Wade Goodall in Shipsterns’ hull, Tasmania
On Friday, a smallish team of gritty men trekked down to Shipsterns Bluff in Tasmania, to meet a fresh, powering and fluorescent blue swell head on. Among them was Kelly Slater, 14-year-old Riley Laing, Mark Mathews, Ryan Hipwood, Marti Paradisis and a crew of dedicated locals, and more pertinently, Wade Goodall (pictured here) and pal […]
On Friday, a smallish team of gritty men trekked down to Shipsterns Bluff in Tasmania, to meet a fresh, powering and fluorescent blue swell head on. Among them was Kelly Slater, 14-year-old Riley Laing, Mark Mathews, Ryan Hipwood, Marti Paradisis and a crew of dedicated locals, and more pertinently, Wade Goodall (pictured here) and pal Laurie Towner.
“I was coming down to Laurie’s (from the Sunshine Coast to Yamba) to surf and the swell popped up,” says Wade. “So he said “Do you wanna come?” I just went, “Yep.” I ‘d been real sick of not getting barrelled lately. It was so good to get in a big barrel again, it’d been too long. It was cool that Laurie had no one to go with ’cause it meant the reserve was off the bench.”
As if the vivid experience of surfing Shippies ain’t enough, Wade was also learning a new skill during the session. “I was nervous to drive the ski ’cause I’d never done it before,” he says. “I’d never towed anyone in. Laurie gave me a crash-course in which way to aim, when to turn off. It was pretty easy, really. I whipped him into a couple of his best ones, which I was pretty proud of. Going down there, I kept thinking about me whipping him into the worst spot and him getting real hurt (laughs). But it worked out great.”
With Laurie whipping him in, the wave you see Wade on here was one of the waves of the day. On his two following waves, he got two of the biggest beatings known to mankind. That staircase is no cakewalk and can be the undoing of even the most savvy navigator. “Fifty-fifty,” answers Wade to his strike rate of makes versus beatings. “Or, maybe I got pounded a bit more (laughs). I got pounded on the step quite a few times. That’s always what gets you. I didn’t work it out til the end, that you’re not meant to ollie. Laurie said to just put the shockies on and go over it. I’d been ollieing and when I was landing, my front strap on my tow board was too far back, and I’d just bog and get so flogged. It was really funny, some of the views I have of bodysurfing in the pit are amazing.”
But one out of three makes it worthwhile, especially when that one is like this. “He was in no rush to get out of there,” remembers photog Spence Hornby of Wade on this wave. “The thing just threw and he dropped his guard and relaxed. So fucking impressive.”
A final point of interest? Wade remembers an observation: “It’s a scary wave, but the one thing I did notice was that when you’re on the wave, you can’t see it all. Which is a really good thing. I don’t know what the best guys out there are looking at, but when I was whipping in I was just looking at the step. Then once I was over that, I was looking out but couldn’t even see the whole barrel because it was so big. Laurie came out of a couple where I was like, “That one was amazing!” and he’d be going, “Was that good? Was it big?” You just can’t see it all. If you could see behind you, you’d be shitting yourself.” – Elliot Struck
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