"The Most Spooked Out I've Felt In A Very Long Time" - Stab Mag
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Chippa, desert jewel. Photo by Mike Riley.

“The Most Spooked Out I’ve Felt In A Very Long Time”

The Coopers Pacific Pale Ale Odyssey heads to the Indian Ocean.

Words by Chris Binns

Australia is a special place. Desert, mountains, tropics, long unfettered stretches of coast. When Covid shut international travel, Aussie hopes of foreign exploration were scuttled. No Berlin clubs, cafes in Rome, Niseko ski trips, Indo strike missions, getting lost in Central Park. But others spotted opportunity. A chance to roam the 2.9 million square miles of backyard we so often take for granted. 

This year we went west this winter for the third iteration of the Stab x Coopers Odyssey. We took vagabond chippie Beau Cram, aerialist Chippa Wilson, and Brinkley Davies, an environmentalist, surfer and diver, to the north-western fringe of Australia. It’s a stretch of raw, unforgiving coastline that’s home to thorny devils, bearded dragons, whale sharks, crocodiles, dingoes, and the odd (very odd) human here and there. The fantastic operators, water cinematographer, Rick Rifici and drone operator and photographer, Scott Bauer were on-site to capture the affair.

“It’s a place to go to escape people,” says Chippa, who now bases himself between the NW desert and Tasmania as part of his ongoing quest for isolation. 

The mission began with a 14-hour drive from Perth to Exmouth. It would finish in Kalbarri, 800 kilometres south of the Mildura Wreck, a cattle steamer that ran ashore during a 1907 cyclone. The weather gets extreme out there, and our crew went from surfing in trunks to sleeping in the rain to being blown off cliff faces in a matter of minutes.

As Gascoyne River station hand Jamie “Pompy” Moore blurted out from under the world’s biggest Akubra as we shot guns by firelight on our second night, “We’re gonna have an adventure. Be a bit like Wolf Creek, but better.” 

For ten days our team crawled along the serrated coastline, surfing empty lineups, driving, cooking over flames and doing dishes in the ocean, driving, crushing tins, avoiding bait balls, more driving, and meeting up with friends old and new. Three cars, two tents, two swags, two blown tyres, one charter-flight-and-barge combo to repair said tyres, two speeding fines, no snapped surfboards and 20 cartons of Coopers’ finest blue cans later, our crew got what they came for. We finished off with West Aussie surfing-royal-turned-cockle-farmer Ry Craike letting us loose on his favourite wave before taking us to the finest restaurant and rowdiest hotel in his fiefdom to toast our run of good fortune.

The thirteen-minute clip above is a reminder of how lucky we are to call Australia home, with thanks to the traditional owners and Elders of the Malgana, Bayungu and Nhanda peoples and the wider Yamaji nation.

We sure hope you enjoy drinking it down as much as we enjoyed brewing it up.

“I’m just a chippie from the East coast who gets stuck in West Oz, doesn’t like paying for rent, and decides to stay in his van for 6 months”. Photo by Mike Riley.
Chippa, remote blue orb. Photo by Mike Riley.
Simple pleasures. Brinkley, Chippa, Rainy, and Beau. And some post-surf cold tins, of course. Photo by Scott Bauer.
Beau, not dreaming. Photo by Scott Bauer.
Chippa and Brinkley, and post-surf Pacific Pale Ales on the Indian. Photo by Scott Bauer.
800kms later, a deserved Kalbarri carouse. Photo by John Riley.
You will want to bring your bog tracks here. Photo by Scott Bauer.
Chip, needle-threading. Photo by Scott Bauer.

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