"A Unique Coast & A Unique People” - Stab Mag
59 Views

“A Unique Coast & A Unique People”

The Coopers Pacific Pale Ale odyssey takes the long road home.

cinema // Mar 30, 2022
Words by Ethan Davis
Reading Time: 4 minutes

‘Down here you’ve got to be built for the terrain’

Australia is the oldest, flattest, and driest inhabited continent in the world with the least fertile soil. You wouldn’t think that would be very conducive to life, but weirdly, it teems with native plants and animals. Life can be awfully persistent in unforgiving places. The native thorny devil, for example, thrives in one of the most drought-stricken regions on earth.  

She dry. Photo by Hayden Richards @sa_rips

“You sort of need to be a different person down here to deal with the heatwaves and the stormfronts,” laughs tour guide Josiah Schmucker genially. “It’s just desert plains that meet giant cliff lines, long white sandy beaches with no one on them, and crystal clear waters full of sharks and fun waves at the bottom.”

“When you look at the horizon you feel very small. You feel like an ant” – Benny Howard. Photo by Hayden Richards @sa_rips

“Nothing’s easy, everything is just that little bit harder,” said Nikki Van Dijk who accompanied Harrison Roach, Ben Howard and Josiah Schumaker on their trip through the desert. “The roads are long, there’s so much wind and energy and power in the ocean. There’s so much going on at all times of the day”. 

“You can always pick a Rippsy photo, he’s got his own style. It kind of blows me away all the shit he has stored away in his head. He’s so knowledgeable” – Ben Howard. Photo by Hayden Richards @sa_rips

New York City, 17,000kms away, is commonly referred to as ‘the city that never sleeps’. In the desert it’s not the restless bustle of people that never tires, rather, it’s the constant buzz of wildlife. Spiders, sharks, whales, birds. “Don’t get me started on the sheep. You can be walking around in the moonlight and you’ll fucken bump into some sheep. And they’ll still be eating, aye. You’re like ‘just give it a rest will ya?’” laughs Rippsy over a couple of Pacific Pale Ales. 

Very good boys. Photo by Hayden Richards @sa_rips

For ten days our surfers chased waves across the desert, waiting for waves to trickle in from the horizon. “It’s pretty funny, we just stare at it, constantly waiting for something to happen. Driving around, staring at all these different horizons but it’s the same one,” laughs six-tonne Bobcat driver and goofyfoot style lord, Benny Howard in a moment of unplanned profundity. 

Horizon time reports went up 63% from the week prior. Photo by Hayden Richards @sa_rips

When the waves came, they were quick to capitalize and scored fun tubes without a human in sight. “Surfing’s one of those pastimes that’s hard to satiate. It’s hard to be content. It’s only when the sun goes down after the waves have been epic all day that you can genuinely feel that way, and still that feeling doesn’t last for too long. You wake up the next day chasing them again,” reflected Harrison. 

The pilgrimage. Photo by Hayden Richards @sa_rips

Waves weren’t the only thing being followed closely though. Rippsy’s stories told over a couple of tins, held an equally captive audience. “His sense of humor and his character, I’ve never met anyone like him before. His mannerisms and his conversation flow, his experiences are so far from anyone I’ve ever met. You don’t want to turn away, you want to hear everything that comes out of his mouth,” said Nikki.

PPA debrief. Photo by Hayden Richards @sa_rips

Harrison added, “The way he gets excited by the birds, he has that love of nature that shines through when he talks about it. He doesn’t take them for granted, he’s actually interested in the way they work and how they work. I think Rippsy was always documenting what was going on around him, but when he found photography it gave him the medium and the format to actually express it, outside his awesome stories. For someone like him with that mind, it makes magic happen.”

When the waves get like this you’d be forgiven for forgetting to shut the door. Photo by Hayden Richards @sa_rips

We had a ball brewing up ‘the long road home’, we hope you enjoy drinking it down just as well. 

Comments

Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up

Advertisement

Most Recent

Beyond The Fedora: How Fernando Aguerre Became Surfing’s Master-Puppeteer

From DJing and ding repair, to law and Reef girls, to the Olympics and beyond.

Jul 13, 2024

How An Encounter In Texas Led To Noah Beschen Signing With A Swiss Watch Brand

The Stab Interview with the 23-year-old who Jordy considers the world's best free surfer.

Jul 12, 2024

Bruce Irons, Koa Rothman, Peter And John Mel Sign With Bodybuilding x Surf Brand

Darc Sport plants their black flag in Oahu and Santa Cruz to stake claim in…

Jul 12, 2024

The Best Surfing I’ve Ever Seen: Erik Knutson

Dave Rastovich + John Florence catch a sketchy little plane to a funky little farmhouse.

Jul 12, 2024

A Legendary Grom From Nias Joins The Audible World, Thanks To Surfers

‘Boy’ is a staple of the local surf community — who's been gifted a new…

Jul 11, 2024

To Train or Not To Train?

Exploring the exercise habits of Kelly, Andy, Mick, John and everyone in between.

Jul 10, 2024

Former World Junior Champion Suspended From Competition For Drug Test Refusal

Vasco Ribeiro remains ineligible to compete until 2026.

Jul 10, 2024

Reminder: This Could Be Jordy’s Year

Watch the current world #7 massacre right-hand point breaks in new O'Neill film 'Plus27'

Jul 10, 2024

Before Constructing His Surf-Party Empire, Tai Buddha Was Too Broke To Rent A Motorbike

Tales from rock bottom, memories of Mikala Jones, and philosophies on success from an exceptionally…

Jul 10, 2024

Long Read: The Life Of Mikala Jones

A tribute to one of the most respected and beloved surfers of our time.

Jul 9, 2024

All Three Stab High Japan Winners Were Riding The Same Surfboard Brand

And two of them were on a technology you’ve never heard of.

Jul 9, 2024

Tahiti’s About To Hawk Tuah On Some Olympians

Teetering on tow-only, will the next swell to hit Teahupo'o sink athletes' hopes of getting…

Jul 9, 2024

“It’s The Best Board That Goes Straight In The Whole World”

Jason Stevenson and Tai Buddha offer their solution to the board thickness + big tube…

Jul 9, 2024

Ian Gouveia Wins CS Event On Tatiana Weston-Webb’s Board, As Signed By Kelly Slater and Occy

And you will not believe the air they deemed incomplete.

Jul 8, 2024

Empty Set: Does Shark Deterrence Technology Work?

A poignant audience question — answered by leading researchers and the CEO of Sharkbanz.

Jul 7, 2024

Zen And The Art Of Air-Dropping Aerodynamically

Kai Lenny on the effect of F1 cars, airplane wings, and Taco Bell on big-wave…

Jul 6, 2024

Shane Dorian On Coaching The US Olympic Surf Team, Stepping Away From Big Waves, Parenting & More

“Nazare is the perfect wave to fly into from Munich, hop on a jetski and…

Jul 5, 2024

Meet The Man Who Slept In His Car For A Month And Logged 108 Sessions At URBNSURF Melbourne

Four back surgeries and full-time job be damned. 

Jul 5, 2024
Advertisement