t as big as we’d hoped but still looking pretty damn fun at 3ft. As we were suiting up we saw Ed flying over head on his way back… “shit, who’s going to the airport to pick him up?” We pretended not to see him and all went for a quick session before someone draw the short straw to go collect him from the airport. While we were in the water we saw an old beaten up Manga struggling to drive up the sand dunes along Martha’s 4WD tracks… Sure enough it was Ed. He’d found himself a ride and along with him was young Torquay local boy Xavier Huxtable who jumped onboard for the day. The crew back to together we scored a fun sized day at Martha with plenty of laughs along the way and got a few photos to boot.

Thanks to all for crew coming along and the guys at Erebus Wetsuits - was an absolute pleasure showing them around. 

For those of you in the market for a new wettie the guy’s at Erebus have kindly offered all our guests and friends 15% off their entire range. The price is already great value so add 15% off and free shipping and you got yourself an awesome deal on an awesome winter wetsuit! I’ve been wearing their Ultimate 4/3 steamer this winter and its by far one of the best suits I’ve ever owned. Check’em out at www.erebuswetsuits.com.au bloody amazing suits at a great price. Keep up the good work guys.

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Martha - How big does the swell need to be?

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Martha - How big does the swell need to be?

This is one of most common questions we are asked when people are looking to book their surf trip to King Island.

 Photo: Tom Hosking ©

Photo: Tom Hosking ©

Most of our guests are often one-track minded on surfing Martha Lavinia, which is understandable considering the manysurf photos published of Martha and it being voted as one of the best beach breaks in Australia by many surf magazines.

It is easily the most photographed wave on the island with its perfect “A” frames breaking along the 5KM sandy stretch of Martha Lavinia nature reserve, crystal clear waters backlight from the Northern sun makes it extremely photogenic wave. It is enough to make any surf frother put Martha on their bucket list of waves to surf before they die.

And yes, Martha is one of the most perfect waves I’ve seen in my life. However, King Island is certainly not all about Martha! I sometimes feel like I’m talking to a brick wall when I say that, “there are many other amazing waves around the island”. Just not as well known, or other secret spots that we are obliged not to speak of. One of my most memorable surfs last year was at Phoques beach with just my good friend out in the water, a 100metre barrelling left hand bank that just kept getting bigger and hollower all day. Many of our guests have also been coming back saying they had the "best surf of their lives" at Red Hut beach. If you take the time explore King Island you will undoubtedly find some gold all to yourselves and be left asking the question, “Where is everybody?“ Chances are they are probably surfing another spot that you haven’t found yet.

OK so back to Martha. Martha needs a meduim to large size swell to break, enough to wrap around both sides of the island to form those perfect A frames. When trying to forecast Martha we generally look for swell to be 4ft and above on Swellnet’s surf forecast at Barwon Heads (Victoria) with a SW wind - this is usually a good indication Martha will have some great waves around the 2-3ft range. Although it can still break when Barwon Heads is 3ft on Swellnet’s surf report. Note, swells hit King Island about 6 hours before hitting Barwon Heads. Martha is usually best on a low tide when the sand is shallower, on high tide it can often be too full to break properly on smaller swells. Martha can have more mood swings than my boss, it can be pumping one minute and quite the next, it’s worth packing your lunch and fishing rods and spending the day there if you know there is good swell about as it can switch on pretty quickly.

Don’t be fooled though, Martha may look like the perfect barrel but it’s by no means easy as it looks;) If you are lucky enough to get into a Martha barrel and then fortunate enough make it out, it will leave you smiling for weeks.

I hope this helps some of you keeping an eye on the weather reports hoping to catch this great wave. King Island and Martha Lavinia beach is such a special place just to be.

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RIP “Stella”

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RIP “Stella”

It was a relationship with many highs and lows. A rough and rocky ride with the worst bloody steering, oftern you brokedown, or got bogged down along the way but you always got us there in the end. “Stella” our trusty Toyota Hilux is no more. She was as cheap as they came. We found her on the side of the road in need of some TLC, and she gave back to us in spades before eventually succumbing to the abuse of many surfers on a mission to explore King Island’s many great waves and finding untold riches. Alas, she is now tainted beyond repair… and we must move on and let go.

 Stella and her white racing strips - the early years.

Stella and her white racing strips - the early years.

Fortunately we have found a new love - “The Beast”. A middle aged Nissan Patrol with 7 seats and enough room up top for a quiver of surfboards and fishing rods. The Beast has more accessories and lights that it probably needs. She has a 48 inch lift kit with tractor tires fitted needing a ladder to get up and ride her. Enough recovery gear to get you out of the trouble. More lights than the MCG, you can now happily keep surfing all day AND night. A rear camera for… umm all that crazy King Island traffic!? An alarm system which would have been very handy in Melbourne’s west, but slightly overkill on a small island where no one is going anywhere fast.

 The Beast, doing what she does best.

The Beast, doing what she does best.

We picked her up from a suburb we’d never heard of far out in Melbourne’s western suburbs where all the pimped out cars are found. Parked on the grass as we rocked up, it was love at first sight “this is the one” I said to Anatole, all those other cars we have been looking at were just fleeting romances. Anatole remarked, “Don’t be fooled by her stunning good looks, its what’s on the inside that counts”. Before Anatole had a chance to give her a good shake down and test drive I was handing over wods of cash to a dodgy looking bloke and signing the paper work.

We’ve been driving The Beast around Barwon Heads and doing a couple missions down south Vicco on some 4WD tracks putting her through her paces. She’s a weapon alright, easily passing over any terrain and soft sand we could throw at her. She is perfectly suited to the riggers of King Island apart from that one small thing…. the black liquid leaking from her engine?! I do recall someone once saying to me “be wary of buying any car thats parked on the lawn… it probably means that they are trying to conceal the leaking oil underneath”. Anyway, a couple trips to the car doctor and a lot of $$ later she has past the KI test with flying colours. Time to ship her over to her new home at King Island for our guest to trash... I mean enjoy! Enjoy!!!

Farewell, I hope you have a long and happy island life. May your rust spots be few, and waves you find many.

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Crayfish on the campfire anyone? Hell yes!

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Crayfish on the campfire anyone? Hell yes!

Not only is King Island renowned for having great surf, the island also has plentiful supply of both crayfish and abalone!

So in-between surfs, why not go for a snorkel around many of the island beautiful pristine beaches and catch yourself some dinner. Don’t have any dive gear or forgot your weight belt? No worries, we at King Island Surf Safaris have got you covered. At our cottage where our guests stay, we have complementary dive and fishing gear for you to use on your trip. So you don’t need to worry about lugging your 20KG weight belt on the plane, instead focus on battling with monster 5KG Southern Rock Lobsters.

What better way to finish a great days surfing than a cook-up of cray's and abalone on the campfire - My mouths watering just thinking about it...

If you can’t catch a crayfish in King Island then you should probably rule out a career in catching crayfish for a living. Fortunately, you can just buy one instead from Donna and Max of King Island Seafoods – (03) 6462 1774. It’s also fascinating to watch the professionals unload their boats full of crayfish at the Currie Jetty and put us all to shame.

Just make sure you pick up Tasmanian Fishing licence before you leave if you want to fish or dive on the island. 

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